The Game Tape of Missed Symptoms
Last updated: August 2023
People newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes experience missed symptoms and ignore the signs. Explaining them away as a case of a cold, stress from work, or just being unwell is very common. The attention we sometimes neglect is like Drew Brees failing to read the defense and taking a sack in the backfield.
The dangerous truth of downplaying symptoms
When certain symptoms develop, they should not be ignored. We may think it's due to bad eating habits or normal environmental attributions, for example, flu season. But blindness, neuropathy (tingling in hands and feet), amputation of limbs, comas, or even death could result from missed symptoms.
Experiencing tingling in my feet
I never thought that I would be a diabetic. Lack of attention to the signs myself became problematic. I had tingling in my feet and brushed it off, contributing it to working long hours on my feet as a photographer. This resulted in fatigued and stressed legs. So, I massaged to help and didn't know a bigger issue was around the corner.
Attributing my fatigue to lack of sleep and over-working
Diabetes can lead to things like nausea and vomiting, as well as dehydration. Before I got into professional sports photography, I was an automotive photographer. In my 7th and final year in the automotive industry, I passed out at work just thinking I was tired and didn't eat enough. Prior to that episode, I vomited and felt weak. This resulted in me ending up in the ER to find out that I suffered from dehydration and heat exhaustion.
Again, something I attributed to just being sick from lack of sleep, not eating, and throwing back sodas in over 100-degree heat. This event came with a blindside tackle of diabetes. Being hit with the diagnosis, I broke down and began to think where things got offsides. I soon found out that the countless amounts of sodas, eating from the McDonald's dollar menu, and depression, that I found where the issue came from.
This wasn't just a tired feeling, this was extreme
At the time I couldn't explain it but soon learned that a crazy amount of fatigue was another symptom of diabetes. I'm talking fatigue like I ran a full 90 minutes up and down the BBVA Dynamo soccer field with no breaks. It was tough to get going in the mornings. Ironically, it felt like I had just finished eating a full Sunday meal after church, but the fatigue was so bad that I didn't want to eat.
My high glucose levels led to weight loss
I found out that diabetics can also suffer from unexplained weight loss even while running high glucose levels. I remember when my mom visited me from Tennessee and saw me for the first time in 2 years. She panicked and was worried as to why I had lost so much weight. I mean she was used to seeing me at 420 pounds to now seeing me at a staggering 335 pounds. At that point, I told her that I had diabetes and was trying to figure everything out. She explained that it ran on BOTH sides of the family and that it didn't have to be a mood killer.
Missing the sign of excessive thrist
One of the symptoms that made my mom and I talk about diabetes was extreme thirst and frequent restroom visits. I TOTALLY missed and ignored this symptom. I worked outside taking pictures of vehicles and simply contributed the extreme thirst to "working outside" in the heat. And with the crazy amount of water and Gatorade I was drinking, I didn't notice the frequent urination. The excessive urination is what made me start jumping down memory lane like watching old football tapes.
Sprinting to the bathroom became the norm
Thinking I somehow developed a weak bladder, I ignored the fact that ALL the late-night bathroom sprints in the middle of the night were abnormal for me. It made me start tracing down when all the signs were showing. It didn't dawn on me that excessive urination led to dehydration and triggered heat exhaustion.
Despite the challenges, I stay motivated
When I think about that day in June of 2017, I get disappointed but I also feel motivated. I think about all the things that could go wrong that day. I could have gone into a diabetic coma. That day is my "Game-Day" tape as a way to keep me on my toes when stepping onto the field with diabetes.
Do you find it difficult to "eat right" and stick to a nutrition plan?