Saturday, 13 May 2017

Where did it all start?

It's a simple question but like the condition it tends to be a more complicated answer. There is the obvious diagnosis day, but that isn't really the start of it if we are honest with ourselves now is it?

So where do we start?

Do we delve into genetics and look at family history... Well it is an obvious place to start but in my case it is a dead end... In many ways.
Cutting to the short story is that there is no history in my family that we could find of any kind of diabetes. In fact not really much medical history of any kind in my family that is hereditary.

Where do I start in own mind?

Well going on the evidence base available to me, I have a history of autoimmune conditions that is unique to me.... Yay me!
I was diagnosed with Graves disease in the mid 90's and boy did it do a number on me.
Massive weight loss, often tired, messed up sleep..... Wait a second this sounds familiar. Never mind.
So after a few years of that little joy ride that sent me on many different directions including down the line of suspected insanity, as far as I could tell at the time, I was nuked.
No really! They gave me a capsule with a radiation symbol on it while the tech hid behind a shield at
the far end of a long room while wearing a lead apron while telling me it was "perfectly safe"....... To whom exactly?
Well yes they were mostly right... After a couple of rocky months at any rate. And that was the end of that, or so I thought.
I really should have paid more attention to the fact that when I went for hospital appointments most of the people I met and spoke to where T1.
No, I am not saying the is a causal link, but definitely a correlation! But I digress and have gotten ahead of myself again by a decade or so.

Fast forward a decade or so

Life is great. Well mostly great but I have very few complaints. The wonderful girlfriend who looked after me when they nuked me (I think I still need to pay hey back a lot more but please don't tell her) had now foolishly married me. I like where I live and love my job. I look forward to Monday mornings! Hey you are reading this, how crazy are you?
I find myself walking through the arrivals hall in Johannesburg, heading for a short break to see my good lady as she is working a contract in South Africa at the time. We last saw each other probably 6 or 9 months earlier during which I had a brief bout of food poisoning though nothing too crazy.
As I get into the arrivals hall and spot each other I notice a variety of expression flash across her face, but I just got off a long flight and don't have the energy or inclination to worry about it because I am just glad to see her again.
I was later told that she was completely shocked at the state I was in. Kacy stated that I was clearly very sick even if I didn't know it myself and she was rightly worried about what could be up with me. I guess the clothes hanging off me should have been a clue.
Let's count off the symptoms shall we?
  • Massive weight loss, around 20-25kg
  • My mouth always felt dry, "Glue Mouth" I called it.
  • Always needing the toilet for a pee
  • Hugely thirsty all the time.
  • Waking up multiple times a night for the loo and to down a pint of water
  • Blurry vision
  • Easily fatigued
I mention the last one the way I do as I tend to be quite stubborn so will just push through a little bit of tiredness if there is something to do.

D Day

Fast forward a couple of weeks and I am now back in the UK. Before leaving SA I was made to promise to go see the Dr when I got back as I obviously had diabetes.
So off to the Dr I trot for a late appointment after work, diabetes not being the main reason I am going. The main reason was 2 days into the holiday I started to get pins and needles in my hand that just wouldn't go away. I think my words to Dr was along the lines of "Oh while I am here my wife insisted I get tested for diabetes because of *insert symptoms here*" GP digs out a meter and does a test.... [HI]. Now her attitude changes and she wants a urine sample and has called for the practice nurse who "has a much better meter". Business done, nurse does another test [33.6], "Is that bad?"
Meanwhile GP has looked at ketones and is already on the phone. As she hangs up the conversation then goes something like this:

GP: Okay Andy you will need to go to hospital.
ME: Alright I will keep an eye open for the appointment letter then.
GP: No, you misunderstand. You need to go to hospital right now!
ME: Oh, I didn't think it was that serious.
GP: It is, you have to go now. Go to A&E and give them this letter.
ME: Okay... So what is wrong with me then?
GP: You have Type 1 Diabetes, no question about it.

Off to A&E it is then, it's a shame as it's a lovely spring evening and I was hoping to take a wander to the pub for dinner. While I wander back home to pick up a couple of things I try to get in contact with Kacy to let her know the score, no luck there though

And there you have it, a rather dry and direct medical assessment for the day my life changed. In reality it actually properly started 3+ decades earlier and the probabilities firmed up 1 decade ago. Not that it really matters in either case. T1 kicked down the closet door when it burst out and threw test strips all over my room.. and my car.. and my office. Actually everywhere I go it seems.

I could go on about the rest of my D day as the hospital itself was a laugh riot though I suspect I have put half of you to sleep already so another day I think.

Thank you again for being patient enough to put up with more of my pointless mental ramblings, I hope to settle at some point and do a better job though I make no promises.
Until another time keep on keeping on fellow special folk :)


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