My Diabetes Mistakes

Update: After my initial diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes 5 months earlier, I read over 20 books and attended conferences with a goal of reversing my “Type 2 diabetes.” Why wasn’t it working?  Because I was misdiagnosed.

A few weeks after the crappy hospital stay shared below, I was finally diagnosed correctly with Type 1 Diabetes. Ketoacidosis is very rare in Type 2 diabetes (insulin resistance) but quite common to people with Type 1 diabetes (insulin dependence). Type 1 diabetes cannot be cured or reversed.

Misdiagnosis is quite common because people (including many doctors!) tend to think of Type 1 as something that only begins when you are a juvenile. I, and many others, are living proof that is not true.

I was 43, and my life turned upside down. What a shame that I started my T1D journey with a huge amount of guilt and poor judgment on myself….

I am spending Memorial Day weekend in a hospital. I’ve had 2 diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) attacks this week.

I don’t want to write this blog post. I’d rather crawl up in a corner and hide from the world. My tears have been non-stop for days. I’m very embarrassed and incredibly sad that I allowed this to happen. However, I am sharing my story to hopefully help others avoid the same pitfalls.

How did this happen?

I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes via a ketoacidosis attack in January 2017.  After lots of reading on the subject, I came to the conclusion that losing all my extra weight would be the fastest way back to good health… and maybe even reverse my diabetic symptoms.  I recently shared How I Lost 25 Pounds in 2 Months.  Since then, I have lost 10 more pounds, and I am now 5’8″, 117 pounds. I lost a total of 40 pounds in the past 4 months, most of it following a whole food plants-based low-fat diet with some moderate exercise.

My glucose (blood sugar) numbers were okay for a couple of weeks (fasting glucose hovering between 110-140). I felt confident enough to stop taking my diabetic medications (Glipizide and Metformin).

Then I moved to another U.S. state, and I left my unused medications behind.  I was also out of lancets for my glucose meter, so I didn’t take my blood sugar readings for a week. When I finally did, my fasting numbers were very high (around 300). I became desperate to get my numbers down, which is when I made 2 more wrong turns: I skipped meals, and I exercised intensively. As I’ve learned the hard way, both of those tactics tend to hurt more than help when glucose numbers are that high.

I gave up and went to a doctor on Tuesday to get more medicine, but she just sent me to the Emergency Room instead. I was diagnosed with ketoacidosis (a life-threatening condition caused by diabetes). I spent one night, which I’ll just describe as miserable. I went home for 2 days, trying to keep my numbers down with medicine again. I woke up on Friday morning vomiting, breathing very hard, and extremely tired. I was rushed back to the hospital, and I’ve been here ever since.

Hospital visits and diabetes both suck.

I have extremely small veins, so my hospital stays are worsened by lots of missed attempts to poke me. On Friday, medical staff worked for hours to get 2 IV lines in my right hand and right arm. Over the past week, I have had blood drawn from the back of my left hand more than times than I can count. And then there’s the painful potassium from the IVs, the nausea, the hourly finger pokes, among many other unpleasant experiences. (Note: I am very thankful for the caring and competent medical staff!)

2 IVs under what I called my 80’s/Madonna/Michael Jackson glove

However, the physical discomforts pale in comparison to the emotions. I have an incredible amount of guilt for allowing this to happen.  My doctor didn’t help matters, as she told me specifically “you brought this upon yourself.”

To prepare for eating, I must inject myself. If my numbers get too high, I have to inject myself again. Why in the world would I want to eat when it feels like punishment? Yet I must eat to fuel my body. I cry with every bite I take.

Practicing injecting an orange

Also, due to my fear of needles, I had previously refused to take insulin shots. I can no longer refuse, so through my constant flow of tears, I have learned how to give myself insulin injections.

What Now?

I know that once I accept it all mentally, this will all get much easier.

I plan on continuing to eat a whole food plant-based diet because it makes me feel the healthiest overall. However, I am done trying to lose weight and will be happy to be in weight maintenance mode.  I will reflect more to figure out what tweaks may help going forward. I will continue to take oral medication and insulin as needed to re-gain control of my blood sugar.

By the way, some caring people have reached out to me suggesting that I might have been misdiagnosed with Type 2 (insulin resistant) diabetes. Instead, I may have Type 1 (insulin dependent), also known as Type 1.5, or Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults (LADA).  I’ve had 3 DKA attacks, which are highly unusual in Type 2. I asked my hospital doctor, and she said I was “definitely Type 2” because I was previously keeping my blood sugar under control with oral medicine. I explained that it’s common for oral meds to work for a while for Type 1.5 diabetics.  I also said that C-Peptide along with GAD antibody tests can determine my type. She was defensive and dismissive. Fortunately, I have an upcoming appointment with an endocrinologist, and I will request those tests at that time.

Managing diabetes is HARD! You can follow my journey on Facebook.



  1. Hello libby! I wish you a speedy recovery!! Thank you for sharing this with us. Be brave.! You are on the right path and will surely succeed.Sending good, healthy vibes your way!!

  2. Hi Libby, very sad to hear your story… As an Type 2 patient myself I understand the struggle you go through. I am still on the lucky side where I only need to take oral medication. I am also on Metformin, now for almost 2.5 years. I am facing a check up mid june, fingers crossed. Keep up the good vibes and you will get through this… My thoughts are with you…

  3. You are giving a wonderful, meaningful service to the planet by bravely sharing your personal journey. I know this was not easy to write…I applaud and honor you for continuing to openly write the truth from your gut! LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE Mom Whitehawk

  4. Libby, thank you for bravely sharing your story. Wishing you wellness again very soon. Keep up the nutritarian diet and take good care of yourself. Stay strong and know that all your “fans” are pulling for you to be well soon.

  5. I am so sorry you are going through this. How excruciating. Think of it as a lesson learned, don’t beat yourself up and feel negative (guilt) feelings- just recognize that you learned the hard way, and you certainly don’t wish to have to go through that lesson again! (I do respect both you and your doctor for the honesty!) . Thank Goodness we live in this day and age when we have access to great medical facilities, doctors, and medicines – and a lot of resources on which we can read about different conditions. Hang in there, this will make hearing about your good numbers all the more exciting.

  6. Thank you all for your kind comments! I am home from the hospital, and I am healing. I expect to come out of this stronger than ever! I will keep you posted.

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