Monthly query: TuDiabetes Turns Five! Where were you, in relation to your diabetes, five years ago?

How has your relationship to your diabetes changed in the last 5 years? Maybe you have learned new skills to help you better manage your blood sugars, or made needed progress in accepting your life with diabetes. Maybe you've gotten a little lax with your care and need to re-inspire your will power to eat carefully and exercise regularly.

Reflect on where you were the year TuDiabetes began and where you are now, and share the changes you see, either in the discussion below, in your blog (please post the link to your blog in the discussion below so we can find it), or with photos!

Tags: birthday, change, question, reflection, tudiabetes

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I don't do blogs, and I also prefer to read answers within a thread, so I'm hoping people will post their answers here as well.

180 degrees is my own short answer to this question! Here's the longer version:

In 2007 at age 58 I had been experiencing frequent urination, thirst, fatigue and unexplained weight loss for awhile. I knew the first three were symptoms of Diabetes and when I looked up weight loss I saw that it could be as well. At the time I can't recall if I knew there was a "Type 1" only (very vaguely) "juvenile diabetes" that happens when you're a kid and the type that happens to middle aged people like me. I did (also vaguely) know they were very different. I called my doctor and asked to be tested for diabetes, and pretty much expected it to be positive. The nurse told me on the phone my fasting blood sugar was 325; not knowing what that meant I just said, "so I have diabetes, right?"

I was due to retire and move to Guatemala in a month so it was all pretty rushed. I was given oral meds and a meter. I was sent to the nutritionist (or cde I really don't know which) and when I told her "I eat very healthy and I'm a vegetarian" she said "then you shouldn't have to change anything" and never asked me if, as a vegetarian, I ate a lot of rice and pasta. (I did). I'm not sure if the words Type 2 were ever mentioned. No A1C, certainly no antibody or c-peptide tests. I wasn't surprised or particularly bothered at all by my diagnosis.

Fast forward 15 months. With some changes in meds, I'd continued this long with good blood sugars and making no change at all in my diet (I already hadn't eaten sugar for 13 years due to an eating disorder.) It never dawned on me to read, learn, or do anything different other than prick my fingers (I believe 3-4 times a day) and take my pills.

At that point though, my numbers started a slow but inexorable rise. My doctor kept switching my meds with no effect. I probably went on this way for a couple months too long; by the time I said "something is wrong" to my doctor I was hitting the 300s daily and even the 400s. At that point I recognized and told my doctor, "I need to go on insulin" but I didn't understand why. I'd heard "diabetics" could go decades before needing insulin. My doctor put me on too high of a dose to start (I now realize it was because he was treating me as a Type 2) and I kept crashing, including one frightening low where I was unconscious but my liver kicked in.

Something was wrong and I decided to figure out what it was. I started with the only book I had a 20 year old book put out by Johns Hopkins. It listed the differences between type 1 and 2. Under type 1 it said something like "usually diagnosed in childhood, but occasionally in adulthood." Hmmmmm. I then started a process of research online that soon brought me here. I started hearing about LADA/Type 1 and asking questions about it. By the time I got in to see an endo in Guatemala I already had a list of 5 things that I knew defined me as Type 1. It was validation for all my hard work when the endo just checked each item off, and said, "You're type 1". I then began the process of learning about using insulin with some (newer!) books and maybe most of all on TuD. So I wasn't here when it began in 2007, but TuD has played an integral role in my Type 1 Diabetes since three years ago.

Back for a summary: The difference between my experience of Diabetes as a (misdiagnosed) Type 2 in 2007 and my experience of Diabetes today as a Type 1 is day and night. In 2007 I followed my doctors blindly (though that isn't usually my nature) and Diabetes wasn't a big part of my life. Today in 2012 for all intents and purposes I AM my doctor - with a little...ok, a lot..of help from TuD.

Footnote: I'm not, of course saying that all Type 2's ignore their Diabetes, that was just my own experience of things.

When I came here 5 years ago I had never really talked to anyone with D other than my 1st cousin and my daughter who had had D 10 years b/f I got it. When I got here I learned there were more of us diabetic's out there (all 3 of us were Type 1's) I found that to my shock there was a Type 1.5 out there along with Type 2's (I had many uncles & aunts with Type 2 but never really understood it) I love the ppl I've met here and tried to learn from everyone here.

Ugh my daughter became a Type 1 25 years after my diagnoses.

