All week long, we are featuring people who were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as adults. Let’s hear from Andy, who was surprised to discover he had diabetes after being screened at a local health fair.
Age: 31 (diagnosed at age 30)
Location: Columbia, Ky.
My story begins in the fall of 2010, as I purchased my first home and started a new position at work. At this time, I was completely unaware I was on the verge of becoming diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. It wasn’t until I participated in a local health fair sponsored by our hospital that I received a report saying I had a high glucose level (300-400 mg/dl). It was suggested I make an appointment with a doctor, which I did. Further testing concluded I indeed had diabetes.
I sought a second opinion from a specialist, as I was in denial that this could be happening to me. Before my appointment, I researched a lot of information and was still under the hope the previous evaluations were incorrect.
The doctor and I reviewed the symptoms, to which I reported I didn’t recall experiencing. The only indication that I could see was my recent unexplained weight loss of 25 pounds. However, I thought this was just due to my increased exercise routine of being a cyclist and runner. It wasn’t until my follow-up appointment with the endocrinologist that reality set in. My blood tests were again positive for type 1 diabetes.
As of January 2011, a new chapter in my life began. There have been ups and downs along the way. I’ve learned a lot and still have a lot to learn about myself and life with diabetes, but I’ve come to terms with my “special pancreas” and have developed a great support group of family and friends. I think listening is important. As a person with diabetes, you have good and bad days, and it’s nice to know that your family and friends are there for you to vent those frustrations and to celebrate those victories. From the beginning of my diagnosis, my family and friends have been learning about diabetes alongside of me.
I was having breakfast with my parents one morning, and my mom had prepared a sugar-free breakfast. She commented, “If you have to go through this, we will suffer along with you.” The encouragement I receive cannot be measured. Days when I’m down, they are there to lift my spirits and motivate me to stay in control and not be defeated by diabetes.
Diabetes has not stopped me from my physical activity routine. I still try my best to include some type of exercise most days of the week and am now even more physically fit than I was before my diagnosis.
I’ve discovered that educating myself about diabetes helps with any struggles I face. Knowledge is power, and the more knowledge I gain proves that I can maintain control. I receive newsletters from various organizations that contain updated news and tips for healthy living. When it comes to eating, I follow healthy food blogs, search for healthy food alternatives and read product labels.
Staying positive and having a good attitude have also helped me defeat daily struggles. I cannot and will not allow diabetes to control my life. Currently, I can report that my glucose levels are better than before, and I am living life the best I can. There is a whole world of things to experience, and there should be no limitations stopping me from experiencing them.