I’m Peter Lucas – co-founder and CEO at Hedia. My father has type 1 diabetes. He was diagnosed when he was 27 years old and the father to three boys – including 9-year-old me. I remember asking him not long after he was diagnosed with diabetes, what he would do if he could wake up without diabetes. His answer still recons with me almost 30 years later: “I would eat a lagkage!” (which is a Danish layer cake).
Just before he was diagnosed I remember he lost a lot of weight, he drank water constantly and one day out of nowhere – diabetes was a part of his and our lives. That included sometimes waking him up in the morning before I went to school – basically to save his life. Because he worked nights, he would sometimes fall asleep after taking his insulin but before eating early in the morning when he got home, which could send him into insulin shock and in worst case kill him.
It also included all the fear and anxiety that came with that.
My own Diabetes Diagnosis
Fast forward to the summer of 2010. I was 27 years old, self-employed with a couple of different businesses, a sweet girlfriend – life was good! Chaotic and hectic, but good and just how I liked it. This was a really nice time when I look back on it. But all of a sudden my life started to change.
I began having trouble seeing the license plates on the cars driving in front of us. I thought that I probably just needed glasses. A friend asked me if I was losing weight. I remember thinking this was strange since I was eating a lot of crappy food around that time due to stress at work. I figured maybe he needed glasses too.
Then my girlfriend and I went on a week-long vacation to Malaga with a couple of friends.
We ate and we drank. We were having a good time and after a trip like that, I would usually gain weight. But again I lost weight – enough for my blinding eyes to notice. On top of that, I had a short temper and I was cranky, which is not normal for me. These are some of the tell-tale early signs of diabetes.
After returning from the vacation, Christina (my girlfriend) and I started to joke around with the possibility that I might have diabetes. But you know. YOU don’t get a life-changing disease. YOU don’t get diagnosed with diabetes. Your neighbors do. The friend of a friend does.
What does 27 mmol/L mean? Is that high?
After some time (maybe a week, maybe a month) Christina (who was a nurse at the time) asked me, or rather told me, that I should come and visit her at work. She had the graveyard shift that night and we lived close to the hospital, so I stopped by around 11.30PM.
We went into the nurse break room and she pricked my finger. I wasn’t fully concentrated, to be honest. I thought that it was a waste of time until I saw an expression on Christina’s face that I had never seen before.
She showed me the glucometer and it showed 27,3 mmol/L. I didn’t understand what that meant, but she did.
Christina said, as soft and full of love that she could, that she thought that I had diabetes. I immediately replied that it must have been a miscalculation and that under no circumstances did I have diabetes. However, Christina was already at work at the hospital and started the necessary procedures. She called the doctor at the emergency room at a different hospital and passed the phone to me.
I will never forget the words he said and the way in which he said it:
“27,3 mmol/L Peter, you have diabetes!”
No emotions in his voice, no beating around the bush, no nothing – only the stone cold message: Diabetes.
If you’re like me and have no clue how he could be that sure, here’s a picture to help you interpret the number:
At that time I was in shock – I started crying hysterically. I was diagnosed with diabetes! I didn’t know what was up and what was down. Christina got my father on the phone.
Diagnosed with Diabetes? Your life will Almost get back to Normal
The next conversation is a bit blurry. I only remember three things about it. My father being really sad, and him saying “don’t do anything stupid now”. My parents live on the other side of Denmark – so they couldn’t be there at this critical moment, but they told me that my life would be 95% of what it was before.
After talking about diabetes, and with a hospital appointment booked for the following day, I was sent back home to our apartment. Alone. Christina had to stay on her graveyard shift.
That night changed my life forever, and I’m looking forward to sharing more of my diabetic story with you. This was the part about when I had just been diagnosed with diabetes. There is much more to come – including some nerve-racking stories from the hospitalisation, but I won’t go into that in this post.
I would love to hear your story too. How did you find out that you had diabetes? Please share it in the comments below if you feel comfortable!
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