Sunday, March 30, 2008

My diagnosis: Symptoms of diabetes

In my last post, I mentioned a list of various things that were going through my head since finding my old medical records. Looking over the paperwork on my hospitalization, I discovered some things I didn't know or hadn't realized at the time.

Before I start discussing my list, though, I need to tell you about my diagnosis. I'll split it up into a couple of posts, because it's a long story.

I was diagnosed with new onset diabetes in May of 2002, at the age of 22. I had been losing weight all semester, and when I dipped under 100 pounds around time for finals, I decided to go to the doctor once my exams were over. By the time I went to the doctor, I had lost 20 pounds over a five-month period, and my co-workers had begun to suspect anorexia.

I went to the doctor complaining primarily about the weight loss. I didn't think at the time that anything else was wrong with me, but in fact the symptoms had come on so gradually that I didn't realize. It wouldn't have mattered much if I had, though, because I didn't know anything about the symptoms of diabetes.

In hindsight, these are the symptoms I was experiencing, though I wasn't fully aware of all of them at the time:

* Rapid weight loss, even though I was eating more than I used to
* Extreme thirst
* Having to urinate frequently
* Painful muscle cramps, mainly in my legs in the middle of the night (because I was pissing out all the potassium in my system)
* Blurred vision (from sugar buildup in the fluid in my eyes)
* Lack of energy (sleeping 10+ hours a night, napping frequently, etc.)
* Dizziness (disoriented from extremely high blood sugars)
* Really nasty-smelling farts (no idea why this was, really)

We thought that I might have hyperthyroid, which my mother has, because she had experienced rapid weight loss before she was diagnosed. The doctor did a full blood panel, because we really had no clue what was going on.

That was on a Wednesday. Thursday night around dinnertime, the doctor called me at my parents' house.

"The results came back from your blood tests," she said. "You're diabetic."


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