A Baby, Diabetes, and Me

I guess you could say my daughter saved my life! 

When I got pregnant at 40 it was a pleasant, life-changing surprise.  I was working as a personal trainer and nutritionist with a really busy work and social life, too busy in fact.  During the early stages of my pregnancy, at just 14 weeks, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, it was a shock as I naively (& embarrassingly) always associated diabetes with being unhealthy.  Shows how much I knew!  Pretty quickly it became clear I wasn’t going to be able to manage my blood sugars through diet alone so before I knew it I was attending a biweekly diabetes clinic and on daily multiple injections of insulin.

Later in my pregnancy I moved house and registered with a new hospital, the endocrinologist there said, while observing me over his glasses, that he suspected I was GAD positive due to my blood tests and he was going to run a few more tests to see what came up.  I had no idea what this even meant and Dr. Google wasn’t much help.  The results came back at 2000+ GAD antibodies.  The endocrinologist just said as he threw the blood test reading in the bin ‘Yep, you’re going to be Type 1 diabetic pretty soon.’ and that was that. 

After my daughter was born I had a few months where my blood sugars were pretty stable but slowly creeping up in the mornings.  I knew what was coming but kept my head firmly in the sand until I couldn’t ignore it anymore.  All of the diabetes symptoms were showing their ugly head; totally exhausted, constantly needing to pee (it made pregnancy seem easy in this regard!), major thirst, and overall feeling horrible.  I went to my GP who told me I was a Type 2 diabetic and gave me all sorts of lifestyle and nutrition tips. 

No matter how I tried to explain to him I knew it was Type 1 he was sure it was Type 2 and sent me on my way.  A day or two after this diagnosis I knew I was in trouble.  My blood sugars were at 29.4 and I felt awful.  Since I already knew this diagnosis was wrong I was lucky enough to be able to explain once again to my GP that it was Type 1 and I had expected it, I insisted on a referral to an endocrinologist and was beyond lucky to get an appointment within days.  The endocrinologist saw my blood results and put me straight onto insulin there and then.  He said I was lucky I knew what to expect or I’d have been very quickly admitted to hospital.

He told me that had I not been pregnant I’d never have known I was GAD positive and probably would have ended up with DKA in hospital so, in effect, my daughter saved my life.

A diagnosis of T1 Diabetes with a 10-month-old baby has been a rollercoaster, not to mention as a personal trainer I’m used to exercising regularly and eating well however now I need to relearn everything! It’s got positives and negatives but overall it’s an overwhelming addition to a pretty overwhelming time.  I’ve been so pleasantly surprised to find the online Diabetes community, I’ve learned more from other people’s daily experiences than from anywhere else and it’s a helpful and supportive environment. 

All in all, it’s like being a child again and having it all to learn.  I’m ok with that though, T1 Diabetes is tough but I’m tougher.

Jenny, @jen_dreaming_of_sunshine
A new member of the T1 diabetes club, Irish, new mum, travel fanatic and overall good egg. .

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