I’m writing this as an update to what’s been going on lately. I don’t know how many of you follow me on Twitter (@vanessatyl), but if you do, I guess you must be curious about the very emotional tweets I’ve been posting. I haven’t had the time to blog and I feel like I don’t really have anyone to talk to about this particular issue, hence the tweeting. Sure, I can talk to friends and family, but all I expect is the usual “it’s okay”, “don’t worry too much”, etc. It’s such a personal thing; I don’t think anyone can actually understand enough the emotional turmoil I’ve been through the past 5 days.
Honestly, I don’t feel like blogging right now. In fact, I haven’t felt like doing anything lately. Some might ask if it’s depression, some will just say it’s a passing phase. I really can’t put a finger to the floods of emotions that have been sweeping me away from reality. I’ve had 5 emotional breakdowns in the past 24 hours. Obviously, holding back and trying to appear strong for the 4 days prior has proven to be futile.
In my previous post, I mentioned that my boyfriend was diagnosed with diabetes. I was already shaken by the news then, even though I was still relatively clueless about the complications, treatments, symptoms, etc. that come with it. So, I guess you can imagine how it much has affected me now that I’ve grazed through hundreds of online articles on diabetes. I’m not going to deny the intensity of fear and panic welled up in me . Throbbing headaches, poor appetite, insomnia, feeling dazed, complete loss of interest in life, and even thoughts of suicide. I don’t know how long this is going to last.
My boyfriend’s maternal grandmother died of diabetes, his mum has diabetes, his sister was diagnosed with diabetes 5 years ago, and now it’s his turn. I knew about his family’s history, but the both of us never expected that he would fall victim to this disease as well.
We don’t know when the diabetes began, but now we’re thinking if it could have been sometime back (about a year ago) when he started losing a lot of weight. He did make some minor lifestyle and diet changes then, so the weight loss wasn’t something unexpected. He slowly reverted to his usual eating habits not too long after, but his weight still dropped. We noticed it, but didn’t think too much about it. While we were staying in US, we were eating a lot more of the unhealthy stuff. I gained weight by the end of the two months and surprisingly, he didn’t gain a pound. Again, we didn’t give a second thought.
All that while, the thought of diabetes never crossed our mind. His mum and sister had diabetes and we left it as that – we were so certain he was cleared.
Unfortunately, not. This is how it started:
On our second night back in Singapore, he showed me a wound he had on his leg. He wasn’t sure where it came from, but he did mention that it could have been an insect bite or perhaps the result of kicking into his bathtub. Days later, in the midst of the Chinese New Year period, he showed me his leg again. This time, the entire foot had swelled up and turned redish blue-black, and it was oozing pus and blood. He seemed so light-hearted about it, but I was concerned, very concerned. It looked really bad. I knew that all shops and clinics are usually closed during Chinese New Year, but I insisted that he had to find one. He went to visit a general practioner at Healthway the next day with his parents. No diagnosis was given, just antibiotics. I bought into his idea that it could have been an insect bite of sorts
It got better over the next week with the meds, but the day his meds had finished, the wound got worse again. His foot was swelling up and changing color like before.
He didn’t seem to worried about it, and again, I was the one insisting he have it checked. I was at his place that night, so we told his parents to take a look. His mum almost instantly got out of bed and tested his blood sugar level. Apparantly, she was all too familiar with this – his sister was in this same exact situation before she got diagnosed as diabetic. His blood sugar level was 32. A normal person averages at 4 to 5. That’s how high his reading was.
He wanted to keep it from me initially, but I saw all the panic on his mum’s face and I kind of knew something was wrong. True enough, he told me that very night that he could be diabetic.
The next day, he went to the doctor to check his leg. The doctor immediately referred him to Tan Tock Seng Hospital. It was so severe, he had to be warded that evening to bring his blood sugar level to normal. I don’t know what the doctor had told him, but resources online did say that foot sores are very common in diabetics. Worse still, high sugar levels coupled with foot sores usually result in gangrene and leg amputations.
I’m trying so hard to put myself together as I type all this.
He was supposed to only be warded for one night till they bring his blood sugar level down, figure out if he’s type 1 or 2 diabetic and determine the amount of insulin he needs. After the first night, he was told he had to stay one more day; after the second, he was told he had to stay one more; after the third, it was one more night again. I got increasingly worried with everything I read online, and the hospital stays weren’t helping to ease my worries.
He just got discharged from the hospital this morning. By God’s grace, his foot is fine and still healing. He has been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, which means he has to inject himself with the short-acting insulin at every meal and the long-acting insulin once every 24 hours. There isn’t a cure for diabetes. I can only hope that someone out there is about to find that cure. As a Christian, there is still hope in healing, but it’s going to take great faith.
I’m still only 23 and it’s been a daily struggle for me. I’m very aware of my emotional instability and problems with coping. I know I need to be strong for him, for me, for our future. God knows how hard this is for me and I’m trying my best even if it’s not good enough. I’m so tired, sometimes I just wish I’ll wake up the next day only to realize I’ve been having a horrible nightmare all along. It’s going to take some time to pick myself up again, but I’ll try. If someone like Nick Vujicic can remain so positive, I should too. For now, I’ll have to take things one step at a time.