2014-01-24 / Front Page

Micca Ervin’s Story

Discovering Type 1 Diabetes
By Micca Ervin

Four short months after Sam and I wed, I became very ill and felt miserable. I woke up every hour in the middle of the night with severe thirst and painful cramps in my legs. Even though I was drinking more than usual, I was thirstier than I have ever been in my life. I was also extremely hungry, a kind of hunger I cannot describe, as if I had been stranded on a desert island and hadn’t eaten in days. I was actually consuming over 2500 calories a day and losing weight. It sounded good in theory, but my body was shutting down inside.

I remember being so tired I couldn’t even sit up straight on the couch while watching TV with my husband. He thought I was depressed and asked me to see a therapist. I insisted I wasn’t depressed. I was just physically exhausted and could not sit up straight. I was also struggling with my balance. I fell in the shower twice within a very short period of time, and one of the times I actually fell out of the shower. My vision was also acting crazy; I had to wait 30 minutes before getting ready in the mornings because I couldn’t see to put my make up on. And then the headaches and sensitivity to light developed. I remember wearing sunglasses at work to help shield the light. I was literally falling apart, piece by piece.

After about three weeks of those symptoms, I started throwing up. I thought I had a bug, and I was dr inking orange juice ( full of sugar) thinking it would make me feel better. The next morning I woke up at 5 a.m. panting. I could not catch my breath. I woke up my husband and said, “I need to go to the hospital!” I felt like I was dying, and, come to find out, I was. My labs revealed I was in Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), and my body was so acidic my organs were beginning to fail. I’ll never forget the news from the doctor, “You’re diabetic, and we will need to keep you here for several days.” My response: “Keep me here for several days? No way, this is a mistake!”

I was in the hospital for several days on an insulin dr ip, and they would check/ draw my blood EVERY HOUR, all through the night. After being discharged, I left the hospital feeling very nervous and scared; I was not prepared. I got home and didn’t even have any insulin. I immediately broke down, and I was afraid to eat. I was afraid of going back to the hospital.

It has been more than three years since my initial diagnosis and checking my sugar levels 6- 8 times a day has become part of my regular routine. I still don’t like pricking my finger, and I still have my bad days where my thoughts feel consumed by what my blood sugar is doing. However, I am blessed by the level of suppor t I receive from my husband, family, friends, and the JDRF Palmetto chapter. I thank God every day for them and how they have supported me. Diabetes would be overwhelming without the daily (sometimes hourly) support of my husband who still wakes up in the middle of the night with me to check my levels.

I have this disease for a reason, and I believe it is to be an advocate, to help raise awareness and to be par t of the cure. With your help we can find a cure!

To learn more about the JDRF mission, research updates, local events, and much more; visit palmetto. jdrf.org. For additional information, contact the JDRF Palmetto chapter via email palmetto@jdrf.org or phone (803)782-1477. JDRF is the leading global organization funding T1D research. With your help, we can find a cure!

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