Confusion of a diabetes n00b

Hi, I just signed up for the site and I have been dying to spill this all out to someone who understands diabetes.

About me: I’m 27 year-old, 5’7 and 120lbs. I am in generally good health. I’m active. I eat no pork or red meat (mostly fruits, veggies, nuts, fish, and chicken). I enjoy (or used to enjoy) fancy desserts in moderation. I don’t drink alcohol, non-smoker. I have always had excellent numbers for cholesterol (150mg/dL), stable weight, normal bp, liver function, etc. I have no family history of diabetes.

A few weeks ago I went for a physical before I went for my SCUBA certification (exciting, right?). The doctor requested some routine blood-work and later e-mailed me to tell me that I was pre-diabetic (!) (103 mg/dL fasting) and that I should watch my intake of starches and increase my exercise.

I’m floored, confused, angry, and scared. Mostly, I am incredibly pissed that the doctor sent this to me in an e-mail with some vague advice. I feel like she’s implying that this is my fault and that I should figure it out on my own. My family is in complete denial that anything is wrong with me which makes me feel like I’m losing my mind even more. Maybe this is the point at which the post turns into a rant…I don’t know.

I have started getting really depressed. I bought a meter and usually test around 105 fasting but I have had a few in the mid 80’s or 90’s thrown in. I’m trying to figure out what causes it to be lower for me personally while I continue to research.

Also, I have an incredibly hard time pricking myself to take readings. I have never been afraid of needles before(11 ear piercings), but I think it has more to do with the fear of the number that will show up on the screen rather than the fear of the pain itself. I spent 15 minutes this morning trying to psych myself up for it. I don’t know why I can’t just get it over with.

I guess I’d appreciate anyone who has advice for me or maybe just a comforting word. I’m at this strange crossroads of half-denying to crazy over-reacting to accepting-but-being-mad-as-hell…

Have you tested yourself 1 hour after eating? Do that and see if you are below 140mg/dL. A few other suggestions are:

Get a Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT) done. For this, you’ll be given a carbonated sugary drink which has 75g (could be more or could be less) of glucose. Then, blood will be drawn at 1 hour and 2 hour intervals. You should also take your meter for this test and check your levels every 15min so that you yourself understand how your body handles sugar.

If you go over 140mg/dL at any point during this test, get an appointment with an endocrinologist and demand that you be screened for Type-1 diabetes - antibodies test and C-peptide test. These will tell you whether your body has made antibodies which are destroying your beta-cells in your pancreas, and how much insulin you are producing.

Once these are done, you’ll have enough information to make a reasonable estimation of your condition.

Don’t panic now. You still have time for that.

As for finger pricking - don’t prick the pads of your finger tips…prick only the sides of your finger tips. Pads are very sensitive and can be extremely painful but sides are relatively painless.

I’m sure other members here will contribute better information for you to consider.

Hi, thanks for the helpful reply. I will try the sides of my finger tomorrow morning.

I did the “eat a bagel and test at 1hr and 2hrs” thing but I never went above 140 mg/dL. I am in the process of getting a new doctor (hopefully someone who knows a little something about diabetes) so I guess I will put a temporary hold on freaking out and ask for a GTT.

Hi Stephanie,

Understand your feelings of being angry, confused, scared & depressed. Who wouldn’t be? It’s not your fault, despite the insensitivity of that unhelpful doctor. An email!

Hurtful that your family is in denial, but sometimes that’s people’s initial reaction. They love you & don’t want anything to be wrong. Parents in particular feel responsibile if anything happens to their kids. They feel it’s their fault. I was diagnosed at 53 & my mother thinks she’s to blame. No diabetes in my family.

I wish had some words of comfort to offer. You sound strong & you’re honest.That goes a long way to accepting challenges. Yea, I know, some challenge:(

Also understand the dread & anxiety of readings & good for you for testing. What you’re feeling is normal, if that’s any consolation.

Perhaps some of the awful conflicting emotions of denial/fear/over-reacting will subside some when you go to a good doctor. Great suggestions from John about the tests that need to be done & also an A1c. I’m the type that feels better knowing. Not knowing makes me nuts.

You’re among friends here, so rant all you want.

