How did you find out you were diabetic?

I used to work for Procter & Gamble, back in Venezuela until 2000. They had a mandatory annual medical checkup. When I moved to the US in March 2000, I kept the habit of going to the doctor for annual checkups.

Two years after doing this (2002), my MD found my BG results to be too high… so he put me on the Atkins Diet. The BG number improved, but it was only temporarily. Eventually, I was diagnosed type 2 (first) and put on oral medication (Avandia, Actos, Glucophage, etc. etc.)

It was only later (2003) that I found out I was really type 1 (or perhaps type 1.5 -who knows) and started taking shots, because the oral meds stopped helping me and I couldn’t bring my glucose below 150 in any way.

How about you, guys? How did you find out?

I found out pretty much as violently as possible.

I had been feeling pretty bad for a few months, and was exhibiting all the classic symptoms of diabetes (weight loss, excessive thirst, etc), but didn’t recognize them, and (stupidly) didn’t do anything about them. During a vacation last October, I had what I thought was heat stroke a couple of times, but it passed, and I thought nothing of it.

A month later, I spent an entire Sunday in the throes of the same symptoms, but they only got worse, and I started slipping out of consciousness. I gained enough coherence to call paramedics, and was taken to the hospital. I was in DKA, obviously, and it was bad enough that I was told the acidity of my blood should have killed me. My A1c was 14.9.

In a way, it was a relief to get treated, since I had been physically deteriorating so gradually that I had barely even noticed. My first meal after taking insulin (days later) felt great.

Growing up, I had frequent kidney infections. My mom worked for a family physician so he would just treat me with antibiotics the first 9 years of my life. One summer, on a long 7 hour drive to Abilene TX to visit my Grandaddy, my mom noticed me sitting in the back of the car sucking on the ice cubes from the cooler we had brought for soft drinks. I had to stop to use the restroom about every 30 minutes and my mom was so mad at me for eating all the ice! Then while in Abilene, we went to dinner and I slammed a huge glass of Dr. Pepper before touching my meal. My mom knew there was something wrong so we did a fasting the following Monday morning. Yep! 306 mg/dl. I was pretty lucky I caught it early. I have heard horror stories of people going into a coma before being diagnosed, so I feel blessed that my mom was clued in on the symptons. Wow, how that day changed my life!!!

I was a very healthy kid growing up for the most part. However, during the spring of my 7th grade year, I was missing a lot of school. First, it was streap throat. Then, about a month later, I was feeling bad constantly, just an overall blah feeling – lethargic, night sweats, general ookiness overall. I was having to pee like crazy, I don’t really remember being thirsty, but I must have been. Being 12, I was too young to know the constant need to pee was a danger sign, but too old for my parents to be in my bathroom business! My parents took me to the GP a couple of times, but then the visit in late April found the cause. At this visit, the doctor did a bunch of lab tests, including a standard urinalysis, which came back with high glucose on the dipstick test of the late 80’s. So then they did a blood sugar test using the horrible medieval guilletine torture lancing device, and it came back as 486. Needless to say, the doctor figured out what was up! I was then admitted to the hospital for the first and only time in my life, which was standard practice in Waco, TX in 1987 when someone was newly diagnosed as diabetic. I got out 3 days later ready to start the rest of my life.

I was ten and about to head off to Girl Scout Camp for which I had to have a physical. Needless to say, I didn’t make it to camp as I was immediately hospitalized.

In retrospect, I had been sick a lot that year. I had a rather abrupt, acute vision change. My parents said I also had an acute (and not a cute) personality change going from an A student to a C student. The thirst factor was definitely there, but, having no family history of diabetes on either side, no one knew the signs!

And here I am…

I had gestational diabetes (was on insulin then) though it went away after I gave birth. The docs did annual GTT’s and at the one in 2005 I was found to be 11.5 (207) after fasting, so they refused to do the test.

The doc ordered a HbA1c, which came back at 7. After diet and excercise all my HbA1c’s since then have been in the 5’s, so they caught it early I suppose. I never had any noticeable symptoms (either for the GD or in 2005).

