Towards the end of last year, I disappeared from blogging. To my readers, I’m sorry. This post is to address my absence and a life changing event.

Life changing event - DKA

Honestly, I’ve been avoiding writing about my absence. I wasn’t sure what to write or how to explain my disappearance from blogging. I felt stupid and ashamed of myself. But, I thought it best that I explain my temporary disappearance from blogging and update my situation. Especially since I had all these great ideas to post about towards the end of 2022, but everything came crashing down towards the end of last year.

My Diabetic Diagnosis

diabetes word image

I had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2018 and prescribed Metformin (oral diabetic medication) to control it. Everything was going well with oral medication and I was able to get my glucose levels under control, so I got lazy. Long story short, I stopped taking my medications and never continued to see my doctor. Yes, I know…really silly and dumb.

2022 Life Changing Event

Emergency hospital sign

Fast forward to January 2022 and things seemed to be going alright. But as the year went by, I found it difficult to concentrate, like brain fog and felt more and more exhausted. I would eat or drink something and immediately go to sleep. I had no energy, but chalked it up to not getting enough sleep (I have terrible sleep habits).

Looking back, I was eating terribly in 2022 – too much sugar, carbs, and started drinking Moscato wine (I previously had less than 5 glasses since 2018). I seemed to be doing ok without diabetic medication for a few years (yes, years), so I didn’t give my eating habits or diabetes much thought.

WARNING, this next paragraph might be TMI, but I hope it may help someone else not make the same mistake. If you’re squeamish, skip it.

feeling sick

Then, August hit and I felt terrible. I could barely get out of bed and had no energy. I kept thinking that I would go to the hospital if it got worse. Well, it did. I held out for 10 days before making the decision (my youngest son pushed me) that I needed to get my butt into the ER. By this time, I couldn’t even control my bladder, felt dizzy, felt dehydrated, didn’t want to eat, and had poop that looked like thick tar.

To be honest, I didn’t want to know what was wrong. I was in denial as to how serious my situation actually was. I knew something was wrong, but I had no idea how bad it was. So of course, after a bunch of tests at the ER (CT scan, blood work, exam, etc…), I was shocked to learn that I wasn’t going home and needed to be admitted to the ICU. The doctor informed me that my lab results were all out of whack (not those words, but you get it) and my A1C level (average sugar level in the blood for the past 3 months) was almost 13 (normal is 5.7 and below)!

What?! I thought…was I that sick? I was coherent, I could communicate, I wasn’t confused (just in denial), and I was able to walk to my CT scan (slowly walked). What do you mean I needed to be admitted?! And that’s when he told me about my DKA or diabetic ketoacidosis. I wasn’t in good shape and tanking fast.

What is DKA?

Note: I am not a medical doctor and in no way should this post be used to self diagnose. I’m just sharing my experience.

DKA symptom graphic

To keep it simple, DKA or diabetic ketoacidosis is a life-threatening complication of diabetes. It usually happens to people with Type 1 diabetes, but can happen to those with Type 2, like me. My body wasn’t producing enough insulin to deal with my high sugar levels and my cells couldn’t function properly. To combat this, the liver tries to break down fat to feul the body and this produces acids called ketones. According to the American Diabetes Association, too much ketones upsets the balance of the blood and can poison the body.

DKA usually happens slowly, but there are a few symptoms that I had prior to seeking help. I was tired, thirsty all the time, had frequent urination (couldn’t make it through the night without going 3x or more), fruity-smelling breath, and had brain fog. I also had uncontrolled shivers and loss of bladder functions, which isn’t listed as a symptom, but it is something I dealt with. If you have these symptoms, immediately call your doctor or go to the ER.

ICU Visit

My acutal IV bags

I’m not going to get into all the nitty gritty, but lucky for me, my reluctance to go to the hosiptal for 10 whole days didn’t do any major damage to my body. I ended up only staying for 2 1/2 days at the hospital. That being said, I should have gone sooner AND kept up with my diabetic medication and doctor visits.

The first ICU night was hard because I had so my IVs going. All the IV lines made it difficult for me go to the bathroom and I had to constantly have the nurse help me. It wasn’t fun. It was also difficult to get good sleep since I had to get my blood checked periodically. I was also put on a liquid only diet of broth, Jello, and zero sugar drinks.

