Type one complications – Kath’s Story

7 Jun

So I’ve had to give myself a little push to write this…partly as I’ve moved on and partly because it still hurts just a bit…

A bit about me…type one Diabetic since being diagnosed aged 9, so approx 34 years. Admittedly throughout my teens and early 20’s I thought I didn’t have to test my blood sugar as i felt “fine” ….of course I didn’t…that daily tiredness and feeling sluggish I just accepted was how I was meant to feel…and that the unexpected hypos when I did something different was a circle of being low, over eating and then being high but not ever really testing to enable myself to treat the high and get on a level. I pretty much only tested if I didn’t feel “right”! Thankfully after diagnoses I have only had 2 admissions through being hypoglycaemic and have to date never experienced diabetic ketoacidosis.

Attending diabetic clinics at the Gp surgery was always a bit unfulfilling to say the least… “you need to get your blood sugar levels under control” was the 3 monthly advice with no real concerted effort to say how but starting with testing would have helped and that was down to me.

So fast forward a few years and various diabetic related complaints….numerous retinopathy eye operations and laser surgeries, almost losing a toe to an infected toenail removal and then the unthinkable happened…(Not a single offered consultant appointment I might add)

“I’m 38 and I’ve had a heart attack” … this was going to be the distorted mantra that was to plague my mind for the next 6 months. (And occasionally still) Round and round it went. I was sat in hospital for 5 days waiting for an angiogram to confirm the myocardial infarction, I had been working nights for the preceding two weeks as a mental health nurse on my own in an office experiencing what I told myself was a trapped nerve…id been to the Drs 3 times, had ECGS and was simply told I was too young to be having heart problems and that it was probably anxiety..…I turned down an ambulance when I had chest pain at an evening out and drove myself to the out of hours Gp…then a lovely old school Gp took some bloods and sent me up to the hospital for a chest xray, which of course came back negative. I didn’t have raised cholesterol or high blood pressure either. The consultant was about to send me home with a confirmed trapped nerve and some Diazepam when she said” oh but we will just wait for your bloods and then send you on your way”. She actually said on her return some 90 minutes later that “that’ll teach me”… “You’ve had a heart attack and I must admit you straight away”.

So angiogram aside (which is the oddest feeling in the world…being awake and feeling something moving up inside your arm and into your heart which isn’t necessarily where you think it is!, lying bare bummed on a cold metal table that I thought I was going to fall off and hearing lots of figures being bandied around and the surgeon asking for a 2×2 (whatever it was) and the assistant coming back and saying they didn’t have one! What?! but I need one!) Recovery from that is really quick and I finally went home the next day. Then the real recovery started…being good to myself, testing my blood sugars…for a few weeks I was really convinced that all I could eat was chicken salad for the rest of my life.. I attended cardiac rehab with all the other heart surgery patients of an average age of 70 plus! The stress wasn’t helping my blood sugars at all and I decided I had to join a gym! Plus I didn’t want to die and became a little obsessed that that was going to happen imminently….depression comes with any chronic disease and I was slipping down that slope.

4 and a half years later and having stuck with the gym and starting running, also having had an insulin pump for the last 2 years has all really helped! Ive had the best Hba1c ever (it still needs improving) and last year I ran my first ever half marathon albeit at a snails pace but I did it with 30 plus other type one ‘s and had no dramas! I attended the Animas sports weekend at Loughborough which was also really valuable. If I had my time again or could have spoken to my 13 year old self id definitely have had a word with myself sooner!! There really shouldn’t be anything a diabetic can’t do !! It just takes a whole lot more planning!

Be kind to yourself is my motto these days, I didn’t ask for this blooming disease (none of us did) but I have it and I can manage it with support. Technology is immensely helpful as is the online support! So ask for help before it gets too much!

Kath

Thanks to Grumps for getting the #talkaboutcomplications  started!

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