So, I was just wondering, if you can remember, how exactly did your symptoms progress before you were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Can you tell me in what order did you get your symptoms and how did the thirst start? Was the thirst extreme from the beginning or gradually become that way and did everyone have a dry mouth or was it a scratchy throat or just a feeling of being thirsty?
Lets see. In May of 2005, I got sick with the flu, and was out of action for about 3 days. About 10 days later, I felt like I had it again, only this time it was worse and lasted about a week. My boss even said at the time that I looked like the walking dead. As the summer progressed, I noticed I was drinking a lot more water and going to the bathroom more often, but it was a gradual increase, not a sudden change. I never had dry mouth or a scratchy throat that I can remember.
One night, around July I think, I went grocery shopping, and when I came home to my second floor condo, from the underground parking garage, I had to put the two bags of groceries down in the entryway and go lie down on the couch, because I didn’t have enough energy to walk the 12 feet into the kitchen with the bags. In August, I woke up one morning and my glasses didn’t work anymore. When I saw the optometrist a day or two later to get a new prescription, she seemed puzzled by my sudden change in eyesight, but didn’t pursue the issue.
In September, I again came down with the “no energy” feelings, and then one weekend I was having the worst flu of my life. I was supposed to have dinner with my sister, brother-in-law and their daughter, my parents, and my grandmother that Sunday, but thinking I was sick and not wanting to spread it around, I canceled. That night, my “flu” got worse. I wasn’t able to keep anything down, including water, yet I was feeling compelled to keep drinking and eating. I recognized I was very ill, but my brain wasn’t working properly. I didn’t want to disturb anyone, as it was getting later and later, and told myself I’d call for help once it was 7 or 8 in the morning. I didn’t get that far, the last thing I remember was Al Roker giving the first weather report on the Today show early Monday morning. Then, as far as I was concerned, the next thing that happened was coming to in the ICU, not seeing any thing, but being talked to by an uncle about celebrity gossip. This was on Thursday, a little later a nurse, then a number of doctors told me I was a diabetic, that I was recovering from something called Diabetic Ketoacidosis (which I had never heard of before), and that I very easily could have died. My BG when admitted was around 800, and my A1c was over 13 (again, these numbers really didn’t mean much to me at the time). By the time I was discharged from the hospital Sunday afternoon, my eyesight had reverted back to what it was before this all started (and kept improving, there was about a month when I didn’t wear glasses), and I’d lost about 30 or 40 pounds while in DKA.
I’m much better now.
I was diagnosed at age 14.
For me, “the thirst” built gradually over a month or two, but in the two weeks before I got hauled to the hospital I was literally drinking 10+ gallons a day and going to pee every 15 minutes.
The other “obvious in retrospect” symptoms in the weeks before diagnosis were hypertachycardia, Kussmaul breathing, ketotic breath, unable to do physical activities that I had previously been able to do, coming home and just collapsing in bed, etc. In the couple days before ending up in the hospital I was having bizarre hallucinations and lapsing in and out of consciousness at all hours, day and night.
No, no blood test. In fact I had no blood test at diagnosis - this was a small hospital a good chunk of a century ago, and I was diagnosed with nothing else other than dipping a Tes-Tape in my urine and it turned jet black instantly. With all my other obvious DKA symptoms I wonder why they even bothered with that. After diagnosis I spent two weeks in two different hospitals coming back to my new reality. They taught me home urine testing with both Tes-Tape and those tablets in a test tube (what were they called?), 2x a day R+N insulin treatment, and even gave me a glass syringe with a needle I could grind myself (although I never used it, I got “turned on to” plastic syringes at that time too.)
Even though my onset of symptoms was only 3 1/2 years ago, it’s hard to give the exact order and degree, because, like Tim said, a lot of it was “obvious in retrospect”. I had been having increased thirst, increased urination (both especially at night) increased fatigue and weight loss for awhile (a couple months maybe) but put it off to various things such as aging, being busy working fulltime and teaching at night, etc.No scratchy throat or dry mouth I remember. I was also working towards retiring and leaving the country in a few months so my mind was elsewhere. Finally I put it together; I knew the thirst, fatigue and urination were symptoms of diabetes. I didn’t know about the weight loss so I looked that up. When I saw that could also be the clincher I knew. Nobody loses weight without even trying at age 58! I asked my doctor to do a blood test for diabetes and it came back with 325 fasting and I had to ask, “So that means I have diabetes, right?”
To the best that I can recall – looking retrospectively – this was the order of things:
Fatigue. I frequently took naps after school about 2-4 months before dx.
Thirst. I would go through liquids (soda, kool-aid, whatever was around) a lot more frequently, probably not much after I started to feel fatigued.
Urination. I don’t remember waking up in the middle of the night until 2-3 weeks before Dx but there was likely an increase before that.
Lightheadedness. I started getting light-headed, especially when first standing about a week or so before Dx. probably due to dehydration and hypotension.
Flu. About 2 days before diagnosis I felt extremely fluish. I hadn’t noticed the weight loss before this point, so I don’t really know when that started but I had become extremely skinny extremely fast.
No blood tests prior, but I had had a physical a few months earlier and had lost 30 lbs.
I had a frozen shoulder. Doctor gave me a cortizone shot and said by the way let me do a blood test. She was on the phone the next morning letting me know that I had to drop everything because I was at 312.
Well I was diagnosed when I was 13 (now 28) so it's been a litlte while, but I don't think you can ever forget that horrible thirst!!! Ugh! My extreme thirst started prob about 3-4 months before I was diagnosed. I'd always been a skinny kid, but started losing weight even though I was eating everything I could get my hands on. My most vivid memories though are not of being hungry but of being so insanely thirsty and having to pee really, really bad, really, really often...lol. Also got the frutiy taste in my mouth. I would play tennis all the time and played in tournaments so I had a big water thermos for when I was on the court and I started filling that up and taking it to bed with me for about 2 months before diagnosis. No, scratchy throat, but VERY dry mouth - I would literally down a ton of water and the moment I swallowed my mouth was dry again! My stomach would be distended with the all the liquid I was drinking and my mouth would be dry as a bone - it was horrible and very frustrating. I started drinking gatorade thinking it might "quench" my thirst - but nothing worked. It was rough. Anyway, apparently I was also a bit grumpy - my parents assumed I was becoming a difficult teenager...lol! After the horrible thrist started the loss of energy became really noticable...finally a day came when I didn't have the energy to get off the sofa and take my soup out of the micro - it was so exhausting just putting the soup in the mircrowave that I needed to lie down to rest and just couldn't get up after that. The rest of the day I kind of drifted in and out of mental limbo state and my parents finally figured that something must be wrong and took my to an urgent care center - my BG was over 800 and I spent the next week in the hospital (4 of those days in the ICU) getting rehydrated - I was around 80lbs at age 13 and about 5'7 when I went into the hospital...