Hi Stephanie, I’m still a relative newbie, just over a year, so I still remember the newness. Confusion, fear and shock. More likely the Dr did not give you any clear advice as they don’t know. Seems a lot of the medical profession, not just Dr but other health care professionals as well have a severe lack of knowledge in the diabetic area. In my opinion, no info is better than bad info. You have found a group of individuals here that can help you sort things out, both in the physical-metabolic areas and the emotional ones as well. If there is one point I could get out to the diabetic world it would be 'your diabetes is yours and yours alone, you need to learn how to control your disease.'
Me, I am of an engineering background so when I was diagnosed, once getting over the shock, I realized that I was almost totally ignorant and proceeded to rectify that. Then I needed numbers, the fact that I was using a lance to get the information that I needed wasn’t even noticed, my focus was to control the numbers. Had someone asked me a month before about sticking myself to get blood I would have probably labeled them a nut in my mind. And by the way, it is OK to rant or vent here when you need to.

Dear Stephanie,
You’ve been doing all the right things. Vent. Vent. Vent!!! We all know our needs to get psyched up - and get anger out of ourselves. Keeps the BP down!
John has given great advice. I’m just thinking that when you stick yourself, think of all of us doing it with you. There are so many of us: We’re NEVER doing it alone. And some of us do it 10 times a day.
The only thing I’d add - is grab a tiny notebook and write down the time you tested and what it was. Develop your record so you can tie the finger prick result with what you ate/did (exercise). Then go to an endocrinologist who has a Certified Diabetes Educator working with him.
Actually, doctors get sort of used to their way of doing things, they read results, and forget what it would be like to hear it as a patient. Get all the knowledge possible - read this site from A to Z! Taking action to get information so you can be in charge, as well as expressing your questions and ranting - right here - will get you through that depression. It hits all of us at one time or another. And welcome to being here! We’re delighted you found this site!

Thank you for replying. I only hemmed and hawed for about 5 minutes today (it still sounds bad, but it’s considerably less than other days this week) and finally stuck the side of my finger and it made all the difference in the world. I stuck my finger four more times in triumph! It was the first time I felt in control since I found out about the diabetes or pre-diabetes.

I could barely feel it and now it’s not bothering me when I type.

It did help to think of everyone else doing it too. I figure, statistically, there must be at least one or two (or a thousand) other people somewhere sticking their finger at the same exact time.

Thanks Dave, my father is an engineer (a mechanical engineer) and so are all my uncles and most of my cousins. I understand the engineer mindset and right now I wish I had it. I am too frazzled (at the moment) to look at diabetes as a problem to solve, when in reality that’s the best thing on earth I could be doing.

I have seen that lack of knowledge about diabetes and it’s so shocking to me considering the number of people who have it. The best thing I can do is inform myself. I’m lucky that I have access to scientific journal articles through my school. I study psychology but they let us use resources from any scientific field.

Thank you again for the kindly reply.

LOL email from the doctor?
You wouldn’t happen to have Kaiser would ya?

I too, had a hard time at first poking myself even though I had my ears stretched to 0 gauge, also had two lip piercings. Don’t worry it gets easier every time you press the button. Everyone’s personality here is very diverse but we always support each other. What ever your questions are we are here for ya!

Zomigj, how did you guess? I guess Kaiser is more notoriously lousy than I thought. It seemed perfectly serviceable when nothing was wrong with me…

they have their pros and cons just like every other insurance. My advice since you have KP is, find a really good primary doctor that you like because once you have your “pre” (I dislike using that. Ether you have it or you don’t) diabetes under control they will send you back to your primary as long as you have no complications. One benefit of KP is they don’t have a BS policy of how many test strips you can get a month as long as the doc signs off.
Over all I give it a eight out of ten.

Wow, an email, huh? Well, I s u p p o s e that is better than no doctor ever catching on that you might have a problem! Anybody would be in a tail-spin hearing news like that. It’s weird because he sort of dumps this possibility on you with no further explanation. I assume that by advising you to watch your starches and to exercise, he’s warning you that you might develop Type 2 diabetes. That’s the most common type of diabetes and if you are “pre-diabetic” there isn’t any other advice or action to take, I guess. Good diet and exercising will keep your body from increasing insulin resistance and by doing that you are avoiding a progression into full T2. Your doc gets no credit for his bedside manner but my doctor failed to suspect my diabetes when I asked why I had fungus growing in all 10 of my toes he said, “Well fungus really likes sugar, so don’t drink soda.” If he’d been a bit more clever, I might have caught my diabetes a few years sooner!

I guess most people are closer to 80, not 103, at fasting. If your bg ever becomes chronically high you will know because you’ll experience all sort of symptoms like an overwhelming desire to sleep after meals, cuts that won’t heal quickly, excessive thirst and urination, blurry vision, achy joints, leaden-feeling feet, stuff like that. It takes really high bg to cause any of that and you are no where near that. Not even close, so shake this whole bogey monster off!