My Diabetic Diary Part 1

Denial With Diabetes

Not long after the birth of my daughter Laura, I began rapidly losing weight, which was welcome, but soon I became tired, finding it hard to make it through the day without a nap. Even when I was awake I felt drugged.  I thought constantly about sleep and food.  I ate everything in sight, my usual lunch of one sandwich tripled to three.  My food consumption increased while my weight dropped.

I clearly remember the shock on Vicki’s face one evening as she came to the kitchen to prepare a meal.

“Alina, do you know where the cottage cheese went?” She asked.

“I ate it,” I replied.

“What about the chips, the eggs and the bread?” Vicki questioned.

“I ate them too.” I said.

It was hard enough facing me, but when Vicki could see my condition, I was humiliated. I realized I was eating us out of house and home while my body was starving.  As soon as I finished a meal, I became drowsy, would fall asleep and then wake up ravenous.

Joe urged me to go see a doctor and find out what was going on. I refused, blaming my fatigue on staying up with the baby. Deep inside I knew something wasn’t right but I told myself I could get through it if I ate healthy foods and avoided stress. I couldn’t bear the thoughts of being sick and didn’t want to hear the truth. Always independent, I hated to ask for help or rely on anyone.

Denial became a way of life for me. I tried to hide how tired and sick I was or how much I was eating.  My weight continued to drop to the point where I lost my menstrual cycle. Friends and family began to comment that I was too thin. I grew irritable with my children because the noise they made would grind on my raw nerves.  If Joe or Vicki tried to bring my health up to me, I would lash out and snap at them.  I had a part-time job which I found increasingly difficult to do.  In addition, I had always balanced our family check book and made sure the bills were all paid on time but now I could not concentrate long enough to run the numbers and some bills fell through the cracks unpaid.  I wasn’t fooling anyone but myself.

Me and Laura 1993. Undiagnosed with diabetes and not feeling too great.

I withdrew emotionally and physically from Joe. I had lost my sex drive and didn’t want to talk about why. I was too tired to fight, and I viewed any talk about my health as a fight. I felt misunderstood and alone, wondering if I was just going crazy.

One evening while watching a news program, the host began talking about diabetes and a voice in my head said, “you have diabetes”.  I turned off the program. Only old people who are out of shape get diabetes. I was twenty-five, diabetes was impossible.  But those words, “you have diabetes” kept running through my mind.

About two weeks later Joe and I were lying in bed. In the dark he pulled me close to him and gently said, “Alina, you are dying before my eyes and I just can’t sit here and watch. I need you, your children need you.  Please go see what is wrong. I am with you every step of the way.”

“I have diabetes!” I sobbed.

“I know; everything will be ok. I will make the appointment”, Joe assured.

At the Doctor’s office, my blood sugar registered 450. Tests confirmed that I did, in fact have type 1, or juvenile onset diabetes.  The doctor told me that I was fortunate to have made it this far without going into a diabetic coma. He advised me to start on insulin immediately.

“What do we need to do?” I asked.

“The dietician will go over the methods for counting carbohydrates and balancing your meals as well taking the insulin injection.” He replied.

“Injection, Isn’t there another way? You don’t understand; I am terrified of needles! See this scar on my hand? I cut myself washing a glass when I was sixteen. I refused to let my dad take me to get stitches because of the needles! Don’t they make insulin pills?” I pleaded.

“I am sorry the insulin would just digest in the stomach. Injection is the only way,” he calmly said.

“Well I won’t do it, I can’t do it!” I exclaimed.

Joe squeezed my hand,” We will do it together. I can give you the shots.”

The nurse had Joe and I practice injecting insulin into an orange until we became comfortable.  I cried most of the way home feeling angry and scared.  Joe gave me my first shot but I knew he could not give me every shot.

I remember my mother telling me “God won’t give you anything in your life that you are not strong enough to handle.  He loves you.”  So I turned to God. When it came time for my next injection, I prayed and went for it, determined to face my fears head on. Shaking I injected myself twice, both times jerking the needle out before I could deliver the insulin. Finally, the third shot was success!  I laughed at the irony.

The little insulin needle that caused me so much stress!

Seventeen years later, I still have to take a deep breath every time I go to poke myself with a needle. And, I still have to accept that I need people to help take care of me and support me through both sickness and health.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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20 Responses to My Diabetic Diary Part 1

  1. Heather says:

    My daughter has type 1 and has for 8 yrs ( shes 16 now) its tough . Its awesome you have a supportive family to love and help you. My daughter wears an insulin pump now I pray one day there will be a cure and noone else ever has to prick fingers, count cards, do injections, check ketones, worry about complications, fight a low or high blood sugar, and all the other things diabetes involves. I loved Yalls book, admire y’all as a family, and hope to one day to see more of y’all on Tv.

    • Alina says:

      I am on an insulin pump now and I like it so much better for treating diabetes. It feels easier to get tighter control. It takes a lot to manage diabetes for someone so young. You basically have to do it all until they get old enough. What a challenge. May God bless you all with the best of health and success.

  2. Kari Kirkland says:

    WOW! I had no idea about these types of diabetes! I just thought of the type 2. I just assumed you had to be overweight to have them. I am going to read more on this. I have a few of these symptoms! Crazy!

  3. Nic says:

    From one Type 1 to another, thank you for sharing your story.

