38.1 was my blood glucose level. That was the maximum the machine displayed. The next day I went to the doctor and was admitted to hospital with Type 1 Diabetes.
Did I mention this was the day after my birthday? Happy Birthday Zoe, you’ve got Diabetes!
Back to school I went 3 weeks later. Forced to have my lunch 45 minutes before everyone else.. Wasn’t awkward at all. Carrying my needles and my BGL (blood glucose monitor) everywhere I went. Obviously when I say “wasn’t awkward at all” what I really mean is it was really awkward. Year 6 and 7 passed fairly easily.
Then I started high school. Then I stopped injecting for 12-18 months from the age 14. That went well. I had a tiny ingrown hair on my right leg. It blew up to the size of a tennis ball. I went to the doctor of course not mentioning my lack of injections. They knew something was up since my HbA1c had rocketed from 5.7 to >14.1. (HbA1c is your average blood glucose level average for the previous 3 months) Again, 14.1 was the highest displayed via the finger prick method.
I am supposed to be competing in a national 10 Pin Bowling (go on have a giggle, I know you want to) Competition on the weekend. On the Thursday before my tennis ball leg exploded. No big deal. I’ll just bandage it up. I’m not sure how another 15/16 year old would bandage up a fist sized hole in their thigh but I just put some gauze in it and off I went. Friday all my friends arrive for the competition on the weekend. We go out for tea. Seafood. Saturday… I’m not feeling great. Assume I have food poisoning. Pull out of the competition and go and have a nap at friends house near by. My nap includes continuous projectile vomiting.. Hallucinating. Convulsing. Talking to myself. My mum comes to pick me up and I am locked in the toilet and the lady won’t let me out. What lady? Exactly. How’d I get into the toilet? The kids across the road helped me.
There were no kids. No lady. I was so out of it I was hallucinating.
Eventually she gets me out and rushes me to the hospital (mum got a speeding fine, ha) and from here on in I have little memory of the next week or so. I do remember chucking a huge exorcist move of some sort when they plunged a needle into my neck so I didn’t die. But someone else will have to confirm that.
I had a blood infection from my ingrown hair. It set off the ketoacidosis.
To this day this remains my worst episode of keto. My parents were told if they were 90 minutes later I would have died. All because I was an idiot and didn’t want to have Diabetes anymore.
I was hospitalised 10 more time with ketoacidosis before the age of 19.
I left school at 16 years old due to poor health resulting from the above episode.
Another notable episode occurred at yet another bowling tournament (really how cool am I?). I was 17, I had an ear infection. We were in Sydney. It was cold. My ear infection worsened. My diabetes did too. I have no memory of the night before I was hospitalised but apparently people thought I was super drunk. Waking up (I don’t recall waking) in my own vomit didn’t help that rumour. My parents came, dad carried me down 5 flights of stairs. Go Dad! And then to a doctor. Then to hospital. Bankstown. I highly recommend not getting sick in Western Sydney if you can avoid it. Another week in ICU staring at the walls. This time I had a drip drip out of my vein and burn my arm from the inside out. SO FUN! A student doctor attempting to stitch a coil with 8 drip attachments to my groin for 90 minutes. He failed. Scars are cool right!?
At 17 years old I had cataract surgery on both of my eyes and numerous YAG laser treatments. I was told I would be fully blind by the age of 25 due to protein and blood leaking in my retinas. This was huge wake up call for me.
At 23 years old when I was 4 months pregnant with my son I slipped into a diabetic coma in my sleep (low blood sugar) and was convulsing and choking on my own saliva. My dog was bashing down our bedroom door and woke my ex-husband up. My sons life was saved by my American Staffy..
This was not the first time my BGL had dropped dangerously low but it most certainly was the scariest. 2 weeks before I had left our house and was wandering the streets trying to get to my brothers house (around the corner). We had just moved in. Apparently the neighbours were super impressed with their new “special” neighbour. Cue Ryan carrying me back down the street and pouring coke and BBQ sauce down my throat. I hate BBQ sauce.
Now at almost 28 years old and having had Diabetes for 16 years I have no bleeding or leaking in my eyes and rarely see any side effects from my Diabetes. However I am legally blind and will never drive, work full time or lead a “normal” lifestyle.
I read a story the other day about a 17 year old Diabetic girl dying in her sleep from low blood sugar. That was the thing that made me sit up and say this is something that needs to stop. People need to understand this disease and the seriousness of it. The side effects, what can happen. What does happen. The saddest thing is.. My story is not unique
At 32 years old, having spent the last 3 years in a constant state of stress dealing with personal issues which then became medical issues... I was diagnosed with Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy November 24th, 2016. I have lost all the vision in my right eye due to my poor control as a teenager. I have regular injections into my left eye to prevent it degenerating further. I will be sharing this experience here in the coming weeks as well as other stories from other Diabetics as we re-launch the site.