I was 20 and literally in the course of 3 weeks lost 40 pounds (I was already just a bit underweight before the weight loss!) and was tired and thirsty all the time. I went to the doctor as I was concerned about the weight loss, and they did an A1C and it was at 13.9. The doctor I had, though, diagnosed me as Type 2, and gave me a pill rather than insulin, and sent me home. Over the course of the next year, I was sick all the time, tired, and essentially miserable. I switched doctors and they correctly diagnosed me as Type 1 and they put me on an insulin regimen.

I was a healthy, active child, so I found out like a lot of kids with type 1. I had lost a lot of weight yet was eating like a horse, and had an incredible thirst, which resulted in frequent trips to the toilet. The symptoms occurred quite suddenly – they were impossible to ignore – and because I was already a skinny little kid, there was never any mistake that it was type 1. Of course, my parents were already pros by the time I was diagnosed and with a quick urine test (this was before home blood testing) confirmed my diagnosis before I even arrived at the hospital since my older sister had been diagnosed with T1DM 4 years earlier, so they didn’t have much to learn.

But naturally, it wasn’t the same for me. Within 2 hours of my first IV of insulin, I was seizing from hypoglycemia, and the doctors were surprised that my blood glucose could change so much, so fast. (This would continue for the rest of my life, I was quickly labeled “brittle” and I dispute anyone who claims that labile diabetes is created by the patient’s improper use of insulin, that they aren’t properly counting carbs or some other such nonsense). Anyway, my docs discovered that I was incredibly sensitive to insulin, and a difference of as little as 1/2 unit could mean the difference between hyper and hypo glycemia. The tightrope act had begun! Of course, in 1976, syringes that dosed in 1/2 units were nonexistent (pumps would not emerge for at least another decade), so we had to estimate by drawing it in between lines. I spent nearly 3 weeks in the pediatrics unit as the endocrinologists attempted to come up with an insulin regimin that didn’t cause such dramatic, almost instantaneous changes. I had tried just about every variety of insulin … regular, lente, ultralente, semilente (this was long before analogs), porcine, bovine, combination porcine/bovine insulin mix, and none worked as they expected, so I ended up with the best of the worst. I credit my parents with applying common sense, balanced meals without a lot of refined carbs or simple sugars, lots of fresh veggies and a meal schedule that did not vary much made it much easier to maintain things to the extent possible. When A1c tests became available in the 1980s, my endo commented that mine really did not need much improvement, just continue what I had been doing. Of course, that was until the manufacturers just decided to stop making the insulin I used (which they would do 3 more times in the next 20 years) … today, I have no loyalty to any insulin manufacturer, and will switch without hesitation, but that’s another diatribe!

Five years ago at the age of 37, I woke up nauseated. I went to work anyway. I also had a mild pain on the left side of my neck. By 9am the pain was radiating up into my jaw. Finally at 11am I told my boss, that I was really feeling nauseated and that I needed to go home. I got in my car to drive home and within 1/4 mile of work felt like I would pass out. There was a hospital about 1/2 mile from work and I ended up just turning in there and parking. I called my husband and he said he’d meet me there. Before he got there, I felt so bad and I started having trouble catching a breath, so I went ahead and walked into the emergency room. They did an EKG (which was normal) and a few other tests. They gave me nitro which stopped the pain but immediatly gave me a huge headache and made me sick. After I was stable and my blood pressure went down, they sent me home with an appointment to see a cardiologist the next day.

Cardio ran all kind of tests and decided that I was diabetic (my first A1c was 13.9), had high blood pressure and had a pulled muscle in my shoulder. Started me on diabetes meds, high blood pressure meds and Vioxx. Pain continued so he decided to do an echocardiogram, just to be safe. He was sure that I just had a pulled shoulder muscle. Test was run on Thursday afternoon. Doc was out on Friday and Monday so he didn’t look at it until Tuesday evening. I was in the hospital by 9am the next morning for an angiogram which showed 100% blockage in one of the main arteries. When they did the angioplasty the following week, a stent was placed but the artery was still 100% blocked a little lower in the same artery, so a second stent was placed. Cardiologist believes that I had undiagnosed high blood pressure and diabetes (probably for 10 years before that). I was never sick, rarely saw the doctor and gyno never really ran bloodwork, so I had no idea. I also was in the process of losing weight (I had lost about 40 lb over the past six months) and my cholesterol was completely normal. One thing that should have tipped me off was that my vision was completely whacked. At the time of diagnosis my contact prescription was 9.75. Once I got on meds I had to change to about 6.25.

