5/5/1993, Cinco de Mayo, and I was actually IN Mexico! Though I had been there for several years, as my father took a 4 year job assignment in Mexico City. So from 5-9 years of age, Mexico City was my home. I loved every bit of it, except for this one day.
But we'll rewind a few weeks. I was amazingly thirsty, and distinctly remember feeling like I could drink all of the water in the world and it still would not satiate my thirst. I was also peeing almost every hour. I did not think this was strange...it was hot outside, so I drank a lot. And if I drink a lot, I pee a lot. The concrete thinking of a 9 year old. But my parents started to notice that something was awry. I was losing weight and looked gaunt. I was sleeping more than usual. I wet the bed one night, which was completely out of the norm for me.
They took me to a doctor who did an in-office blood test and referred us to an Endocrinologist. I have zero recollection of this, I just remember feeling sick one day, going for a nap at home, and then waking up in a hospital. But apparently, earlier that day I was sent for what sounds like an oral glucose tolerance test. The technicians noted my blood sugar to be going higher and higher in response to the sugary drink I imbibed. My parents were thoroughly freaked out -- "shouldn't she see a doctor right away?" But we were sent home with an outpatient appointment for the next day.
But I didn't make it to the appointment. My parents were unable to wake me up from my nap, and I was rushed to the nearest hospital. They knew the cause immediately, phoning the Endocrinologist on the way. My blood sugar was in the 700's.
And thus began my life with diabetes. I don't remember a whole lot from those first years, except for snippets that I have (or will) blog about. But I do remember the beginning of my denial, which roughly coincided with puberty and the middle school desire to be like everyone else. I did not grow out of my adolescent free-for-all until late 2011 (age 27!), despite 4 years of medical school and almost 3 years of Pediatric residency where I am relied on to take care of others. I finally broke down and admitted that I needed a support system outside of my friends and family. I sought counselors, educators, and doctors and put myself back on track. This blog is a part of my healing/growing/learning process and helps make me a better patient and a better doctor.