I came into the new year determined to finally get below 200lbs. I've been talking about throwing a 199lbs party for the past five years. After totally changing my diet and making lifestyle changes rather than settling for quick-fix solutions, I have successfully maintained a 25lbs weight loss, but failed to reach my goal of getting below 200lbs.
With school behind me, I felt there was nothing stopping me from celebrating my 199lbs party before the summer. So, I joined a gym and by the end of January I was going five days a week. I shed 10lbs by January 31st and was eager to see what February would bring me.
Unfortunately, February brought some VERY strange things. I now know that those things were symptoms of diabetes.
WEIGHT LOSS: By February 5th, I had lost 4lbs. And then the weight kept coming off. I was averaging 2lbs a day and I knew this couldn't be from working out because I eventually got too tired to make it to the gym. I told a few people that I felt like I'm on that movie Thinner (the guy was cursed and kept losing weight until he was bones). Within 15 days, I had lost 22lbs.
EXTREME THIRST: I started drinking water in the middle of my workouts, which didn't alarm me. I wrote it off as I'm working out more therefore, I need more water. However, I soon found myself craving water at every turn. The first time I went to the doctor (a week before I went into the hospital) I told her "I'm craving water like a fat police officer wants Krispy Kreme Doughnuts." I was drinking more than a gallon a day. When I walked into a store, I went straight to the beverages and drank while I shopped for groceries. The moment I finished drinking water, I was thirsty again. **The doctor told me that it was because of my workouts and that I should drink Gatorade to hold the water in my body. This was the advice that nearly killed me because in essence what she said was-go out and dump sugar into your body. I returned a week later on the verge on a diabetic coma**
FREQUENT URINATION: It made complete sense that I would go all the time since I was drinking all the time. The difference is that I was no longer able to sleep well at night. On average, I would go four times during the night. Also, I found myself sitting on the aisle at church because I didn't think I could make it through the entire service without going to the restroom.
BLURRED VISION: I couldn't see as clearly, but yet again, I had an excuse--it was time for my annual eye exam.
FATIGUE LIKE I NEVER KNEW: This is the symptom that sent me seeking help. I thought that I was more tired than usual and when I began sharing that with others they responded with "Me too, it's that time of year." This made me not take the fatigue too seriously at first, but after not having the energy to go to the gym, drive the car without taking a long blink, not being able to sit up straight at my desk, or avoid falling asleep in the bathtub, I knew I needed to go see the doctor again.
I went to see her (just a week after complaining of extreme thirst) and this time I told her, "I'm so tired that I cannot function." Matter of fact, while sitting in the waiting room, I repeatedly went to sleep. I was so tired that I had to hold on to things while I walked. When she saw me, she said that she would give me a shot and send me home. This terrified me! I called my mom and told her that the assistant said, "Your glucose isn't registering and that's not a good thing." My mom, a nurse, told me to go to the emergency room NOW!
There was no way I was going home in this condition, so I replied "No thank you. I am going to leave here and go to the ER."
"Well," she replied, "You're not a case for the Emergency Room because you are not in a lot of pain. If you go, you'll want to exaggerate your pain scale. Tell them that you are in a lot of pain. A 10 out of 10."
"I am going to go. My mama said go. This is not like me. I am usually full of energy and now I can not even stand for five minutes. I'll tell them whatever, but I cannot leave your office and go home, I KNOW that something is SERIOUSLY wrong."
She had her assistant wheel me outside (yep, I needed a wheelchair since I was that weak). My friend drove me to the hospital. On the way there, I kept falling asleep too.
I had forgotten to "exaggerate my symptoms" and there was actually no need to do so. Within 20 minutes of being in the ER, I heard the following words "Your glucose is 593. You're on your way into a coma. Get her in the back stat. She needs an IV. How long have you been a diabetic?"
"What? Never. I'm not a diabetic. I don't even know any diabetics."
"With a glucose reading of 593, you're a diabetic now! And, if we don't get that number down quickly, you will go into a coma. Anything over 200 is problematic."
"WHAT? I'm not a diabetic, I'm just very tired. A coma, Really?"
I was admitted and over the next six days, I lived in the hospital where doctors and nurses worked on me and tried to educate me on diabetes. Unfortunately, I was too broken to absorb 100% of the information I was being given and I spent the next six days crying, being confused, scared, and feeling more alone than I can ever remember. And yes, I was angry at the doctor who told me to start drinking sugary Gatorade and who should have checked my glucose the second I said that I'm very thirsty. She is no longer my primary physician.
Below is a picture I took while waiting in the ER. When I see this picture now, all I can think about is how I was fighting against going into a coma and didn't even know it. I know there is an Angel right there with me.
I am wearing a mask to protect me from the woman with bronchitis who refused to synchronize coughing and covering her mouth. I didn't know what was wrong with me, but I knew it wasn't bronchitis.