Bad news call ¶
So yesterday (Saturday) my General Practitioner (GP) dropped a small bomb on me: I have Diabetes.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been feeling tired, I was always thirsty and the frequent drinking meant I very frequently had to go to the loo. I also lost some weight (around 5kg) in those same weeks, even though I wasn’t working out more frequently and I didn’t change my diet.
So last Friday I decided to schedule a visit with my General Practitioner (GP) to get some bloodworks done. The doctor filled some tubes with my blood and sent them to the lab and I was supposed to call for the results on Monday. But that’s not how the story continued …
Yesterday, Saturday, my GP called me on the phone and immediately informed me he had some bad news for me: my blood sugar values were way too high. They were at 280 mg/dL (if I recall correctly) while the normal range is closer to 80-120 mg/dL. Because such a high level may lead to Diabetic Ketoacidosis, I had to check myself into the hospital so they could bring my blood sugar levels down.
And that’s how I spent my late afternoon and last night at the Endocrinology department of a local hospital. First in the ER to get admitted and to get some more blood drawn for lab testing, later in my room to get insulin shots. By the time I got into the ER, my blood sugar level was at 340 mg/dL, so it’s best my doc didn’t wait until Monday to bring me the news.
So far the diagnosis is Type 1 Diabetes, which can occur with younger people and usually is caused by an autoimmune reaction. The body erroneously attacks the pancreas, which is the organ that produces insulin for you.
Most people will know about Type 2 Diabetes, which generally affects older people or people with obesity. Cells start to respond abnormally to insulin and build up insulin resistance. The pancreas keeps creating more insulin in an attempt to get the cells to respond but eventually it can’t keep up anymore.
Since I’m not within the regular age group for Type 2 and my body weigth is OK, the default diagnosis is Type 1. Further tests are to be done to confirm this diagnosis, but for now there’s a 99.999…% certainty it’s Type 1.
Treatment so far ¶
Sidenote: I’m not well-versed in the correct terminology yet, as this is all completely new to me as well, so don’t consider this a medical advice!
Currently I’m hospitalized so I can be monitored.
At the ER they inserted a needle in my arm with a small tube on it. This is so I can be given medications without the need for more needle-poking. So far this has remained unused.
Every few hours a nurse will come jab a needle in my finger to draw some blood to check my blood sugar levels. Based on those levels, I might get some rapid/short-acting insuling before a meal to ensure my sugar levels don’t rise too much. My meals are now also all sugar-free or low on sugar.
Last night I also got a long-acting insuling shot which helped me cover the night and most of today.
Some more blood was drawn as well for additional tests.
Apparently there’s something going on with my kalium/potassium levels as well, which I got to correct by drinking some kalium-rich drink?
I have yet to get more info on that from a doctor.
So far, my guess is I’m also suffering from hypokalemia?
Update: Apparently with the frequent urinating(?) I also lost some kalium, which now needs to be replenished. No need to worry :)
Next steps ¶
It looks like I’ll be here at least until tomorrow (Monday). In the meantime they’ll continue to monitor my blood sugar levels and inject me with insulin when needed.
I’ll also be thaught how to do all of this myself. Check my blood sugar levels, calculate my insulin needs and inject myself.
It’s possible I’ll get some follow-up at home as well, through home nursing. Just to be sure I know what I need to do and do so correctly. You don’t want to under- or overdose yourself with insulin!
This whole procedure is something I’ll have to do for the rest of my life. Luckily there’s been much improvement in tools to help you handle Diabetes. There’re sensors you can wear which’ll report your blood sugar values real-time in an app, so you don’t have to do the needle-jabbing thing, and you can even get insulin pumps that will do the injecting thing for you as well.
Update: I will be getting a sensor in/on my arm. Probably tomorrow. I won’t be getting a pump just yet, but will likely need one in the future once my pancreas is completely destroyed.
Further, I’ll also need to make some dietary changes. More focus on healthy food and (partially) cutting out sugars.
Luckily, with a well managed insuline intake, I don’t have to be hindered to live the rest of my life. It’s just something I’ll have to create a habit out of.
While I prefer to keep this blog somewhat technical, I feel like sharing my experiences may be helpful to others.
And since technology can also get involved in my story (see the sensors I just talked about) it’s possible there may even come an overlap between the different topics on this blog. Like tracking my blood sugar levels in Home Assistant and send me alerts when needed. Or checking the security of those blood sugar monitoring sensors.