We ask featured guests to describe their connection to diabetes and the diagnosis experience, what’s working for them/not working for them, what they want people to know about diabetes, and what their message to the world is. With that in mind, we’re thrilled to introduce Blanca. Enjoy!
Blanca’s story – why a correct diagnosis is so important
My name is Blanca, I’m 25 years old, and I have been living with LADA since November 16th, 2016. However, I have only been aware of this diagnosis since May 1st, 2018. You might wonder why I say it like this and that is because, on the first date I mentioned, I was misdiagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
Around the time of my original diagnosis, I was feeling fatigued all the time, short of breath, I was waking up 7 times a night to pee (yep, I counted them), and I was thirsty all the time. These were the usual symptoms of having diabetes. At the doctor’s office, I was told I could either have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, the doctor did not mention any other types of diabetes. After some testing, I was finally diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and I remember my doctor saying “I don’t know why you have type 2”.
Feeling better, but…
I was prescribed Metformin and it started working, my blood sugar levels were much better for a few months but then everything started getting out of control. After investigating a lot about type 1 and LADA on my own, I decided to go to the endocrinologist and push for more testing. It was at this time that I finally found out I have LADA which stands for Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults. LADA is a kind of type 1 diabetes that develops in adults and is commonly accompanied by insulin resistance and higher levels of c-peptides than kids diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
I stopped taking metformin and started taking insulin, and I have to tell you, I loved it. I still have to pay close attention to what I eat but I am not limited like I was before. I have to count carbs but I do not have to exclude them from my diet. I don’t love the part where I have to inject myself and be around needles all the time, but it has made my life better and I don’t feel sick all the time anymore. I might go high or low sometimes, but it is something I can fix in a short period of time, not like before when I could spend days with a high blood sugar. One thing I really need to avoid is bolusing right before eating because it makes me spike and then I have to correct and I am more prone to go low. Pre-bolusing 15 min before eating is a must, it just takes a little bit to get used to actually doing it.
I would like for more people, and especially doctors, to know that type one diabetes (autoimmune attack to the beta cells in your pancreas) can happen at ANY age because approximately 50 percent of people with LADA are misdiagnosed. These people think they are doing something wrong because their blood sugar levels won’t come down, the reality is, it is not their fault and there is nothing these people did to get diabetes or anything they can do, apart from using insulin correctly, to avoid having high blood sugars.
Also, I would like to end the stigma that we cannot eat carbohydrates or sweets, people without diabetes might not see it this way but it feels bad and it can hurt when people are constantly judging you or asking you why are you eating this or that if you have diabetes. It is true we have to be more careful with these type of food, but as long as we bolus, we will be ok, we can also enjoy things we like, and we do not want to feel observed and judged if we do.
What I’m working on
Right now I am working on having tighter control of my blood sugar levels. I have come a long way but I am still not where I want to be, and I feel I have a lot more to learn. I am also working on becoming more comfortable talking about my diabetes with people after having to deal with a lot of bad comments.
One of my main goals after being diagnosed has been to spread awareness about LADA so fewer people have to be misdiagnosed, and so more people have an easier way to find information about it. That’s why I started my Instagram page @ladawarenes, and I invite everyone who wants to learn a little bit more about living with LADA to go give it a look. Thanks for reading my story!
Written by: Blanca Molero @ladawareness
Edited by: Sophie Brodsky Blake @diabetus422