Insulin-dependent, non insulin-dependent. Type 1, Type 2, Type 1.5. Juvenile Diabetes. Gestational diabetes.
I can’t be a Type 1 diabetic because I wasn’t diagnosed until adulthood.
I can’t be a Type 2 diabetic, because my physical body has all the traits of a Type 1 diabetic.
I can’t be a Juvenile Diabetic, because, again, I was diagnosed after puberty.
I can’t be a Gestational Diabetic because I’ve never (no offense to moms everywhere, but thank god) been pregnant.
So the only thing that’s left is Type 1.5. Which someone asked me if I was, because they couldn’t believe I could only be on Lantus, and still be eating.
But according to everything I’ve read, I can’t be a Type 1.5 diabetic because of the way my diabetes was diagnosed and what my situation was when it was diagnosed.
From other bloggers and from some medical Web sites, I’ve read that Type 1.5 diabetics usually can control their sugars with oral medications for several months, and in cases, even a year or longer. Then the oral medications stop being effective and they move to insulin.
Part of me wishes I could be labeled as a Type 1.5, because then I would have had some sort of adjustment period, some amount of time to get used to the idea of being diabetic, time to learn the math of carb counting, time to gear up the courage to stick myself with a needle every day. Time to research, examine, talk to people, figure things out. But I didn’t have time.
One week, I felt a little tired. The next week, I couldn’t get enough to drink, I was peeing all the time and I felt completely worn down. The next week, I was in the ICU with ketoacidosis and an insulin drip. The next week I was home, shooting up insulin and throwing away every scrap of food that had sugar in it (Because isn’t that what all newly diagnosed diabetics do? Throw away sugar because they haven’t figured out yet that yes, you can still eat a cookie?)
After the non-stop retching and vomiting finally stopped two days after my admission to the hospital, after I was finally aware enough of my surroundings to complete a sentence as well as understand one, I was given a crash-course in how to be a diabetic. I was taught how to give myself a shot by a diabetes educator who stopped by my hospital room for an hour and showed me how to work a syringe by demonstrating on a sponge ball. I was taught how to carb count by a dietician who stopped by my room for an hour and walked me through it using plastic steaks and mashed potatoes to demonstrate serving size. They were both very nice and gave me a ton of brochures and pamphlets and charts to take home.
I’ve never felt so overwhelmed, so under-educated, so unprepared for anything in my life.
I went online to see what I could find out, and, unfortunately, “blogging” was still a funny word to most people and the only “real-people” information I could find were horror stories written in the comments sections of medical Web sites. I vowed not to do any online research anymore (luckily both I and the World Wide Web have changed) and resorted to putting an ad in the paper for a Diabetes Mentor. I just wanted to talk to someone who knew what I was going through, and who could give me advice about how they handled it. No one answered and I knew I was on my own. I figured out what I had to figure out, asked questions and did a lot of trial and error.
So the label thing. What type of diabetic am I? I’m the kind who requires insulin to stay alive, counts carbs and pokes my body for blood multiple times a day. I call myself a Type 1 diabetic because that’s what my body tells the doctors I am, and that’s how I’m treated.
I have big issues with people confusing Type 1 and Type 2 (as always, more later), but adding the 1.5 into the mix just seems to make things more confusing.
I know research is important in looking for a cure for diabetes, but maybe, just maybe, someone—a doctor, a scientist, a chemist, an inventor—can take a break from trying to produce 1.5, 1.6, 1.7 labels and focus on making them all go away.
As always, more later.