It started three weeks ago. I was sitting at my desk at work and was overcome with a feeling of dizziness, lightheadedness, and a terrible headache. I know what you’re thinking but no, it was not low blood sugar. My symptoms continued and progressed for the next few days.
I went to see the doctor a few days in because I knew something was wrong. Getting a good look-over, answering questions, letting them take some blood, and then went on my way with a prescription for oral steroids and antibiotics; something to throw at this medical mystery since they had no idea what was wrong with me.
I saw my endo a couple of days later for my 3-month follow-up. She reported the same news she has reported for years: A1c was 6.7 (seriously, I have been stuck at the number for years with little to no fluctuation), feet look good, heart sounds great… you know the drill.
I shared my new symptoms with my endo and she didn’t have anything to offer other than that I might be dehydrated. I drink a lot of water so I knew that was not the case. While I disagreed with her advice, I went ahead and accepted it and left resolving to drink a little more.
Of course there was no change in my symptoms and I was at a point where I had had to leave work a few times. The only way I felt okay was if I way lying on my sofa or in my bed. Unfortunately, sofas and beds are not cohesive to the role of a wife and mother.
Racking my brain trying to figure out what could be wrong with me, I remembered that I had had a large lunch the day before and immediately felt tired, dizzy, lightheaded, and nauseous. In thinking about what could have caused that, I came to the conclusion of either food allergy or post-prandial hypotension (a drop in blood pressure after eating). I know those may seem like fancy words and random knowledge to have, but I have a medical background.
Disclaimer: Please know that I am not one of “those” people that freaks out about every ailment. I do not make a habit of trying to diagnose my problems. I took the appropriate channels for a diagnosis and did not receive one. I am the kind of person that doesn’t realize she’s sick until her fever is 102, and also the kind of person that breaks two toes at work one morning, still finishing the day on my feet. When I say that something is not right with me, rest assured that something is not right.
The food allergy was ruled out mainly because I don’t believe I have one. I was left to figure out what might be the cause of this supposed post-prandial hypotension and my conclusion was less than ideal.
We all know about diabetes complications and as diabetics, we likely expect we will meet them one day. Though it is grim, I have always imagined complications as a wrinkled hand with long, bony fingers reaching out to touch me, but never quite able to reach me. But, I have always known that one day the hand will reach me.
In life, we feel fine up until the exact moment we no longer feel fine. Whether it is the first swallow that reveals a sore throat, the first wave of nausea that reveals a stomach bug, or the day you’re sitting at your desk and feel dizzy – there is always the defining moment when you know something has changed.
My conclusion was that I may be showing symptoms and autonomic neuropathy. It may seem silly to automatically jump to a diabetes complication, but I was looking at the facts. My facts are that two doctors couldn’t find anything wrong with me and that I have had diabetes for 23 years. I have maintained reasonable control the past 23 years (with the exception of some rocky teenage years), but I believe that sometimes it’s more about the duration of the disease and how hard it is on your body, regardless of how well you care for yourself.
I emailed my endo and shared my thoughts with her. She said that it is possible but unlikely, given my age and that I have maintained my level of control for so long. She said that I can try eating smaller meals to see if it helps with my suggested post-prandial hypotension. She also encouraged me to drink more water.
I have taken her advice and I do feel somewhat better, though I am still struggling with dizziness. Do I think I have a diabetes complication? I have no idea. Normally, I have a gut feeling about things and this time I fell nothing. Do I feel nothing because it is nothing, or do I feel nothing because I am afraid that I might be right? I do not want to wish my idea upon myself, but I also think it shouldn’t be ruled out.
So here I am. Has the hand finally reached me? Time will tell.