Sabrina’s T1D Diagnosis Story: ‘A Positive Side Exists…Now I Share My Symptoms’
I often got sick when I was little. Still, I was an extremely active child—I could have a fever and still do pirouettes while being chased with the thermometer. However, one day, I had an infection that forced me to bed. After this infection, my mom noticed strange symptoms.
A surprising type 1 diabetes diagnosis
I lost weight rapidly, felt nauseated, and was so tired that I no longer felt like running around with my parents. They thought I might still be sick and did lab tests on me. To our surprise, my blood glucose levels were very high.
The following weeks were confusing—we traveled to different cities and saw other doctors. We were looking for someone to explain what was happening to me because diabetes in children was unusual. Finally, one day they confirmed that I did have diabetes and that my life would take a 180-degree turn. I did not go through diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) because my parents acted quickly and were insistent.
I was eight, so my parents grieved my diabetes diagnosis instead of me. Every cloud has a silver lining—we found the doctor who opened our eyes. We realized that my living with diabetes did not mean we had to suffer.
Since my body was no longer producing insulin on its own, I would have to check my glucose and take insulin several times every day. I could still play sports, laugh with my friends, eat my peanut butter or hazelnut spread sandwiches at recess, have cake on my birthday, and even eat cookies at Christmas. My life did not end there—I just had to learn to manage it by including my diabetes.
Early years with type 1 diabetes
The real problem began in my adolescence when I finally faced my condition. I had so many fights with my mom because I refused to go to the doctor, take my glucose meter when I went out, or deal with high or low glucose levels when I just wanted to play soccer. It took me a long time to snap out of it, and it happened because I did not feel well.
Having high blood sugar levels all the time is not only risky, but it also alters your physical and emotional states. I was angry, frustrated, tired, thirsty, and fiercely hungry. I felt guilty and depressed for wasting my parents’ money on my health.
I understand that the support around you is crucial, but if you do not participate in your care, there is no future and not even a present to enjoy. I changed my habits gradually and with difficulty, appreciating my health and assimilating that diabetes was not my fault but rather my responsibility.
Having diabetes is a long road full of obstacles, but each step is worth it because your well-being is the most important. When you accept diabetes as part of your life, your world changes.
It’s important not to feed disappointment. We all have good and bad days without knowing why—that’s normal for people with and without diabetes. You are not alone; there is always someone out there who is willing to help you. Remember, a positive side exists, even with our most significant challenges.
Sharing the signs, 18 years later
Looking back, I am very grateful that my mom noticed my symptoms in time and that she decided to act on them. Even if she did not know that they were signs of diabetes, she knew that they were not typical. Thanks to her, I did not experience DKA like many people do when diagnosed. Now, I share the symptoms I experienced with others whenever I can. We can save a lot of lives by simply sharing this information.