I was diagnosed with both diabetes & reactive hypoglycaemia in 2016. It was a bit of a shock to the system and of course when I was first told felt upset & deflated naturally, but a part of me didn’t seem surprised. I guess I had felt bad for so long that I was just grateful/relieved for an answer instead of being fobbed off or misdiagnosed which is what had happened previously. I went through about 4 or 5 doctors before finding one which got the ball rolling and led me to see the diabetes nurse. Although it did take me to present him with some meter readings from a glucose meter that I’d bought as I realised after time that with some of the turns I was getting I would feel better upon eating food. I was told she was one of the top diabetes nurses and after seeing her and having a good chat and assessment with her she listened to what I had to say and seemed to establish what the problem was. Diabetes type 2 & reactive hypoglycaemia. For those that don’t know diabetes type 2 is as described on the diabetes.org.uk website as ‘a serious, lifelong condition where your blood glucose level is too high. This is because your body doesn’t make enough of a hormone called insulin, or the insulin doesn’t work properly.’ and reactive hypoglycaemia is a term that describes a ‘hypoglycaemic’ period after eating. Essentially, the levels of glucose in the blood drop sometime due to eating a meal which produces a host of unpleasant symptoms. It involves a lot of careful diet management.
I was as I mentioned previously relieved to know what the problem was, and was nice to know that I was on the right track, not being fobbed off, misdiagnosed etc. It gave me some much-needed answers and a chance to stop all the turns and how unwell I’d been feeling. Obviously by this point I was getting worse and worse and just feeling unwell so much which ended up in sickness at work which of course was really inconvenient.
I started to feel strange going back some years ago, more noticeably I’d say around maybe 2012 type time but to be honest I knew something wasn’t quite right for a while. I suffered at times with memory lapses, sometimes poor concentration, and I would often zone out and people would ask if I was ok or would be the other way around where I would get people asking If I was paying attention or I wasn’t listening etc. I went to a doctor in around 2010 and again saw someone after going through several doctors and after various tests & consultations I was diagnosed with depressive disorder which again was a relief, but I wasn’t really surprised. I knew I suffered with bouts of depression over the years, It was just something that I had suffered with so long for I guess I just got used to it and in a way didn’t know any better if that makes sense. I have anxiety too so sometimes some of the stuff I’d be experiencing over the time I just put it down to anxiety as you can zone out etc. sometimes with them. As with a lot of health conditions obviously if they don’t get treated they do get worse which of course I had no idea about regarding depression, and it was just something that gradually crept up on me and did get worse. I was so bad one Winter I couldn’t function, was bed ridden etc. which is when I realised just how bad it had got so as soon as I was able to get out I went to the docs who sent me to get assessed by the ‘big white chief’ mental health nurse who then confirmed that I did in fact suffer with this. I was put on anti-depressants called sertraline which were brilliant and seemed to help tremendously. I remember saying it was like someone had given me a wonder pill which seemed to put me back together again. I know that anti-depressants aren’t for everyone, but I can honestly say that they really helped me.
At my worst at some point with the diabetes/reactive hypoglycaemia I was exhausted, crying, feeling sick, couldn’t think straight, had no energy, couldn’t remember things, felt ill frequently, function & also experienced blurred vision at times which was pretty scary. And it made my immune system pretty low so I kept on catching things which was a nightmare. Thank God I saw this woman who was one of the top diabetes nurses who established what exactly it was that was wrong with me and sorted me out. We talked about & established that reactive hypoglycemia would have started years ago and would have gradually crept up on me and become more noticeable over time as that is what can happen with it, and when I look back it all make sense. The at times unclear thinking, feeling of extreme hunger, inability to concentrate sometimes, getting tired, the simple things that sometimes would go from simple to rocket science all because of my blood sugar dropping. She also explained that Diabetes & reactive hypoglycaemia can contribute to depression. And not to mention the appetite for sweet things. I always had a sweet tooth, and one of the things RH does which is weird is it makes you crave sugar as if your body needs it? It’s funny because since changing my diet and with tablets called metaformin I don’t really have an appetite for it anymore, it’s a weird one is reactive hypoglycaemia. But I’m glad I got it all sorted. I’ve accepted that these things are a part of my life now and they’re all manageable. I just make sure that I eat healthy, eat when I get sugar lows, 3 meals a day and snacks, take my medication and look after myself and I can still have a normal life. Yeah, it’s annoying sometimes having to go off and take a tablet and get something to eat sometimes, having to say no to certain foods but it’s all something that you get used to and It’s gotten so much better over time. And the great thing about diabetes & RH is that I can reverse them. Something else that was picked up on was a thyroid problem, but It’s not quite far gone enough to do anything for it yet. But if it does get worse they can give me something for it which is great, and it too is reversible as long as you do all the right things.
One of the things I’ve found difficult since being diagnosed and having these conditions is obviously adapting to them and getting used to them naturally, but also the stigma the goes with it. The attitude from and dealing with people who don’t quite get it or understand it and treat you. I felt at times that I was almost having to explain the conditions from scratch sort of thing every time someone would question why I was having a hypo, why I was having to go off & eat something, had asked them to repeat something etc. And almost as if I was having to justify myself If that makes sense. It was hard at first, but to be honest when I look at myself and other people, there are people who have it a lot worse. To be honest the guilt of not being able to work for a while probably affected me more than the latter. I was reading a story about an ex pop star recently and his daughter who suffers from severe autism, and the way she is treated by people and the stigma, it’s just unbelievable. We’re talking grown adults as well as children. And you know when I think of what other people go through, it just makes me go you ‘You know what? So what.’ Because it’s nothing compared to what some people go through. And as time has passed on the condition has got better and continues to do so I get a lot less of peoples’ ignorance as the conditions have gotten a lot better since when I was first diagnosed, and I have just accepted that if people don’t have or have been through certain things, then they just won’t get it. I think that’s It’s a shame that society are as a rule ignorant to this sort of thing, especially the people who suffer the most with this. But you know what? People have got it a lot worse. And it could be worse. I consider myself quite lucky really. I can still have a good future, life & career it just means extra care to look after myself and some adjustments with diet etc. but compared to what some people go through, I think I’m pretty darn lucky.