Treatment Induced Diabetes-The price I pay for my dances with Ned.

Now you all know my scans were good! Something to celebrate! I love road trips, so time to hit the beach!

We were packed and ready to go.  Usually I would be so happy and excited to leave for a road trip.  I was excited but I felt so bad!  I was thirsty, so thirsty!  I drank gallons of water that day and I felt so irritable.  Even after napping half the day I was so tired.  You know me, nothing is going to get in the way of family time!  So off we went.  We stopped for water 10 minutes down the road.  I gulped it down and was still so thirsty.  T.J. has type 1 diabetes and always has his supplies with him.  He insisted that I let him check my blood glucose.  I did and it was so high it wouldn’t register on his meter.  He then insisted we find a hospital.  He said I don’t care about the beach, I care about you.  So we stopped at the next emergency room.  My blood glucose was 627.  They gave me insulin, fluids and put me on Metformin.  Then they sent me on my merry way saying enjoy the beach and follow up with your doctor when you get back.  We drove two more hours and I realized I was feeling bad again.  We turned around and ended up at our local emergency room. They admitted me and started insulin, fluids and other tests.  After two nights there I got the diagnosis, Treatment Induced Diabetes.  My pancreas was no longer working and I was lucky to have not ended up in a coma.  I was in a state of keto acidosis.

I was seriously confused.  My diet is so good. No sugar and everything that is supposed to be good for me. This isn’t about my diet.  This was caused by the steroids I was given during chemo.  I couldn’t believe the doctor told me the truth.  These are the things they don’t want to talk about.  I was given a long list of side effects and treatment induced diabetes was not one of them.  Still, if I were told about it I would have made the same treatment decisions. I mean what other choice did I have?

I’m home now on insulin.  My blood glucose is still all over the place.  I will see a specialist soon and get it under control.  I still feel really weak and sick to my stomach.  This should pass when we get my insulin amounts perfected.  I’m so frustrated that we didn’t make it to the beach, but I’m grateful to be able to plan another trip later.  I’m also so blessed to have my little T.J. as my at home doctor. 😀 I can’t begin to tell you how special he is!

Here are the biggest side effects of treatment induced diabetes (a.k.a steriod diabetes):

Dry mouth
Blurred vision
Increased thirst
Increased need to urinate
Tiredness and lethargy

I had all of these.  The blurred vision was the last symptom I had.  The increased thirst was the first symptom I had. I was thirsty for a week before the other symptoms started.  If your feeling this way, don’t ignore it.

This is what the pamphlet my doctor gave me says:

Steroid Diabetes
Steroid diabetes is listed here as a different type although it is sometimes classed with type 1 and at other times with type 2.

The confusion arises because it is not an autoimmune disease and yet it can sometimes have total beta cell failure.

It comes about from the taking of steroids over a long period of time. Not the steroids used by weight lifters but those often medically prescribed, the corticosteroids or glucocorticoids, such as hydrocortisone, prednisone or dexamethasone.

They are used to suppress inflammation in diseases such as arthritis, cancer, to treat asthma, immune system diseases like Lupus or pemphigus (a rare autoimmune blistering diseases of the skin) down to skin problems like eczema and poison ivy and neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis.

Another area where steroid induced diabetes is commonly seen is in patients who have had kidney transplants. The amount of steroids necessary to suppress the immune system and lessen the chance of organ rejection can lead to diabetes.

How does the taking of steroids cause diabetes?
Corticosteroids counteract the effect of insulin, which makes your pancreas work harder pumping out more insulin to keep your blood sugar normal. Normal pancreases do this quite happily but if you pancreas works a bit ‘on the edge’ so to speak, it cannot cope with this demand for extra insulin and your blood sugars go up. In other words your pancreas is okay normally but cannot handle the stress of the steroids.

Not all people treated with steroids will get steroid – induced diabetes.

I had 8 months of chemo.  That’s a lot of steroids.  He said it had slowly shut down my pancreas. My A1C was 10.6. (5.6 is what it should be) that means this had been going on for a while.  I was diagnosed at a critical stage.  I guess the lesson here is to listen to your body.  I thought I was good because my scans were good.  That was not the case!

So what now? Rest!! I’m exhausted! My muscles are still so sore from dehydration.  That should go away soon.  Then it’s learning a new normal. I should be good at that by now!  Then, road trip!! T.J. goes to camp Monday.  So I’m finding a nice hotel room near camp and we are hanging out by the pool Sunday!  You know it’s the memories that will outlive us!  As bad as this is, it could always be worse!  I’m thankful to be here and I will be back to myself soon!

I love you all! Thanks for always being there for me!! You all make my world brighter!

I have to end with pictures!

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That’s Dr. T.J.  He gave me his jacket because I was freezing. Check out those chemo curls!

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Family selfie while waiting in the ER. These two kept that smile on my face! ❤️

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Another hospital gown, I should start a collection!

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8 thoughts on “Treatment Induced Diabetes-The price I pay for my dances with Ned.

  1. You’ve been through so much! I have never heard if this either. Not from a doctor, nor anything I have read. I’m sure you will get this under control and enjoy the beach another day. I saw what steroids did to my first husband, who died from leukemia, so when I started treatment, I refused all steroids (unless there was a superb reason provided). After reading your post, I am so grateful I made that decision. Best to you.

    • Michele I wish I had been more informed! I heard stage 4 and was willing to do anything. There should be education before decision making. I had never heard of this either. I was shocked to hear the doctor say it. They sometimes skate around things like that. Thank you for your thoughts. It’s devastating especially after good scans, but I’ll keep on keeping on! ❤️

  2. First off Man! Sh!T!!! sorry to read this, and glad you are sharing because we all can learn from one another, and you are scaring me with your list of symptoms which hit all too close to home. HUGS Girl! Thanks for Sharing 🙂

  3. WOW! Let me know the next time you are in town. I would love to see you. I was just told last week I have diabetes and high blood pressure. I am complaining and I am not going through anything like you are. Stay strong. Love you, Bev

    >>> Tammy Carmona 8/6/2015 1:40 PM >>>

    tammycarmona posted: “Now you all know my scans were good! Something to celebrate! I love road trips, so time to hit the beach! We were packed and ready to go. Usually I would be so happy and excited to leave for a road trip. I was excited but I felt so bad! I was thirst”

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