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Musings for the Sweetly Bemused: A Diabetes Blog

The Uncommon Diagnosis Story IS the Common Diagnosis Story

Musings for the Sweetly Bemused: A Diabetes Blog
By: lizmariposa

My name is Lizmari Collazo.

I am a Puerto Rican, living in Iowa. A lover of white picket fences, black cats, Winter, and photography. I am a 35 year old who was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes two years ago, on November 17th, 2009, with an A1C of 10.5%.

Those are the numbers that "define" me, but they do not tell my story in full. The journey toward my diagnosis was a rocky, and complicated one, and it is my goal that others would learn, and grow from my experiences.

I am not a doctor, nor a medical professional of any kind, so please do not take my musings as a "diagnosis" or as a treatment for any medical condition, at any time. If you should have any concerns regarding any health problems you may be experiencing, please contact your medical team, or a qualified medical professional in your area, as soon as possible. 

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 Blog Entries
A Diabetes Diagnosis: Finding the Motivation - Mar 22
My faithful readers might be missing some of my posts, as of late, and I dully apologize. Sometimes, life throws us much more than diabetes to handle. :) Close to a ...
A Diabetes Diagnosis: Taking Control - Feb 25
Last week, we discussed how allowing baby steps into our diabetes management plan can help us overcome some of the fogginess, and the fear, that a diabetes diagnosis can ...
A Diabetes Diagnosis: Now What? - Feb 16
It's a place of shock, bewilderment, desperation, sadness, fear, or sometimes, misplaced relief or joy. It's a diabetes diagnosis. Sometimes, it might come at us in ...
The Uncommon Diagnosis Story IS the Common Diagnosis Story - Feb 11
Hello to all, in the Diabetes1 world out there! :) This is my very first blog post, in this community... and I'd like to take a moment to just introduce myself. I'm sure ...
Posted: Feb 11, 2012 13:07
  • The Uncommon Diagnosis Story IS the Common Diagnosis Story
    Hello to all, in the Diabetes1 world out there! :)

    This is my very first blog post, in this community... and I'd like to take a moment to just introduce myself. I'm sure that with time, I'll get to know many of you a bit more closely. As many of you may know, my name is Lizmari. I am a Type 2 Diabetic, as well as a person with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Hypothyroidism, Depression, and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. (Yes, I'm just a little box full of FUN! :))

    Life with many endocrine illnesses hasn't always been easy -- but it has been a learning challenge, as well as a challenge to my own will, and self motivations. It's, particularly, not so easy sometimes, to know where an illness begins, and another one ends... especially at diagnosis time. But I'd like to believe that I've learned a thing or two, over the years, about some of the individual nuanses of each of my conditions. 

    As I post and share, in this community, my goal is that we all come away a bit more aware that diabetes (and endocrine illness in general) is not a black and white affair. Each and every one of our experiences will be different, and not exactly "textbook" based. We may know the many classic symptoms that represent diabetes, but even deeper than these, an awareness that our sense of health is "off" is sometimes all a person needs to trigger curiosity, and persue more adequate medical follow up. 

    And so began my journey with diabetes... 

    I was merely, a busy Human Resource professional, for a local manufacturing company. A young person, excited about a career with promise. Perhaps a little too excited. The job was stressful, and filled with "busybody politics." 

    It was Winter of 2006, when I started noticing things were not right with me -- I started having these odd chest pains. I had recently gained a lot of weight, and I guess I chucked it up to being busy, and not really paying closer attention to my eating habits. But, nevertheless, I went to my Primary Care Physician, and I expressed my concerns. 

    At the time, the doctor ordered some labwork, as well as a stress test, from the local hospital. The stress test came back fine, but looking back at the labwork? That was not so fine -- the fasting blood glucose level was 143 mg/dL! But NO ONE told me anything about it. No one said there were any issues at all. (I actually found out when I happened upon the paperwork, long after diagnosis.) 

    Through 2007, my health just deteriorated even further. I began having bouts of anxiety, and clinical depression, and was hospitalized for some time. I was placed on many strong antidepressants (some of which, undoubtedly raise blood glucose as a side effect), and my weight just fluctuated considerably. I was rarely able to be at work, and had already exhausted my Famy Medical Leave. The last medication I was on, the doctors ran some blood work, and simply told me that I had "Fatty Liver Disease," but never followed up on that, nor on my blood glucose levels. I was never told what it really meant, or what I could or should do to fix it. What's worse is that Fatty Liver is a classic potential marker for diabetes, and it simply went ignored. Near the end of 2007, I had a major seizure at my desk, at work... and was promptly fired, when I was not able to return the following Monday. 

    I had just ended the year on a very bad note. I was balding quite considerably. I had lost 40 lbs. I was quite scared. After that, I lived on the sofa, for many a weeks and months, depressed, and confused. I hardly ate. I had a few jobs here and there, that I struggled to keep -- and often didn't. I was basically, a shadow of who I used to be.

    I began developing infections -- even massive abscesses requiring hospital intervention. I recall, on one occasion, being so sick... my husband just insisted I test my blood glucose level. It was 150 mg/dL. It had been around 3-4 hours since the last time I had eaten. (And not very much, at that.) I knew right there was something wrong... My father had had diabetes, so I just KNEW there had to be something wrong. I decided to visit a local free clinic for the uninsured, that's hosted in my local community... and the doctor there said there was nothing wrong!! Nothing wrong. "Oh, if you care so much, just lose a little weight, but you're fine."

    Five months later, the chornic yeast infections began... and the blurry vision. And the unsatiable thirst. I was finally diagnosed by the head LPN, at the local Planned Parenthood, who on a hunch, tested my glucose in urine levels, and sent me for an A1C. My fasting blood glucose that morning was 235 mg/dL, a full 12 hours after having eaten a single thing. An A1C of 10.5%. Even with those numbers, the PCP at the Free Clinic was still in denial... still questioning to herself that there was anything wrong... Still acting like "well, did you see any other bad numbers in your meter?" -- How many more bad numbers does one need? It's a very high A1C!

    This is a very condensed story... but the moral of it is that it took me near 3 years to get an accurate diagnosis. LISTEN to your body, be insistent. If you have ANY doubts at all, use the power of the internet, and get second opinions when you have the resources available to get them. Don't take a no for an answer, if you are very concerned there is something wrong, and you feel your medical team is just not listening to you, or dismissing you. Just because someone is not presenting in a coma, or on their death bed, or passed out from high blood glucose levels, or with glucose levels over 500, does not mean they do not have diabetes! 

    Our community needs medical professional awareness as much as it needs patient awareness... and I hope that every one of my musings, here, can help contribute even a little grain of sand into that vast beach. :) 

    I'm glad to be here. Glad to share. 



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