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Revenge of the pissed off pancreas

Back when I was in high school (standard 7th or 8th, i think), I studied about various systems in human body – nervous system, digestive system, excretory system etc. The biology teacher made us draw all sorts of diagrams explaining these systems in detail. My favorite one was the digestive system. I liked drawing the esophagus and the large intestine. They looked like a couple of crumpled pipes lying around inside my tummy! And then, there was the stomach, the liver, the small intestine and so on. Somewhere near the stomach, I used to draw a silly looking organ called pancreas. It seemed like it was trying to hide from me, as if it was guilty of something really bad it was going to do. I never really understood what pancreas was supposed to do and no one cared to explain the function of this insignificant digestive system organ to me. Hell! I didn’t really care. I wasn’t interested in the stupid pancreas and wasn’t planning on becoming a doctor anyways! But, it seems my egotistical pancreas didn’t really appreciate my indifferent attitude and took it upon itself to make me understand its importance (and ofcourse get back on me .. that stupid egomaniac!). So, like a suicidal jehadi, it just blew itslef up and totally stopped working. That’s how it took its revenge on me. It took me a few months to realize this but by the time I became aware of the wrath of my pancreas, I had already lost 22 pounds and was spending a good part of my day drinking water and then immediately giving it back to the mother nature!
Well, now after 3 months of living with type I diabetes, I know a lot about what pancreas is and what role does it play in the diagram with those stupid crumpled pipes. The damn thing made its point very strongly and didn’t really leave a lot of choice for me. All I can do now is just hope that science soon finds out a way to coax our pissed off pancreas into starting functioning again. Lessons learnt – Respect thy pancreas, DO NOT piss it off!


Sugar Challenged

Finally found a blog name that is available! it is!

It’s been 2 and a half month since I was diagnosed with Type I diabetes. It was 9th of Jan, 2008. I was visiting my family in India and had just come back to Delhi from an awesome trip to Hyderabad. My brother (who is an orthopedic surgeon himself) was there to pick me up from the airport. I had gotten some routine tests done before going on the trip. He had their results for last few days but hadn’t told me anything about it. I just knew that my sugar levels were ‘a bit high’. In fact, he chose not to tell me anything when he met me at the airport. He took me straight to an endocrinologist. We had lunch on our way there. Mom had sent some healthy homemade food but I really wanted a McDonald’s burger. I thought I’ll definitely get one as soon as I was done dealing with the doctor. Just before we ate, we got a blood sugar test done in the car (and that was my first prick on the fingertip). It showed some insanely high number but I didn’t care at that time because I had no idea what that number meant. I didn’t know what diabetes was – no idea what blood sugar meant! And even if I had known, I had no idea about what it meant to be diabetic. I could not understand what this fuss was all about. Why did we have to see the doctor right away? But, I thought that my brother probably knew what was best for me. So, we went to see the doctor.

After a few minutes, we pulled into Gangaram hospital – a prestigious medical institution of Delhi. The doctor’s office was a small room with him, me, my brother, and a few other patients sitting and staring at him. He had some basic questions – weight, height, BP etc. Then I told him about my 20 lbs weight loss from a few months ago. After a few minutes of talking and perusing my test results, he casually broke it to me – “Ofcourse, there is no doubt that it is diabetes’. And then, he suddenly started talking about insulin, injections, pen and blood glucose monitoring! At first, I didn’t realize the gravity of the situation. I thought, “hmm, diabetes. Interesting. I have some fancy disease – that’s cool! So, doctor, please tell me how do I get rid of it?” But looking at the doctor’s and my brother’s face and trying to comprehend what they were talking about, the reality started to dawn upon me. And then, the doctor looked at me and said – “As you know, diabetes is a lifelong disease. Your lifestyle is going to change drastically.” Hey, I didn’t know that! and why the hell do you have to assume that I know anything about diabetes? He and my brother talked a bit about the type of diabetes it could be but none of that made any sense to me. He gave me about 10 minutes to digest what had struck me. 10 minutes – that’s all and we were done! We came out of doctor’s cabin and visited the dietitian. She gave me long list of what I should eat and not eat – not giving a single thought to the fact that she was dealing with type 1 diabetes . I couldn’t hear most of it because I wasn’t even listening. “Diabetes … insulin … injections … lifelong … ” – I had my own river of thoughts going on in my brain. So, we finished our business at the hospital, and got into the car. As I sank into my seat, I looked at my brother. He asked me – “So, how do you feel?”. And I just started crying. I couldn’t stop it. Cried like a baby. What seemed like an awesome vacation the same morning had just turned into a nightmare!

I was Sugar Challenged.