December 17, 2011 was the day that changed my life forever…
I was a freshman at Texas Tech University at the time and volleyball season was coming to an end.
I was experiencing symptoms of extreme thirst, hunger and weight loss. Even my teammates noticed I was losing weight, but we all thought it was a result of the intense workouts finally paying off. It wasn’t until October that I knew something was wrong with me… I couldn’t go an entire practice without using the bathroom. Every night I would wake up and sprint down the hall hoping to make it. I remember one time, my roommate invited me and my other teammate to spend Thanksgiving with her family (30-45 minute drive from our dorms). I couldn’t make it 10 minutes without squirming in my seat like a toddler learning how to potty train.
I’ve peed in my pants, peed in cups, peed in the bed. I had bottles of Dasani and red Gatorade lined up on my bedside. Something was not right!
I took my concerns to our athletic trainer who scheduled an appointment at the Student Wellness Center. Visit 1, they prescribed me medication for a urinary tract infection. Visit 2, they refilled my prescription… Visit 3, pregnancy test???
It couldn’t be.
So one night, I found myself searching the internet for my symptoms.
On December 17, I came home for Christmas break. I had a gynecologist appointment scheduled for that afternoon to figure out what was really going on. At the end of the check up I did a urine sample and the doctor came back in the room and said I had a lot of sugar in my urine. She continued to tell me that I should go to the emergency room to do further tests.
My BG level was 493! The doctor was surprised I didn’t go into a diabetic coma. All of the signs were there… losing weight, extreme thirst, hunger and fatigue. Why didn’t anyone catch this sooner?
After running a series of tests, it was confirmed that I had type one diabetes.
Now the closest thing I came to diabetes was seeing my grandfather check his blood sugar and take his oral medication. I also witnessed my teammate from high school experience the same symptoms I was experiencing and that month she was diagnosed with T1D.
I never knew there were two types of diabetes. I never knew I would be diagnosed with a chronic disease. I was the healthiest in the family, how could this happen to me?
I sometimes think about how my life would be if I didn’t have diabetes. Would I have finished my volleyball career in college? Would I have not transferred to be closer to home? Would I have taken my first job offer without worrying about how my body would adjust? But then I think about how I would not be the person I am today, if it wasn’t for my diagnosis. I met one of my best friends at Tech. I transferred and won a championship ring. Junior year, I chose my career path over the sport I loved and made some amazing connections along the way. I turned down my first job offer out of college and made the best decision by patiently waiting for the job I have now. All of these life events happened because of my diabetes. During those moments, I made decisions out of self-pity and self-hate. I hated my body for doing this to me. As I look back, those decisions shaped me and made me stronger.
Every day I wake up and decide to fight this living battle. Yes, some days are better than others but that’s what makes me stronger. Sometimes I want to quit taking my insulin, stop checking my numbers and eat whatever I want, but what is that achieving? God gave me type one diabetes because he knew I was strong enough to handle it. After almost 5 years, I’ve finally decided to share my story.