My Story


Everyone’s got one, here’s mine.

It was spring quarter of my freshman year in college (I was 18). I was loosing weight after gaining the requisite freshman 15. Yay! All my working out was paying off. Then I realized I needed to get up to pee every night. Then twice a night. My classes were only 50 minutes long, but I would drink a bottle of water during half that time (by trying to conserve it) and still felt like I was still dying of thirst. I also could only barely hold my bladder that long. In the 10 minutes between classes, I would run to the restroom then to the vending machine (it was hard to decide which was more important), then race to my next class. I stuck it out for at least a week, oblivious to these obvious symptoms, as well as my lethargy and blurry vision. I even went with some friends to the beach one weekend, suffering through every minute.

I was scheduled for a blood pressure test at my on-campus health clinic because I had recently started on birth control; I figured I would ask about my symptoms then. I had looked at a medical webpage and it was pretty clear that I was diabetic. It helped that my little cousin was diagnosed with type one when she was a year old. Good thing I looked into it, because when I went in, the doctor refused to believe the severity of my symptoms. I know doctors hate self-diagnosis, but I was insulted when she said my thirst was because it was spring and warmer out. I would not make a big deal out of regular thirst. She finally sent a new intern in to take a blood sample and run a sugar test. (Obviously a new nurse intern; several pokes later, she got the vial full 1/4 inch. Luckily, that was enough.)

I got called back in that afternoon, a different doctor sat me down, and said my blood sugar was four-hundred thirty-something and she guessed I was a type one diabetic. I was sent over to the university hospital, conveniently just down the street. The endo there ordered more tests and I was scheduled to come back for a full-day appointment the next day. I was told to buy a glucose meter, but not given any insulin or other treatment. Had I known what a blood sugar of over 400 meant, I would have pushed it. I walked back to my dorm, stopping by Starbucks for a frozen, sugar-laden drink. I was still thirsty, and had not yet been forbidden anything.

I got to call my parents and explain the situation to them. You can imagine how that went. The next day, I got to start of NPH and Regular insulins, started testing my blood sugars, and found out what carb counting was all about to meet my alloted and assigned amount of food. You can’t imagine a worst time to start carb counting than when eating dorm food.

I was 18, and had moved away from home 7 months before I was diagnosed. At least, as my boyfriend’s roommate said, “it’s not cancer.” Things weren’t as bad as they could be: I knew to demand a blood test. And, this has always been my diabetes; I learned what to do and how to deal with all the daily problems on my own. Also, compared to my cousin, at least I got to enjoy my childhood Halloweens.

My diagnosis was seven years ago in May and, for better or for worse, I can barely remember what daily life was like before that.


Tina, great story! Yes, we all have one, and it really makes you realize that we are NOT alone when we read the other ones. Do doctors just not want to give bad news? My mom was told to take me home and give me salt tablets! She, too, insisted on a blood test, which landed me in the hospital. By the way, I tried the “at least it’s not cancer” on a doc once, and next thing I knew I was in the psychiatrist’s office!