Mark E. Welch is the founder of The Diabetic Friend, a published author of a children’s book and a diabetic.
Mark’s Diagnosis Story. I learned about Diabetes at an early age as my grandmother Bessie had diabetes. My mothers father was diabetic as well as my aunt. Diabetes is inherited through blood lines.
Grandma tested her blood sugar the old fashioned way with test tubes, using a urine sample and tablets she put into the sample to get her results. The concoction in the test tube would let her know if her blood sugar was within an acceptable range. Her insulin from was from glass bottles that had to be refrigerated. She used a syringe made of glass with a very long needle that she inserted into her thigh.
Thank goodness we’ve come a long way since then!
Numerous times as an adolescent, I came home from school and found her on the floor, nearly unconscious and sputtering incoherent words. Back then, all I was taught to do was to give her orange juice and sugar and call an ambulance. I know now she had become hypoglycemic from an overdose of her insulin, and/or not eating enough food to regulate her diabetes.
My Diabetic story started during the time of my 47th birthday, during a visit to Maine to be with my mother. I wasn’t feeling well for the entire trip. I was completely unaware of what was happening to me. I was 178 pounds, muscular and healthy. Once I arrived for the visit, everything changed. Within a day, I was constipated. No matter what I tried from the local drug store I has bound up. It seemed I was thirsty all the time and drank gallons of water. I also couldn’t stop urinating. I ate as I do when on vacation in Maine…my favorite pizza place…lobster…sweets such as the great ice cream available in my home town. I even indulged in one of my favorites…full belly fried clams. Sugar, carbs and more sugar. As the visit went on, my appetite waned and I felt bloated and unable to have a proper bowel movement. I had no clue as of why. I chalked it all up to travel and change of diet.
I was SO WRONG!
When my vacation was over and I arrived back home in Miami and my beloved Eva picked me up at the airport. I remember her face being pale when she saw me. It was the face of someone who knows you, hasn’t seen you for a time and is worried.
I remember her saying, “You look so skinny.”
I brushed the comment off. Another mistake.
A week after coming home I felt even worse. I spent hours on the WEB researching everything that could be possibly wrong with me. (liver disease, kidney dysfunctions, even cancer. Name it, I was desperate.
I did a self test for balance in my back yard one morning and could not do a simple thing like standing on one leg and touching my nose without falling over. Something was very wrong.
I also was having major problems with my eyes. My vision was going crazy. I have been 20/20 for years although I have become a bit near sighted over the last couple of years. Now, however, my eye sight was flopping back in forth. One day I could read fine print perfectly and I couldn’t read a huge billboard on the side of the road. The next day, I could read the logo on a plane in the sky, but couldn’t read the text on my computer screen.
After friends kept telling me that I looked like the walking dead, I finally gave in and had Eva take me to the hospital. Once in the Emergency room, my BG (Blood Sugar) was taken. ” 517″, a lovely nurse stated mater of factually, “Your going into the ER, I think your diabetic.” I didn’t freak out. It all hit me at once and I knew what was happening. I was indeed diabetic. I felt stupid that I didn’t realized what my symptoms meant!
When I finally saw an ER doctor, he confirmed the diagnosis. This, however, was not the end of my new diabetic journey. After three days of being fed insulin intravenously, test after test and more blood drawn than a vampire would take, I received my prescriptions for my meds. The hospital had successfully gotten my diabetes under control and I was discharged not knowing what do to next. My so called diabetic “Team” was nowhere to be found. All in all, I was basically given oral meds (with no specifics on how to take them), told to blow dry my feet, and shoved out the door of the hospital. Talk about feeling lost.
It took me weeks to figure out what to do. I finally enlisted the “Team”. Specialists and doctors that could help me in getting me the proper blood tests, proper medications and assist in helping getting me educated. I also spent hours doing my own research on the internet to figure out the complications and ramifications of this disease.
Diet is another subject altogether that I will discuss at a later time.
When I finally bought a scale and weighed myself I was 140 pounds. Diabetes had robbed me of all my muscle mass. I had lost a net weight of 38 pounds and wasn’t happy.
I could have helped myself by realizing that I had this dreaded disease earlier.
I hope this site will help not only diabetics, potential pre-diabetics but will also be a resource for friends and family members that are interested and/or have concerns about diabetes and want to help their diabetic friends.