On the second day, I felt good and was moved into a regular hospital room. Before my release, my blood sugar needed to be good after an insulin injection and eating two solid meals (breakfast and lunch). Thank goodness I passed with flying colors, but now instead of oral Metformin to control my diabetes, I needed insulin.

After DKA and ICU Visit

Not going to lie; the ICU visit was the swift kick in the butt that I needed to start taking my diabetes seriously. After resting for a week at home, I created a mini pantry with diabetic-friendly items for myself. I bought sugar alternatives and started making recipes from a few of my old diabetic magazines. Most importantly, I made a follow-up appointment with my doctor, who I hadn’t seen in years.

After my follow-up doctor visit, I did more labs, was sent to an endocrinologist, did a breast exam, had other womanly check-ups, and even more follow-up appointments. For almost two months after the ICU visit, I had at least one doctor or lab appointment every week to catch up on all the years I missed going to my doctor. By the time all my major appointments were done, holiday season was in full swing and I decided to just enjoy time with family.


diabetic sensor reading

This was the first time I was sent to see an endocrinologist, who is a doctor that specializes in diagnosing and treating disorders of the endocrine system (the glands and organs that make hormones). These disorders include diabetes, infertility, and thyroid, adrenal, and pituitary gland problems. Of course, I was given a stern talking to about my ICU visit and lack of diabetes control (no surprise there).

I wasn’t sure what to expect from an endocrinologist, but I did get more help in managing my diabetes than my regular doctor. My A1C went initially from 13 to 6.5 to 6.3, which is pretty amazing! I was switched from insulin vials and syringe needles to pens with nano needles and given a pretty thorough diet walkthrough with resources to review. Oh, and the best part was being put on the Libre 2 sensor. Now, I just scan my sensor with my phone and rarely ever have to prick my finger to monitor my glucose.

Note: For me to qualify for the Libre 2 sensor, I had to monitor my glucose at least 4-5 times a day with a regular glucose monitor for 3 months. To make sure I didn’t forget, I set alarms on my phone to take my glucose when I woke up, after breakfast, lunch, dinner, and before bed. This was the worst part of monitoring my glucose because I hated poking my finger 4-5 a day, but I did it to get the Libre 2 sensor. Also, during this time, I used the MySugr app to help me see my A1C average, write what I was eating, and note any other info. I made sure to print these records out from the app and bring them to my endocrinologist visit.

Life on Insulin

Insulin pen image

It’s been about 8 months since my ICU visit. I’ve been feeling so much better since taking control of my diabetes. While I still take my long-acting insulin, I have been taken off Humalog (fast-acting insulin for sugar spikes) since I don’t need it anymore. Whoo-hoo!

So what has changed? I no longer look at diabetes as restricting me from eating what I want. I’m still able to eat carbs and pretty much anything I want. I just try to eat sugar-free options if available and fewer carbs. If I do eat carbs, I try to pair them with some type of protein to help keep my glucose levels a bit more stable. For example, if I eat crackers, I pair them with cheese and sliced deli cuts. I no longer eat both spaghetti and garlic bread, but rather just garlic bread with meat sauce. For my sweet tooth, I keep sugar-free Jello in the fridge or sugar-free wafers on hand. I switched out regular sugar in marinades for sugar alternatives and use sugar alternatives whenever I can.

Hindsight is 20/20


What I wish I did differently? I wish I took my diabetic diagnosis seriously. That I had kept up with my medications and regular doctor visits. I could have avoided an extremely costly ER visit ($33,000, mostly covered by insurance) and tons of additional costs if I had been more responsible with my health. Basically, the take away lesson is to never disregard a diabetic diagnosis. It doesn’t mean I have to be restricted from everything I love to eat, but it does take a little work and a bit of effort to manage it.

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  1. I actually really needed this right now. I am a Type 2 diabetic for the past 20 years and am currently on four different medications, including 10 units of long acting insulin at night. Last year, my A1-C was up to 10.5, my highest ever. I got it down to 7.3 in three months, then it went back up to 7.7 over the holidays. I have been slowly creeping back into bad habits and your post has been a good reminder that even if I can’t see it, I am damaging myself. Good luck with your diabetes journey and I’m going to try to kick myself in the butt!!!

  2. What a scare! I’m so glad your story has a good ending young lady. It sounds like you have learned a lot. Glad you’re feeling better and back in the saddle. Take care of yourself.