Throughout my career as a healthcare provider, or even as young as I can remember, my only heart’s desire was to have the spirit of a servant’s heart (being helpful and compassionate to a person no matter their circumstances). Not knowing where this journey would take me, many times it led me to the deepest and darkest places of my own heart that I knew little about. Seeing and experiencing some of those dark and isolated places within myself was frightening. There were moments when the light within myself was barely visible. It was more like a match light at the end of the passage, only to realise it was me who was the furthest away from the light, rather than the light being so small and minute.
This is how I have felt over the past few weeks since being diagnosed with a new type of diabetes, knowing what I thought I once knew now had to be retaught or restructured.
Being diagnosed with any disease can be overwhelming. Not only is it overwhelming for the person receiving the news, but also for the family. It takes a toll mentally, physically, spiritually, and socially trying to figure out what to do next. Often there is no clear picture or directions that gives you a set outline. You either dig for the information online or start to look for other resources, such as by word of mouth or keep asking until the questions you are wanting are answered. I have learned through this process of being a diabetic that those fears, concerns, doubts, and worries can be manifested externally. Until most recently, I thought anxiety was something that anyone can overcome. However, when it happens to you, that view through the glass of anxiety is quite different.
When I found out I had a pseudo cyst in my pancreas, and later explained the discomfort I was feeling in my abdomen was caused from the onset of pancreatitis, my fears from seven years prior fell on me. Again. During the year of my initial onset of pancreatitis was one of the worst times of my life and for my wife as well. I was constantly in and out of hospitals either from dehydration or for pain management because the pancreatitis was placing so much pain on my body I needed some relief. It was equally challenging for my wife knowing she wanted to do something, but there was nothing she could do. I could see the stress in her eyes that year. I could see her fears or how tired she felt when she did not know I was looking. There were moments I would see or hear her cry because I was having to go through this. The reason I'm mentioning what I saw from my wife is we forget that those who love us suffer with us through the process of living with any illness. It is they who too suffer. It is they who hold our hands or comfort us when we are at our weakest. It is they who are at the bedside praying to God to bargain or beg for healing of our bodies. It is they who will be stand fast when others may leave. At the end of the day it is those who cherish the moments with you and who love you will stand by you. This is what I saw during my moments of illness.
The memories of the year I was initially diagnosed with gallstone pancreatitis was a tough year. As I was looking back on seven years of medical history I had obtained from various hospital facilities I had been treated at, my mind kept on rushing. It was rushing to see what had I missed? What did the doctor’s miss? Then the memories and anger hit. The more I continued to look over my medical history, the angrier I became. I became angry thinking my issue with pancreatitis was resolved and it wasn’t. Later I had to be placed on antidepressants to help me mentally relax because dealing with anxiety feels like you are losing your mind and you are no longer in control of your body or your mind.
I have been fortunate over the past few years being in the care of a primary care physician whom I know I can trust. It has taken many years to find such a person who has an interest in my health. I can be open and honest with him without feeling I am being judged. He knows I will have good and bad months when my A1C’s (HbA1c) are not necessarily perfect. He knows I will continue to improve on what he advises.
It is rare to find a physician who will say 'I will do anything for you, if you need anything'. Not only did he say it, but he showed it. I cannot thank my primary care doctor and his staff enough for answering my questions when I send emails. Also, I am being treated by a GI specialist (gastrointestinal) who I will be following up with every few years to be sure the pancreas is staying as healthy as it can.
“The Unknown” for me since being diagnosed with a new type of diabetes is called pancreatogenic diabetes or Type 3c. With very little research on this type of diabetes, this is now my new unknown.