• Bekah Vander Stelt

My Diagnosis

Updated: Oct 28, 2020

You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice.

December 14, 2010 at age 15, my life was changed forever. I was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes.

I grew up with no significant health issues and always considered myself a pretty healthy person. I was raised playing sports and at age 13 began dancing for my schools dance team. I had always lived a pretty active lifestyle. But all of that changed with a blink of an eye.

Within a span of about 4 days all these random symptoms hit me. From EXTREME thirst to blurry vision, to just being completely worn out. I didn't think too much of it until my mom pulled me aside one night at church and asked me if I was eating. I was absolutely appalled and confused. WHY on earth would she ask me if I was eating??? Didn't she see me eat at home? I hadn't noticed losing weight, but at the time I also NEVER stepped on a scale. so I think we must have just kinda brushed that off. I remember laying in bed that night googling my symptoms. "What does it mean when you have extreme thirst, frequent urination, blurry vision, and are fatigued?" I am pretty sure every single one of Google's responses led me to Type One Diabetes.

In middle school my best friend had T1D and wore an insulin pump. I remember her always having to have chocolate milk before bed but that was the extent of my knowledge on the disease. Could IIIIII really have this???

I don't remember the exact timeline of everything but I remember telling my parents that I had diabetes. Neither of them believed me....in fact, my dad called me a "hypochondriac". (jokes on him ;) hahah). Neither of my parents really knew much about T1D either so they just didn't think that could be possible.

The next day at school in PE class we went bowling. I remember not being able to see the pins or the scoreboard. Like at all. Maybe I just needed glasses I thought?!? I had always had great vision so I wasn't sure what was going on. But from the 35+ water bottles overflowing my trash can, to not being able to see, to my mom asking if I was eating, something clearly wasn't right.

That same day, I was in dance 4th block in the middle of high kick practice, I felt like I was going to pass out. I told some of the girls who were beside me in the kick line that I didn't feel well, but told them not to tell the coach. I must have looked very pale because they immediately told the coach "somethings wrong with Bekah, she needs to sit down." If I remember correctly, I sat through the rest of practice but when I got home from school I told my mom I really needed to go to the doctor. My dad was out of town for work so just my mom and I went.

I remember we stopped at McDonalds and I got my favorite-a Mighty Kids Meal Chicken Nugget with a Dr.Pepper...the BEST thing for blood sugar hahahaha ;).

When I got called back, the doctor asked me what my symptoms were. After explaining he told us it was most likely Type One Diabetes but he wanted to check my blood sugar to be sure. That was the first of many, many finger pricks. My level was so high that they couldn't even get a reading and it had to be sent off somewhere else. That confirmed the diagnosis.

My mom cried. I remember telling her that I was ok. Everything would be ok. I felt pretty strong in the moment. I just wanted to tell my dad that I wasn't a hypochondriac. lol

I was immediately admitted to a room and had to stay there the next 2 or 3 nights...not positive, it was a sort of a blur. I got my blood sugar reading back and it was 857. Yes, you read that correctly. EIGHT HUNDRED AND FIFTY SEVEN. Like over 8 times the normal limit. I was told it was the second highest case they had ever seen. Talk about scary. I was told multiple times I am very lucky that I wasn't in a coma. Somehow I was still functioning almost perfectly normal.

The next couple days in the hospital I was pumped with lots of fluids and insulin, had my fingers pricked 5-8 times a day, and was given insulin shots in my stomach and arms. A dietitian came in a briefly taught me how to count carbs. She used some exchange list and I really never understood what she was talking about. She basically said eat whatever you want just make sure to take insulin to cover your carbs. I really don't feel like I was given the proper knowledge before being sent home. As soon as I was able to give myself a shot they allowed me to go home.

From that day on my world was changed. Type One Diabetes basically became my life. Every single thing required me to check my blood sugar. At all times of the day it was on my mind. Was I ok? Did I take too much insulin? Did I take enough? It was a constant battle.

I had SO many people who made me feel very loved loved during my time spent at the hospital and weeks after my diagnosis. Many friends visited, sent cards and balloons, wrote on my facebook wall, called/texted, and just let me know they loved me and were there for me. I don't think I have ever thanked those people. At the time I was beyond embarrassed and didn't want anyone to know I had diabetes. I was worried what they would think....but that's for another blog post!

Thanks for reading my diagnosis story. I would love you to leave comments!

  1. what age were you diagnosed?

  2. what were your major symptoms?

  3. how did you feel when you first heard the news?

PS. I really wish I could share some pictures with you from my time in the hospital....but unfortunately I kept it so private. I didn't want pictures because I was so embarrassed.. :/

so here's some screenshots of a few of the sweet messages I received. It takes a village.

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