I Was Misdiagnosed with Type 2

One man’s experience with the uncertainty of a later-in-life Type 1 diagnosis.

Approaching 50, I found myself 70 pounds overweight and always exhausted. I felt a change was due as I celebrated my 49th birthday.

My wife purchased an elliptical machine for my birthday and I surprised her by actually using it. The first couple of weeks started okay, but then I started to feel worse. The weight started to come off, and then it really started to come off. I was losing five pounds a day and feeling terrible. There was the classic thirst, lethargy, and frequent night urination, but I explained it away. I kept telling myself it was my age or that I needed to slow down, but I was feeling all the energy flow away from my body.

After cutting the lawn one day, all I wanted to do was lay down upon it. Instead, I went inside the house and told my wife, “Something is wrong. I need to see a doctor.”

I had my blood drawn. The first indication that I was in trouble was the “wow” that escaped the nurse’s lips. I was in the mid 300’s with an A1C at 10.5. Those numbers at the time meant nothing to me. Due to my age, lifestyle, and ethnicity (Hispanic), it was likely that I had developed Type 2 diabetes. I was given a prescription of Metformin, diet, and exercise.

During the months that followed, I was determined to “reverse” my condition. I attended diabetes education classes at the local hospital and continued the diet and exercise program I had started earlier. My blood glucose levels didn’t improve.

Further testing was ordered, and then an endocrinologist visit. Finally, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. I had to go back and relearn everything about diabetes over again. I found myself in a state of disbelief, if not complete denial. Soon I felt the oppressive weight of the diagnosis. I knew this was something I would never be able to reverse, and I thought about what my diagnosis would mean for my family.

It was lucky that I had already determined to make a lifestyle change when all this happened. After the initial shock wore off, I rededicated myself to managing my diabetes and my health. I continued a good diet and kept up a vigorous exercise routine. I’ve even signed up for my first 70.3-mile Ironman triathlon.

It’s good to have the right label for what ails me, but I still know it’s up to me to do all I can to stay healthy with my diabetes, no matter the number.

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Martin Gonzalez is from the Indianapolis area, where he enjoys family, cooking, camping and running.