I was 9 when I was diagnosed. I can’t say how much time exactly did it take for the adults to figure out why I was suddenly drinking litres and litres of water, lost weight and was running to the bathroom every hour. I don’t remember much before the verdict, just that I was super thirsty. But I sure do remember every second of the day I was diagnosed. My sister and I were supposed to spend the summer at my grandma’s who lived in another town. The minute she saw me and heard my mom’s concerns she knew straight away, well she is a doctor after all. So she took me to the hospital right then and there, and by the end of the day I was a Type 1 diabetic. That was the worst first day of summer vacation in my life. I remember the very first reading of my blood sugar - 17, funny because otherwise it’s my lucky number, I was also born on 17th. Well, that day sure turned my life upside down and ended my childhood, in one day I learnt so much.

Being a normal kid, I was skinny beyond skinny. I played outside and drank lots of water. It was hot. I would pick at food. I was 5 when I got the flu shot. And it made me sicker than getting the flu. Kidney infections were common. Then I got the measles. I was so sick, I was in the hospital for 3 weeks. I had the german, red, and 3 day. They did test on each one. As I got older, my love of ice was almost like an addiction. By age 10, I had been tested for diabetes. It wasnt conclusive. I would go to sleep just sitting there. Headaches were common. I was tested after that probably every year if not more often. I was constanly in the ER. I pulled my arm out of palce, my hip. I was a busy child. I had no fear. And I often got hurt. When in college I tried to sell blood and ended up in the hospital getting blood. Then every 6 months I was tested for being diabetic. I still would fall asleep just sitting there sometimes. But it all hit the fan when I got preganant with my second child. I had prenatal diabetes and hypoglycemia at the same time. I lost 75 pounds while preganant. And she weighed 9 pounds 12 oz at birth. She was tested and came back negative. After the birth, I went back to normal. IT all went away. The third child, a walk thru preganancy. 8 pounds 12 ozs. Went home and life was great. Then Menopause. everything was haywire. But my blood pressure was the first to spike. Triple digits. on both numbers. Then I started having what I call black outs . I would be awake , but I would lose time. And the scariest day was when I walked off. I had no idea of my name, I didnt recoginze any one. I was with my husband and kids at the grocery store and I felt really odd and he found me across the street . I was at a plant place gardening. I wasnt sure who he was. untill my son called me mom, I wasnt going with him. That was when we went to the dr and said something is wrong. And My blood sugars was off the scales. I have had to re educate myself on food. The first two years I cried. Partly menopause, partly fear. I could pass this on to my children. I am adopted what else do I not know. And then one day after a screaming hissy fit, I was mad. I was alone in the house thank goodness. I screamed until I was hoarse. And then I looked in the mirror and decided I didnt like me. And slowly I began to take control. No more taking pills without research. No more just doing, Why was I doing , what would the effects be. And if this didnt work, what was plan B. I still have bad days. I still fight the depression. But now I can usually track it back to a break in routine or something. and that has given me more control. My life has changed dramatically. Good , bad or indifferent. You use what you are given to work with. You face each day , one at a time. Somedays, one hour at a time. But you do it. And how you handle things are the way you teach your children how to handle things. Educating friends and family is the hard part. Most of them dont understand. But that is ok. Sometimes you know something is wrong, but you dont know the questions to ask to find the answers. So we talk on blogs like this. We keep communicating and this is the key. There is no miracle cure. I truly believed that after menopause went away so would diabetes. It didnt. But I am still here. And I am alive and well. At least as well as you can be living with teenagers. lol.

Read my story here:
I put this together quite recently and it was really surreal to walk through the whole thing step by step.

