Diagnosed at the age of 25

by Michelle

I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes a couple of months before I turned 25, when there is no history of diabetes in my family. I was constantly losing weight and showed symptoms which I could not explain before being diagnosed. They were extreme thirst, frequent visits to the toilet, painful leg cramps in the middle of the night and chapped lips. It did not occur to me those were the symptoms of diabetes until the leg cramps came. They were so bad that I could still feel the pain in my calf in the day time. Thus, the visit to the doctor proved Type 1 Diabetes. My pancreas had failed to function and was no longer producing insulin on its own. But, why me? It was unexplainable. The very first blood sugar reading which I took at the clinic read so high I was referred to the A & E immediately. At the A & E, the reading was unreadable as it exceeded the maximum the device could read. After being on the drip, it dropped to approximately 25. Expectedly, I was admitted and put under observation. The normal blood sugar reading should be between 4 to 7. The nurses jabbed me two hourly with insulin to keep the blood sugar under control. True enough, the reading dropped to the normal range very quickly. After I was discharged, I was still asked to jab the Long Acting dose at 30 units a day and the Short Acting one at thrice daily, being 20 units each time, by myself. Also, I had to prick my fingers to take the Blood Sugar Reading before and after meals, 6 times a day. Just a few days after being discharged, my vision started to blur. Each time I wake up, it got worse. It got so bad I could not read anything on the computer or the paper. My mum got so worried and took me to Chinatown the weekend after I was discharged. She knew nothing about the illness, much less the cure, except for a stall in the wet market which sells Chinese herbs. There, she told the stall owner about my situation and we were referred to Chinese Sinseh, Doctor Tan. Doctor Tan was not like the usual Chinese Practitioners. He did not take my heart beat or whatsoever. He merely listened to my story and adviced the kind of food I should take. In the meantime, he prepared the herbs I needed and I was asked to go back to collect them after they are ready. Boiling the herbs were a difficult task in the beginning as we were unfamiliar with these things. In the beginning, I really could not get used to drinking those herbal medicines twice daily as they were so bitter and I felt bloated each time I finish them. However, my mum conscientiously prepared my medicine and the dosage of the insulin gradually dropped. Till date, I have stopped taking the jabs. My vision also improved tremendously just days after I started on Doctor Tan’s prescriptions. Now, my vision is as sharp as before. I read from articles that if I were to continue taking the jabs of insulin, the worse scenario would be I would have turned blind. The other complications could be kidney and liver failure. I thank god nothing like that has happened to me, so far. Till date, I am still taking the herbal medicines but have since gotten used to them. My diet is no longer like before. I take brown rice and whole meal bread in place of the usual carbohydrates normal people consume. I avoid everything sweet, and extremely oily or salty. As much as possible, I take home cooked food which my mum painstakingly prepares everyday without fail, less salt and oil, no sugar. Now, I have learned to live with it. My life is no different from other people, except for being more cautious than people about the food I eat. In many ways, diabetes keeps me far healthier than I would have been otherwise. I hope all diabetic patients’ family members would show their morale support, just like mine, so that they will never feel alone!

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