  4. Melinda says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I know all about this and those little needles. When I was pregnant with my first daughter I was put into the hospital for bronchial pneumonia and they did a glucose test. Well they told me that I had pregnancy related diabetes and said I had to check my sugar levels and give myself shots in my tummy. I was sad and hate shots. I’m not a fan of blood either so having to make my fingers bleed several times a day had me really upset. After my meds were done and my poor fingers looked like a battle zone the shots started making me really sick. I was dizzy and felt like something was wrong and I only felt like this after the shots. So I stopped taking them and called my obgyn. He said to stop the shots and had me redo the glucose test. Turned out that I didn’t have diabetes it was be of the meds they put me on while in the hospital that gave a false reading.

  5. Amy Manning says:

    Thank you for sharing your story Alina! I have type 2 and am trying my hardest to get it under control. Would love a post from you about what your fave foods are to balance your sugars.

  6. Marissa Bosworth says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I too am diabetic, being diagnosed at the age of 17. I was in denial as well when I was diagnosed, weeks before I started my freshman year in college. It’s been 19 years living with diabetes, and I know that I wouldn’t have managed without the support of my family. Thank you once again foe sharing your life and your stories with the rest of the world.

    • Alina says:

      Marissa,
      I hope all is going well for you in taking care of yourself. It takes a lot to keep it up and still meet the demands of daily life. Thank you for sharing with me. All the best.

  7. Elaine says:

    On September 7, 2011 I lost my beautiful 20 year old daughter to type 1 diabetes. She had been sick with bronchitis and her blood sugar was running high from the infection. Please be sure to always tell your family just how sick you really feel. My daughter downplayed how she felt to her friends and they let her go home to sleep when she should have gone to the emergency room. God bless you Alina and your precious family. Please take care.

    • Alina says:

      What a heart wrenching experience! I take my diabetes much more serious these days. In the past there are so many times I didn’t let people know when I was sick and just went to lay down. Thank you for sharing with me. I really feel your loss; I lost a five month old baby girl back in 2001. Such a difficult thing for a mother to go through! May God bless and bring comfort to your heart.

  8. Chris Nystrom says:

    Good story. Thank you for sharing. I am glad you are feeling better now. My mother has diabetes. I am trying to be healthy and delay myself getting it as long as possible.

  9. Marla says:

    Alina I just got done reading your book and found your site from reading the end of the book! I feel your pain! My husband was diagnosed 10 years ago with type 1 diabetes when I had a 6 week old and a 2 year old. He went from 185 lbs down to 134 lbs and when I could convince him to go in they said had he not come in sooner he would have died. He is doing great now. To make a long story short my 2 daughters have it as well. One was diagnosed on september 15th of last year at the age of 8. She is now 9. My other daughter was just diagnosed on February 4th and she is 11. When the girls were younger they were in a study with my husbands Dr. and the results came back that they were never going to get diabetes. Were they wrong or what! I tell people now not to get your children tested so see if they might get it because those tests are wrong. There is a Dr. here in Colorado by the name of David Wagner. Google him to see what he has done with mice. He has cured mice of type 1 diabetes! It will probably be a few more years until he gets approval for humans. I got the pleasure of meeting him at a retreat for diabetes in the fall. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed that they get a cure for this disease sooner than later. You and my husband were blessed to get it as adults. Not that it’s been easy for you I’m sure but for kids it is really hard managing their carbs, bg, activity level etc… It’s just heartbreaking. Anyway you are a beautiful person and I’m so glad you shared your diabetes with all of us. Listen to that song by Pink called Try. Change the lyrics to fit for diabetes and it fits it perfectly! It’s such a fitting song for lows at night when everyone is so tired but you have to try! Hang i there and keep smiling.

    • Alina says:

      Marla,
      The warmth of your words touched my heart. Thank you. That is encouraging news about Dr. Wagner. I believe a cure is within reach. My skeptical side though sometimes makes me wonder how much effort is going into a cure given the money made on treating the diseases symptoms instead of the cure. I relate to your story because Joe’s Dad died from complications of Type 1 diabetes about the time I got diagnosed. It is an awful disease and that you have had both of your children affected makes me feel for your situation. I read recently of dogs trained to sense blood sugar crashes. I have a niece who has it and I know how much they struggle just monitoring her during the night. Having the disease as a child is so much more complicated. Thank you for your encouraging words and may Heavenly Father send blessings to you and your family.

  10. Johnnomads says:

    Thanks so much for sharing, so many ppl have this silent killer, and so many more are in denial, and receive no treatment at all. It’s funny though, how we fear a tiny little needle, ignore the risk to our lives and the ramifications to our families. Fortunately if we allow our love ones to share in our treatment, we can live long healthy lives!

  11. Catherine says:

    My daughter is 4 and was diagnosed almost 2 years ago. Every time we insert a needle into her skin I struggle still. Thank God you finally took the steps to be diagnosed. It’s funny how many people still call it Juvenile Diabetes, when in fact it is being diagnosed in more and more adults.
    My daughter now is on an insulin pump which is a lifesaver for us. She’s down to one poke every three days vs. 10-12 a day

    God Bless!

    • Alina says:

      Thank you for sharing. I am grateful I have not had to deal with it with my children thus far. I love my insulin pump. I pray by the time your daughter is an adult a cure if found.

  12. Melly Q says:

    While I was pregnant I had to give myself a shot everyday, not for diabetes though. It’s amazing what the Lord will help us do – especially when others are depending on us!

  13. tinyurl.com says:

    “My Diabetic Diary Part 1 | Love Times Three – Our True Story Of
    A Polygamous Marriage!” was a fantastic blog post, can’t help but wait
    to go through alot more of your blog posts. Time to waste some time on the internet lolz.

    I appreciate it ,Jewell

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