I am a woman of faith. I believe in miracles. I pray and know that, God hears my prayers. These things I know well, but when I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes my faith was impacted.
The story of my diabetes diagnosis
In January 2011, I started experiencing a combination of strange symptoms. First, my vision became blurred. Next, I started urinating a lot, roughly every 10-20 minutes and my thirst intensified. Then, I started getting closer to my weight loss goal in lightning speed. I lost one pound every day for 10 days. Lastly, I felt extremely exhausted. I put up with these symptoms for a few weeks before scheduling an appointment with a physician. My doctor advised that I consume sports drinks because my symptoms indicated imbalanced electrolytes. I took my physician’s advice, but within a few days my symptoms multiplied. A week after that visit, I passed out unconscious in my bathtub.
On February 15, 2011, I woke up after being unconscious, packed a duffle bag, and left my house determined to find answers before returning home. I returned to my primary care physician and explained that the sports drinks didn’t solve anything, they made matters worse. She checked my glucose. The meter read “HI.” My physician abruptly left the room and her nurse whispered, “that’s not a good thing.” I started praying and asking God to help me because I was dying and didn’t know what was killing me. I was misdiagnosed and my life was on the line.
I phoned the best nurse I know, my mom. I informed her what the nurse said and my mother told me to leave immediately and go to the nearest hospital. When my physician returned with a needle, I told her that I needed to go to the ER. She insisted that I wasn’t in an emergency at that I need to get the injection she had returned with and sign a waiver stating that if I chose to go to the ER that I did so against her advice. I signed the form, stood up to walk away and collapsed.
A co-worker drove me from the office to the hospital. On the way there, my co-worker asked what was wrong with me because I kept going in and out of consciousness. I told her that I was dying and didn’t know why. I needed to get to the hospital to see if they knew. I was undiagnosed and my life was on the line.
Within a few minutes I had a diagnosis—Diabetes. Hearing the words, “you have diabetes” for the first time was frightening. I started screaming, “I’m gonna die. I’m gonna die.” My co-worker calmed me down by telling me that her father had diabetes and he was living. Everything moved quickly after the triage nurse saw 593 on her glucometer. I was rushed into a backroom STAT, given an IV of insulin, and remained in the hospital for six days.
Diabetes being incurable conflicted with my faith
I thanked God for giving me the answer to my questions about my mystery symptoms. But why did it have to be diabetes, I thought? I knew nothing about diabetes then. I did know God is a healer though. Naturally, I felt that this too shall pass. About three days into my hospital visit, I read that there is no cure for diabetes. That the injections I was getting around the clock would not cure me and that when I got discharged, diabetes would be coming home with me. Initially, I felt that diabetes being incurable conflicted with my faith. I wanted healing and I wanted it now.
When I felt disappointment rise and my faith began to falter as I processed the news that diabetes is a life sentence, I called my grandmother and shared my feelings with her. We talked about how being cured is the pinnacle, but that living to see another day is also a miracle. And although God has yet to provide mankind with a cure, He has provided ways to help me live with diabetes. I needed to hear those words. Living with type 2 diabetes is difficult because it affects every area of my life, even my spirituality. Yes, my faith was impacted by the diagnosis, but I no longer see diabetes as conflicting with my faith. Now, my faith is stronger because I get to witness all the wonderful possibilities available to me in the midst of living with type 2 diabetes.