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This two-part article was written exclusively forIAD.com by Juliette Beaulieu. In this article Juliette discusses her struggle with type 1 diabetes, how much she struggled with the diagnosis and what she has found helpful in her path to managing her condition.
Being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes came as a surprise to me and going back on what happened I realize now that before I was ever diagnosed, diabetes had already been impacting my life without my knowledge.
Losing the Rhythm
Everything started to decline my last semester of college. Back then I thought it was just stress, but things just didn’t add up because I’ve always been a good student with high marks. Things came easy to me, marketing was my thing and I loved it. Besides going to school I also had a great job, which I loved, working for charities. Everything seemed great but January came around and I started feeling really bad all the time, more than in the previous months. I became somewhat concerned but I really did not have time to think much of it.
Suddenly, my performance at school got so bad that I was failing tests, something which had never happened to me before. I was also no longer able to get sponsors at work. I couldn’t concentrate at all and I couldn’t string words or thoughts together in a coherent manner. It become bad enough that at the end of January I lost my job. At first I was upset because I loved my job, but after some thinking I thought about it as a new opportunity to focus more on school and get my grades up.
Finding Hope Again
Nevertheless, my grades continued to slip. On one occasion a group I was working with tried to have me leave the group because I was simply just too tired to keep up with the assignments we were given. I wasn’t able to get out of bed and when I did manage it I’d get to school at there early and leave not too long after, all so I could go back home to bed until dinner time. I was so tired, dehydrated and just so drained all the time.
At the beginning of March things seemed to be looking up. I got another job and I started going to the gym again. Then without warning the same thing happened and my fatigue returned but with even more force. I was extremely dehydrated and my mouth was dry all the time. I started to get horrible leg cramps at night and I had to go to the bathroom literally every 20 minutes.
A Rude Awakening
I didn’t know what was wrong with me, but I had an idea of what it was in the back of my mind. In November, when I had first experienced the same symptoms of fatigue, I had taken the time to look them up online. I found out that what I was experiencing correlated with the symptoms of diabetes and that I should be tested for it, but I decided to ignore it.
March 18th, 2014, was the day that changed my life forever. That morning I woke up with the uncontrollable urge to vomit. It was awful, but I toughed it out and went to school anyway. I got to class and my teacher sent me right to the clinic on campus because I looked so pale and lifeless. At the clinic they had no idea what was wrong with me so they had to send me to the hospital instead.
Part II coming soon!
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Is it Stress or Diabetes?: Juliette’s Journey with Type 1 Diabetes, Part I