I was having irratic cycles, and an ultrasound diagnosed PCOS - polycystic ovarian syndrome. That tends to go hand in hand with insulin resistence, so I was sent in for a fasting test and immediatly put on metformin. Then a few months later, tested again, got upped to max met dosage and told to go see the diabetes doctor. I’m guessing he’s an endo, I’m not really sure. The first doc said I was diabetic, the diabetes guy said no, you’re not your insulin resistant, but take diabetes meds and go to diabetes classes and stick to the diabetes diet and get a meter and start testing your blood.

So thats me, diabetic in all but name.

You can also have a pick at this , I wrote it a while ago on my blog about the first day with diabetes, how I found out and all the emotions that came with it.

I was diagnosed just before my 10th birthday, by my pediatrician at my annual check-up. No symptoms at all. I wrote about my diagnosis recently, because my 20-year diabetes anniversary was this month: 20 Years

I was 11, and always a little chunky when I was a kid. Well, I got the flu 3 different times early spring of 1991. I lost 20 pounds in less than 2 weeks, I couldn’t eat, thirsty all the time, peeing constantly, and taking naps. My mom thought I was on drugs, because I was in middle school, and “who knows what those kids are doing!” Anyway, my mom got sick of the crazy mood swings, and no eating, so she made a doctors appt for me. They made me drink this sugary syrup mixed with Dt Coke (and to this day, I get sick drinking it) and then took a blood test. Guess what… Yup!!! It was over 500. I don’t think they told me the exact number, but they told my mom, I would have been in a coma by tomorrow (not sure I beleive them on that one though).
So, my mom took me to Children’s in Boston, and I was in the hospital for 14 days! Not fun. Anyway, I put 6 lbs back on after 8 days, (I think thats part of the reason I was in for so long).
Thats my story, and I’m sticking to it!

When I was 11 I got very very sick. I lost a lot of weight. I was insanely thirsty and kept drinking orange juice. My doctor told my parents I just had a virus and gave me some antibiotics. That didn’t work and I ended up barely able to move in the hospital. My blood sugar was in the 900s.

Type II - I was just feeling blah for a few months and was told I had an A1c of 10.6 at my annual exam on June 6, 2005.

In retrospect though - earlier in March I had a terrible flu, and was very tired. I’m sure this is when I “switched” over.

Sorry but to be graphic, I was unusally constipated and the the smell of my urine should have clued me in. The constipation passed, my urine still has that sweet smell (where the term diabetes comes from) sometimes just slightly, sometimes stronger.

My sense of smell in general changed too, cigarettes never bothered me before, they seemed to just hit me now.

I was lucky in that I caught it very early. I was officially diagnosed March 28, 2005, when I was 27, but I noticed things for a long time before that. I can remember in 2002 feeling sick and very sleepy after eating lunch at work. Around that time I decided to look at my diet and discovered it was very unhealthy, so I cut out most carbs, stopping drinking regular soda, etc. The few times I did have a lot of carbs, I felt really sick afterwards, so that was incentive not to do it. In 2005, I was falling asleep after lunch again, on meals of about 45 grams of carbs. One time a coworker brought in candy and after eating it, I felt horrible. A couple months later I had dessert at a restaurant once, and at home I felt terrible and said I’d never eat carbs again! (Yeah, right). My housemate, who’s had Type 1 for 25 years, said, “you’re diabetic” (somewhat as a joke) and gave me an old meter. Sure enough, my postprandials were 140-190 and when my bg was going up, I’d feel really sick.

It’s kind of a blessing and a curse to be so sensitive to bg. On the one hand, I caught my diabetes about a year before most people would have. On the other hand, the honeymoon will be over someday, possibly soon.

I will skip the mess that happened afterwards - initially diagnosed Type 2, took forever to get reclassified Type 1 (LADA), since I posted that elsewhere.

In 1986, at the tender age of 30, I went for a job interview, part of that was a medical and part of the medical was to pee on a uristix. Lo and behold, it turned light brown! What I didn’t realise at the time was that it was a very much a fasting reading, so the implication was more serious than I realised. The doctor doing the medical commented on it but it was pretty much ignored. In 1992 a visit to an ER for an unrelated incident showed that I had glucose syrup rather than blood.

As one would have expected back then, I was treated as a type 2. I now know otherwise. :slight_smile: