When I was first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, I was devastated. I had watched my paternal grandfather suffer with the disease. Our family’s diabetes legacy had now reached my generation. Here’s my story of living with type 2 diabetes.

Patients with type 2 diabetes either do not produce enough insulin or are resistant to insulin.
Patients with type 2 diabetes either do not produce enough insulin or are resistant to insulin.

In early 2018, I started noticing that I was always tired. I work from home, so I would take naps during my breaks and at lunchtime. After work, I could only muster two or three hours of productivity before conking out. I also had an almost insatiable thirst, despite drinking nearly two gallons of water every day. With that thirst came the constant need to use the bathroom. I didn’t know at the time that I was experiencing symptoms of type 2 diabetes.

Signs of Type 2 Diabetes

  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent need to urinate
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Increased hungry
  • Blurred vision
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
  • Dry skin
  • Sores that are slow to heal
  • Frequent infections
  • Constant fatigue

I ignored my symptoms for a long time. I didn’t think there was a problem until I started experiencing blurred vision. Since my eyeglasses were new, I became somewhat alarmed. I went online and started Googling “vision loss” and “blurred vision,” and one phrase kept appearing throughout my search results: type 2 diabetes. I decided it was time to call my doctor.

I went to get tested, and unsurprisingly, the results came back positive. I thought I might have dodged a bullet by watching my diet and getting regular exercise, but apparently that wasn’t enough to overcome heredity. I had also contracted gestational diabetes during my last two pregnancies, so besides having a genetic predisposition for diabetes, I now had additional factors working against me.

My doctor referred me to a diabetes specialist who put me on a diabetes management regimen. She prescribed a diabetes medicine called Metformin and two forms of insulin. I’m not fond of taking pills, and I was very unhappy with the prospect of pricking my fingers and having to inject myself with insulin multiple times a day for the rest of my life.

Patients with type 2 diabetes have to check their blood sugar levels several times a day.
Patients with type 2 diabetes have to check their blood sugar levels several times a day.

Taking Metformin for Type 2 Diabetes

Metformin is an oral diabetes medicine used along with diet and exercise to help control blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes. Metformin helps your body process the insulin you naturally produce. It also decreases the amount of sugar your liver makes and that your stomach and intestines absorb.

Some people who take Metformin experience side effects like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, upset stomach, or a metallic taste in their mouth. While none of these side effects are serious, they can be very unpleasant. If they persist or get worse, you need to call your doctor or pharmacist.

I have had no negative side effects from taking Metformin, but I still don’t enjoy taking four massive pills every day.

Metformin is a common diabetes medicine prescribed to adults with type 2 diabetes.
Metformin is a common diabetes medicine prescribed to adults with type 2 diabetes.

Insulin Therapy for Type 2 Diabetes

Insulin is a natural hormone produced by the body to help with the utilization and storage of dietary carbohydrates. When you have type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t use insulin effectively or is resistant to it. This causes your blood glucose (blood sugar) levels to become elevated.

After several months, my doctor noticed that I was having large spikes in my blood sugar levels after meals, so she added short-acting insulin to my regimen, taken 30 minutes before each meal. This is, by far, the hardest part of living with type 2 diabetes. It’s not pleasant having to inject yourself four times a day (remember, I still have to take my shot at bedtime).

Sometimes oral diabetes medicine is not enough to control the effects of type 2 diabetes, and insulin therapy is required.
Sometimes oral diabetes medicine is not enough to control the effects of type 2 diabetes, and insulin therapy is required.

I’m still a long way from having my type 2 diabetes under control. If you suffer from type 2 diabetes like me, make sure you listen to your doctor’s advice and take your diabetes medicine consistently and as directed. Find a support group so you don’t feel so alone. Get some exercise and eat well. Above all, don’t give up, even though the fight may seem endless.