Think type 1 diabetes is just for kids? Think again.
Because it was thought to only strike children and teens, type 1 was known as juvenile diabetes for a long time. The truth is a growing number of adults are being diagnosed with it in their 20s, 30s, 40s and beyond.
All week long, we will present stories from adults who were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, describing the emotions and frustrations that came with their experiences. Each person defines success in different ways, but they all celebrate the triumphs that have helped them reach their goal of living well with diabetes.
Name: Curtis Pitt
Age: 38 (diagnosed at age 34)
Location: Salem, Ore.
I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes about four-and-a-half years ago at the age of 34. At the time I was a deputy sheriff. I had no family history of type 1 diabetes. Looking back, I was dealing with symptoms for at least six or eight months. My A1C reached 14.9 percent.
I finally went to the doctor due to the fact that my left hand was going numb all the time. The next morning at work, I received a frantic phone call, and they told me that I needed to come in to the office ASAP. They then asked me if I was okay to drive. That hit me like a ton of bricks—I wondered, “What’s wrong with me?”
So I spent the next two days at my doctor’s office learning all about diabetes and how to manage it. The scariest part was when I went back to work a few days later, after my body started to adjust to actually having a normal blood glucose level. I literally went blind for three weeks and thought I was going to lose my job. I was scared and didn’t know what to do, so I faked it like a champ and didn’t tell anyone. I kept looking to my doctor for answers but he had none.
Finally, out of desperation, I went to a local optometrist and told him I needed answers about my eyesight. It just so happened that his son had type 1 and had dealt with the same problem, so he knew how to help me. He told me to go to the nearest drug store and buy the strongest reading glasses they had. I may have looked like a total dork for those weeks, but it was all worth it. Eventually my eyesight returned to normal.
Today I’m doing well. I even run my own private investigations business.
I am grateful to the American Diabetes Association for generating so much awareness. It definitely helped me when I was first diagnosed and had no clue about where to go or who to talk with.