Faces of LADA: Barbara Campbell
Name: Barbara Campbell
Age at Diagnosis: 46
Barbara's story: June 24, 2009 is a day I'll never forget. It's the day everything changed forever. My name is Barb and I am a person with LADA.
I hadn't been feeling well. In fact, I'd been feeling horrible. I had every textbook symptom of diabetes: excessive thirst, frequent urination, a wound that wouldn't heal, sudden weight loss. The only positive I could see was that I was losing a pound a day and eating everything in sight and I was able to see perfectly without my glasses. I used to work in a medical office, I was fairly certain of what was happening to me, but who wants to hear they have diabetes?
I arrived at the lab after a 14 hour fast to have blood drawn for the second time. A few minutes later, sitting in the exam room, I was told I had type 2 diabetes. The doctor was very worried that the information was overwhelming; that I would become emotional. He explained that with a low-carb diet and exercise, I could avoid medication and possibly reverse this condition. I was scheduled to see the CDE four weeks later and was instructed to search the Internet for information. "You can start with Mayo Clinic, they usually have accurate information," he told me. But, what am I supposed to do for the next four weeks? What do I eat? What am I supposed to do? I had to assume I was diagnosed with type 2 because of my age. After all, type 1 is for kids, right?
I was more than "compliant." In fact, you could have called me obsessed. I counted every gram of carbohydrate, protein, fiber, and fat that I put in my mouth. I exercised 45-60 minutes a day and journaled everything I put in my mouth, every moment of exercise. I wanted to treat my diabetes fairly aggressively. The doctor prescribed Metformin and Glimiperide. For about a month, my blood glucose numbers were perfect! I was so excited; however, that would soon change.
I started noting my BG creeping higher and higher, no matter what I did. One evening, I tested and was surprised to see it was 240. I started to exercise, hoping to bring my BG lower, but was unnerved to see it had gone up. After 30 minutes, I was now seeing 280 on my meter. Perhaps I hadn't been working hard enough. I tried again. After four hours of exercise, my BG was now 465! I just cried, wondering what was going on! I gave up and went to bed.
While researching diabetes, I stumbled upon the Diabetes Community on dLife.com, the first site I found. I built a profile, searched the recipes, and looked through some of the questions and answers that had been posted. I was making friends with people who were very much like me, even though we never actually met. I got to know others on Twitter and other communities, and that is where I learned that I indeed was not dealing with type 2 diabetes, but LADA.
Cherise, a new friend in the dLife Community, had been diagnosed with LADA and shared her story with me. Another new friend, Scott, made arrangements for me to speak with his CDE and I was able to get an appointment with the endocrinologist at his clinic. Within 5 minutes, Dr. Robbins had determined that I had Latent Auto-Immune Diabetes as an Adult. He ordered more blood work, and the GAD-65 antibody test came back positive, meaning that my body had been producing antibodies and fighting against my pancreas.
I started on insulin in January, 2010 and received my pump in April. The difference this has made each and every day! I am still trying to master the art of insulin:carb ratios, but I can't imagine being without my pump now.
I am constantly amazed that the medical profession, as a whole, doesn't seem to know that adults can get type 1 diabetes and that children can have type 2 (MODY-Mature Onset Diabetes in Youth). I've talked to friends, others in the medical profession, urgent care doctors and nurses, even the nurse that calls on behalf of my medical insurance, and none of them had ever heard of LADA. I'm very excited to see that dLife and the Diabetes Hands Foundation are working to raise awareness, and I hope to be a part of the campaign. I know I'm just one of many.
Ten years ago, I sat in my Primary Care Physician's office. I had just been weighed and measured. A nurse had just taken my vitals and my blood pressure had come in a bit higher than usual, which was no wonder because I sat there a nervous wreck. In the year since my last physical, I'd gained another fourteen pounds. I was the heaviest I'd ever been, the scale clocking me in at 228 at 5'3" tall. I honestly couldn't believe it. I knew that I hadn't gotten my eating habits under control in...