About a month or two leading up to my diagnosis of type 1 diabetes, there were many things that I thought were somewhat strange but nothing that I ever thought would be life-threatening. I was a young teen, preparing for high school and enjoying my increasing independence. The extent of my diabetes knowledge was: 1) my grandma had type 2 diabetes and 2) I couldn’t stand to watch her test her blood sugar. I would not have been able to name any of the following symptoms:
I basically experienced every one of those symptoms.
- Excessively thirsty (polydipsia): I don’t really like water, and I suddenly was drinking multiple glasses a day. I would stand near the water fountains during recess because I couldn’t get enough.
- Excessive urination (polyuria): I assumed this was just from drinking so much water.
- Lethargy: I had little energy and was very tired.
- Breath (fruity smell): Didn’t recognize this until the ER admitting nurse commented on it and asked me multiple times if I was diabetic.
- Hyperventilation: The main reason I went to the ER. Woke up in the middle of the night and had trouble breathing.
- Nausea: I experienced this for at least 2 months. I would feel nauseous after eating anything. When I feel nauseous, I eat a peppermint and it usually helps. It got to the point where it didn’t help, and I would eat 2-3, making me feel even worse.
- Vomiting: The week before I was diagnosed, I couldn’t keep anything down. I couldn’t even keep many fluids down.
Some of the symptoms I thought were strange, mainly my thirst and nausea, but I didn’t think much about it. Some of the other symptoms, I thought were just a case of the flu. Without knowing the symptoms of diabetes, it wasn’t easy putting the pieces together.