Feature Friday with Denethia
This week’s Feature Friday is with Denethia who is from North Carolina. She is an easygoing person, who says that she loves to laugh, tell jokes and spend time with her loved ones and family. She has been living with Type 1 Diabetes for 11 years and despite the shock that came with a diagnosis, she is working hard to overcome the daily obstacles that come with diabetes. Please enjoy her story and I hope it inspires you to share yours too!
Her Diagnosis Story
I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes 11 years ago and to this day I can remember every detail about the weekend of my diagnosis. I went to the doctor on a Friday morning with symptoms that I thought were related to a surgery that I had 3 weeks prior. The appointment started off as any doctor’s appointment would, she asked why I was seeing her that day. I proceeded to explain my symptoms over the past week which included: extreme thirst, extreme urination, fatigue, and loss of 10 pounds within 3 days. The odd thing about me explaining my symptoms is that I tried to give an excuse for each symptom. I remember telling the doctor that I was drinking a lot because I was extremely thirsty due to the removal of my tonsils 3 weeks prior, the fatigue I explained was caused because I was waking up every 30 minutes throughout the night to urinate and the weight lost, I thought was caused by my inability to eat solid foods while recovering from the tonsillectomy. Looking back, I believe I was trying to convince myself and my doctor that there wasn’t anything seriously wrong with me.
After hearing my symptoms, the doctor checked my blood sugar and found that the reading on the meter did not produce a number but simply read HI; meaning my blood sugar was too high to register a number on the meter. I left the doctor’s office with instructions to fast from food for 4 hours and then return for another blood sugar reading which was also found to be high. At this point my doctor consulted with physicians at the hospital and informed me that she believed I had diabetes and would be admitting me into the hospital. I was instructed to leave the doctors office and go immediately to the hospital, which was about a mile away. I arrived to the hospital and was checked in as an admitted patient. After being re-evaluated at the hospital, I was officially diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and remained in the hospital for treatment throughout the weekend.
Misdiagnoses are a common theme in many diabetics diagnosis story. However, I never experienced being misdiagnosed. While I was not familiar with symptoms related to diabetes at the time of diagnosis, my doctor immediately recognized the symptoms that I described as classic symptoms related to diabetes. The diagnosis portion of my story occurred quickly and efficiently but I did have a rocky start to life with diabetes once I was discharged from the hospital. I was sent home with the wrong medication, no one at the hospital taught me how to use a glucose meter, so I struggled with checking my blood sugar. Also, I continued to lose weight because I was told to eat a very low-calorie diet. Initially it was rocky but these things improved after the treatment of my diabetes was overseen by my endocrinologist.
After being diagnosis with diabetes, I was in shock for about a month because I went from being a young woman in my early twenties with no major health issues to being told I would have a chronic disease for the rest of my life.
Tip for Living with T1D
One tip that helps me manage diabetes is to meal prep. I prep my meals for the week each weekend and package the meals in meal prep containers. This helps me with carb counting and insulin dosage throughout the week.
The word thrive to me means the ability to flourish and push past the obstacles that you encounter in life. The support of my family and friends helps me to thrive.
What do you wish someone told you earlier about diabetes?
I wish someone told me not to be so uptight about my disease, to relax and give myself the grace to learn about diabetes and adjust to the new life style. Early on, I put a lot of pressure on myself be perfect at handling my diabetes. I treated diabetes like a race with a finish line that I needed to cross instead like a marathon that needed to be ran at a pace.
Words of Encouragement
You can live a healthy and happy life with diabetes. Diabetes may be a part of your life but it does not define who you are nor determine your life story.
Work and Diabetes
I work in a biomedical research field called regenerative medicine. I worked in this field for about a year when I was diagnosed with diabetes. After working in a professional environment for 11 years with type 1 diabetes, I have learned to be open and honest with my diagnosis of diabetes. I find myself educating co-workers about type 1 diabetes and connecting with other diabetics in the work environment. Also, there have been situations in which I have called upon the help of a co-worker when recovering from a severe low blood sugar. I found that my openness about living with diabetes has allowed me to have some of the most helpful and encouraging conversations that I would never imagine having in a work environment.
Thanks for reading this Feature Friday with Denethia! Check out here Instagram HERE to learn more and follow her journey. Finally, in case you missed it… check out last’s weeks Feature Friday HERE and a post about 5 benefits to tracking your blood sugar!