Friday, September 11, 2015, the day the whole world commemorated the 9/11 attacks, was the day my world stood still for a moment. That Friday morning, my doctor told me that I have type 1 diabetes and that I would have to inject insulin several times a day for the rest of my life. She immediately sent me to the hospital because I had to start injecting insulin immediately.
Let's return to just under a month before that date.
In August I started to notice that I had lost some weight. I remember very proudly sending a photo to my sister: I was able to wear a skirt from when I was 19 (I was 29 at the time)! Looking back, I don't understand why I didn't realize sooner that this wasn't normal, but at the time I didn't ask myself too many questions. I was actively preparing the trade shows and showrooms at work and I thought that was the reason.
Extreme thirst and blurred vision
I was also very thirsty that month, I used to drink too little water and I hardly ever felt thirsty. People laughed that I was finally 'normal' and drinking more water.
No further attention was paid to it until I went to the Maison & Objet fair in Paris for work in September. During trade fair days you don't eat the most varied meals throughout the day, especially when it was busy at the stand I would just put a Chocotoff in my mouth or drink some coke, not knowing of course that this would cause extra thirst.
While walking around the corridors I noticed that I could no longer read the stand numbers, so I thought I'd better make an appointment with the ophthalmologist to have my glasses adjusted, but otherwise I didn't pay any attention to it.
The night before the fair ended we went to an Italian restaurant and I ate a large plate of pasta. That night I woke up at 3am feeling the thirstiest I had ever been. I ran out of water in my room so I went to reception to buy a large bottle of water. Once back in my room, it took me a good minute to finish that bottle of water and my thirst was still there. I went back downstairs to get another bottle... And then another. The man at the front desk frowned, but I was still thirsty. After drinking 3 liters of water and still feeling thirsty, I realized something was wrong.
That evening, for the first time, I googled all the “symptoms” I had experienced over the past month, and type 1 diabetes came up as the answer.
Start of the treatment
On Tuesday evening I drove home from Paris after the fair and on Wednesday morning I sat at the doctor's office to explain my symptoms. I had fasting blood drawn and the follow-up was Friday September 11th.
When I arrived at the doctor that Friday morning, I was immediately diagnosed. The doctor had waited until I was there to call a very good endocrinologist and ask if I could come through immediately.
During the car ride to the hospital in Waregem, many things went through my head. What the hell did I do to get this? What did I eat? Is it because I didn't have the healthiest eating habits during my student days in Ghent (which was years ago). Will I still be able to have children? Am I going to grow old?
I remember so well that I was waiting in the waiting room among all the older people and crying. When I was allowed to see the endocrinologist, the first thing she said was "you didn't do or eat anything that gave you this, this just 'fell' on you." And there I already had 1 answer to the questions that were running through my head.
I spent the rest of the day in the hospital and received a huge amount of information from my diabetes nurse. I learned how to inject insulin, how to measure my sugar level, how to count carbohydrates...
That day was the start of my new life, with type 1 diabetes.