My Story: Sue from New York
My diabetes story started in 1975, right after Easter. My son had just turned four the month before. He was experiencing rapid weight loss with constant thirst and hunger, but when he tried to eat his stomach would hurt. He also started wetting the bed again. His symptoms progressed rapidly when he had an ear infection and was put on an antibiotic. He was due for a follow up visit to his pediatrician in a week, but when my husband told a co-worker about our child’s symptoms, my husband was advised to take him to the emergency room in case he had a kidney infection or something else. As soon as my husband came home we went to the E.R., where our son was close to falling in a coma. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and hospitalized for a week. We learned to inject insulin into an orange and check his urine for glucose using the Clinitest tablets. My instructions on food were to only allow him one starch per meal and no sugar; occasionally he could have angel food cake or Nilla Wafers for a special treat. He would get one shot a day of NPH and regular insulin mixed in the needle. Back then there was no carb counting or multiple daily injections.
The pediatrician advised me to quit my job and stay home with my son. I took a one month leave from work and thankfully received a layoff notice the day before I was to return. I took him to the pediatrician every three months to have his insulin dosage adjusted according to the Clinitest color-coded results that I recorded in a logbook. He would frequently have terrible hypoglycemic episodes during the night and even went into a coma at age six. When he came out of his coma later that morning in the hospital, they performed a spinal tap to make sure nothing else was wrong.
In 1988 when I was 38, I was rapidly losing weight and falling asleep right after dinner. I was scheduled for minor surgery and had the pre-op blood work done. The next day the nurse called me to tell me my blood glucose level was 480. I told her I knew what that meant. My doctor started me on glyburide for type 2 diabetes, but my blood glucose levels remained high even with riding my stationary bike every night, so metformin was added until I reached the maximum dosage. At that point the glyburide was discontinued and insulin was added. In 2000 my internist referred me to the Joslin Center, where my new endocrinologist told me he thought I had type 1 diabetes, not type 2. He discontinued my metformin and prescribed me daily insulin injections of Lantus and had me use the sliding scale for Humalog at mealtime.
In 2006 or 2007 I found the American Diabetes Association’s website and the online community message board for adults with type 1. It was there I learned about the advantages of using an insulin pump. I signed up for a pump introductory class at Joslin and chose the OmniPod pump. I learned to count carbs and use an insulin-to-carb ratio and correction factor. I went on the pump in December 2007 and am still on it. My son started using the MiniMed 722 pump a couple of months later and now uses the MiniMed Revel. We both use Apidra insulin in our pumps. I later learned about continuous glucose monitors on the message boards and received my training on the Dexcom Seven Plus CGM at Joslin. I have been continuously using the Dexcom since February 2010, while my son is using the MiniMed CGM. We have both benefited with better control using the pump and CGM. I also participate in the TuDiabetes message board, and at the urging of my new friend Laddie I have started participating in the Twitter Diabetes Social Media Tweetchat, Wednesdays 9-10 pm EST http://diabetessocmed.com/tweetchat/.