Saturday, August 22, 2009

So, I'm one of those Type 2's.

Ah, I've just been reading about ketoacidosis for one of my blog posts. It's the condition that I had when I was finally diagnosed with diabetes last year. Reading about it was slightly traumatic for me, because it makes me realize that I could very easily have died. I had the symptoms for months before I finally went in to see a doctor.

So, I was very, very ill for a long time. I believed that I was a hypochondriac, that my symptoms weren't real, and that a doctor would just tell me to lose weight and send me on my way. After all, that was how doctors had treated me since I was a young teenager and first had symptoms of diabetes. Every single symptom was there, including nerve pain and numbness in my hands and wrists and highs and lows in blood sugar. I know now what was happening, but back then, I had no idea why I felt so sick sometimes after eating and why I couldn't fast for church without becoming sick.

From time to time, Mom would take me to doctors, but frankly, none of them cared at all to find out what was actually going on. They were all quick to judge me for my weight and dismiss me without so much as asking in-depth questions. The only helpful doctor I saw sent me to physical therapy for the pain in my wrists, and this helped me in one way. The therapist told me I had to get out on walks every day. This singular piece of advice saved me for years. I immediately incorporated daily walks into my life and have always done so since. As soon as I started walking every day, the nerve pain faded and I only occasionally have it these days. That's one symptom that's basically gone.

I hate that I have to think about my health every day. And I hate, too, all the articles I read about diabetes online that blame the patients for their disease. Supposedly, type 2 diabetes is a disease that people get because they allow themselves to get overweight in later life and they have a terrible diet. This is a disease for peope who have made bad choices and who have not taken care of themselves. Many health care professionals acts like the disease is something that people deserve.

But I was thirteen when I first had the symptoms. I wasn't overweight. I was very active, hiking with my family regularly, playing basketball and roller blading and biking. Sure, I ate whatever my mom made for me, but I don't think I was drinking the grease from the pan, or anything like that. I want to take responsibility for my health, but seriously. How could I have brought this on myself?

If you want to read about ketoacidosis, look it up Wikipedia. It's pretty scary.