I had just signed up for an "instructor program" at the Tae Kwon Do academy I studied at. I'd started working to lose weight but was probably still c. 250 lbs and, in a new role, learning to be a teacher instead of a student, I was pretty much constantly feeling challenged and had a lot of not so much failure as "you need to practice this for THE WHOLE CLASS and GET IT RIGHT. And lose weight!" which was sort of true, as it's much easier to do somethings w/ less weight involved? Anyway, I kept cutting carbs out and reducing insulin, purely by trial and, just like TKD, lots of errors. My A1Cs in 2007 went up so in the spring of 2008 (I know...getting ahead...) I got a pump.

Exactly 5 years ago I had just started on my pump after 44 years of MDI & things were going very badly, BGs in the 300s & felt horrible & very stressed out, But with a lot of help & support from the Animas trainers I persevered & by summer I loved my pump. Now 5 years after starting on the pump I feel so much better. So the last 5 years have been life changing.

Five years ago I was reeling from the very recent, agonizing death of my beloved brother from virulent, multiple-metastatic kidney cancer. He was my best friend on the planet and he was only 47 when he died. My self-care was horrendous and I had no way to correct highs because although I was injecting Lantus, no fast-acting insulin had been suggested or prescribed.

Like too many T2's, I was flying without a net, ill-informed and unsupported by my doctors. No one was helping me and I had no idea what I was doing. It was all I could do to put one foot in front of the other every morning and force myself to go to work.

I was hiding in bathrooms and conference rooms, sobbing hysterically five or six times per day and in a near-coma of grief whenever I wasn't at work. I kept feeling this stirring inside of me that "he wouldn't want me to live like this" and "he'd want me to take better care of myself" but I couldn't muster the strength to do anything about it for at least six months. Bereavement plus diabetes plus chronic depression makes a nasty brew.

Looking back, I have come so very, very far. I still miss him every day but the white-hot agony is, for the most part, behind me. I've learned how to eat better (much lower carb, no more binging on packaged, processed food), how to set my basal, how to use short-acting insulin to bolus and correct, how to keep an eye on things like my vitamin D levels and my other nutrients. I've taken up music again and bonded with a teacher and a community of like-minded musicians. I've matured, calmed and centered myself. I've accepted that I'll be a diabetic for the rest of my life, but that diabetes doesn't define me. It can't block out the sun, the joy, the richness of my life.

He was a Buddhist and he taught all of us through his end-of-life courage and grace that while "life is suffering" and "nothing is permanent", love and compassion are what really matter.

Thank you, Jean, you have indeed come a long way and have so much to share with others.

Thank you, Zoe!

I have been Type 1 diabetic for almost 12 years now. Through 2007 to early 2009, I was in a bad marriage. Had absolutely no support from my then husband. He was extremely abusive and controlling. I couldn't work and I won't go into what I had to do to get my prescriptions. I finally got the courage to stand up to him and I kicked him out in 2009 and got a divorce that same year. I ended up getting a restraining order which helped move the divorce faster. In June 2010, after I went through my second heart surgery to correct the tachycardia I had developed, I met this wonderful guy named Derrick. We hit it off big time. So much in common, but enough different to keep things interesting. Nothing really changed my relationship with diabetes until I met my current husband. He taught me that there are other people out there besides my mom that wants me to take care of myself. Unfortunately, some damage had already been done. I had been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy in 2008 and then the heart issues happened in December 2009 and May 2010. The good thing is with his support, I was able to get things under control. I've been able to have the child I've always wanted. A beautiful baby boy named Trysten who is now 6 months old. And we are looking to have another child.

Oops wanted to post a picture of my little bundle of joy.

He thinks he's too sexy for his onesie.

You can also visit my blog for more information on my journey in conceiving, carrying and the birth of our second child together. The link is at Cherise's Blog

I wasn't diagnosed five years ago, though I must have been having steadily increasing postprandial BG for years before diagnosis. But, had to comment on Cherise's Trysten. Oh my, he's adorable! Love the tie--hilarious. Babies against onesies.

I was playing Wii everyday until 3am, drinking a lot, and about to go to Disney World on Spring Break.

I was not taking care of myself at all.

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Manny Hernandez
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Emily Coles
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Mike Lawson
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Corinna Cornejo
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Desiree Johnson  (Administrative and Programs Assistant, has type 1)

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