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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

How it all began . . .

I'll try to write as much as I can remember.  It's been over three years, but I still remember the major highlights.

It was the fall of 2006, my last fall semester as an undergrad.  My major was physics, but I was taking my specialty courses in atmospheric science since I was planning on starting grad school in that department the following year.  I was stressed out, but pretty happy with my life overall.  School was exciting.  I had been dating the same guy for over 2 years, an engineering major named Trey.  I made some girlfriends in the atmospheric science department, which was a refreshing change from the mostly male Physics Department.  I played intramural football and kicked major butt!

Around Thanksgiving is when I started to feel weird.  I remember becoming extremely thirsty; I would down 2 bottles of water before even leaving my apartment for school.  I guess that was the first symptom--thirst.  My hands were so dry and cracked that they started to bleed.  I blamed it on the cool, fall weather and my lack of lotion.  I became very fatigued even to the point of sitting in the bathroom at school for 10 minutes to take a nap.  I thought it was all just stress because of school and starting my senior project and graduating and . . . Then it became to difficult to see things far away.  Who am I kidding?  I couldn't even see the TV from the couch!  It got so bad that I asked my classmate next to me to take notes for me in class and Xerox them later because I couldn't see the board.  Between school and general Internet use, I thought my eyes were finally giving way.  This was all too bizarre.  Finally, I googled all my symptoms and found "diabetes".

I burst into tears and immediately called my mom who is also a nurse.  She said, "Honey, you have to be tested for that.  You're probably just stressed from school.  We'll get you checked when you come home for Christmas."  I didn't make it that far.  I tried to ignore it all because finals were coming up. 

Over a 60-hour period was how long I went from cheering at a hockey game to laying in a hospital bed.

Friday, December 8, 2006:  Went to our college hockey team's game that night.  I was so thirsty I drank 2 large Dr. Pepper's.  Went out to dinner afterwards with some friends where I puked in the bathroom.  I felt so crappy I only had a few pieces of bread and shrimp for dinner.  Tried to go to sleep that night but didn't because I kept getting up every few hours to pee. 

Saturday, December 9:  Slept in 'til almost lunch time.  Got a shower and tried to eat some pizza my roomate had made.  Went over to Trey's house to try and study for my dynamics final on Monday.  I kept throwing up at all times throughout the day.  My routine had become drink, pee, throw up, drink, pee, throw up, etc.

Sunday, December 10:  I woke up and immediately called Trey.  There was no way I was going to make it to church that day.  I could barely get out of bed.  He came over and dragged me to this walk-in clinic just down the street from my apartment (my brother affectionately calls it a doc-in-box).  I puked twice while I was in the waiting room.  When they finally took me they tried to get a blood sample from my veins but they were so dried up it took them 3 tries.  They informed that there was this stomach bug going around making people fatigued and vomitting.  (Looking back on it now, I wonder why they didn't think diabetes?!)  They hooked me up and gave me 2 bags of IV's (i.e. sugar water) and told Trey to keep giving me fluids for awhile and some antibiotics.  So, we went to the grocery store and bought Gatorade, chicken soup, popsicles, and jello.  I puked in the aisle with the popsicles.

We finally make it back to Trey's house where I collapsed on the couch.  At this point I called one of friends from school to ask the TA if I could take my Dynamics final later in the day because I needed to sleep (my final was scheduled for 8:00 AM).  For anybody that knows me personally, this shows how sick I really was.  Only if I was on my death bed (literally), do I miss school.  Tried to eat some jello, but threw up.  The last thing I remember was around 9:30 PM when I started yelling at Trey, "I want to go home!"  (He told me later I was barely whispering, but I remember "screaming" with all my strength.)

We make it back to my apartment, I stumbled across the parking lot like a drunk person.  Trey had to catch me before I fell on the sidewalk.

I think this is plenty to digest for now.  Tomorrow I'll post about what happened while I was "out of it".


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Oh my goodness! This is so unbelievable. Clearly we know how it ends, but reading this it seems like a miracle you are here to write the story. Staying tuned...

  3. This is so similar to my diagnosis story it's crazy.

  4. Wow. I know exactly how you felt from the one time I was in DKA. It's such a horrible experience - it takes courage to look back and write a detailed post like this. I'll be coming back for Part 2!

  5. Holly, I remember way back in 1972 when I was diagnosed. I was really thirsty and chugging sodas so much that I hide them so folks wouldn't see how much I was drinking (and my big family wouldn't steal them). The morning before I went into hospital my mom sent me to bed with a bottle of Coke - she believes (still) that Coke fixes almost anything. After she spoke with the doctor, she whisked away the Coke and said "the doctor says we're to take you straight to the hospital". The rest is history.

    Glad you made it through. I'm a software nerd, currently working in a group at Lincoln Labs in Massachusetts that has a lot of weather nerds. Good to see you on the DOC.

  6. Hey Holly from another Holly (whose last name used to be Arnold, ironically enough). I read your blog on SUM and wanted to say welcome to the world of blogging. I look forward to reading more of you.

    I was diagnosed about 3 years ago with an A1c of 17.5 and have had a pump for about 2 1/2 of those years. For the past two months I have been using the Dexcom CGM (get one - its awesome and worth hauling around extra gear).

  7. I missed this yesterday!!! :)

    This is very interesting, and I'm on my way to read the next post.


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DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, nurse, certified diabetes educator (CDE) or any medical professional of any kind. (But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express!) Therefore, please do not use any of my postings as medical fact. I am simply a blogger expressing my highs and lows (pun intended) with diabetes. For changes in your medication, exercise regiment, or diet please consult a qualified physician.

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My name is Holly and I live in north Alabama with my hubby, two cats, and a dog.