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Real Stories

My Second Chance At Life

 

Valentine’s Day now has a whole new meaning, at least for me. February 14, 2022 — the day I almost died, and also the day I lived.

I was sitting at my desk at a brand new job… that I had to leave early. I had this continuous feeling that I was going to barf and faint at the same time. Falling asleep in my cubicle would not have been ideal. I had gotten home with lungs filled with cold, bitter air but also a lot of congestion. The amount of pain I was in was unbearable. I wrote this one off as my anxiety making my acid reflux worse; but that didn’t explain why my back was stinging with pain, too. It also didn’t explain why I threw up four times within a matter of two hours.

Then came a little after 11:00 p.m. and I got up from what was supposed to be sleep, but only made me feel worse. I got up out of bed, only to find I could barely walk. I succumbed to my mother’s suggestion to go to the Emergency Room. It was at the hospital that I found out I could have succumbed to diabetic keto acidosis.

You Have What?

The whole night was a total blur, and by that I mean I have no recollection of what happened other than the fact I was in the ICU and wet the bed trying to use a bed pan. (That’s way TMI, but still.) When I regained consciousness, I remember coughing and sounding like the demon from Beloved. I could barely keep my eyes open, nonetheless talk. I was beyond dehydrated. I could barely breathe, due to the dehydration and my overall condition. I later found out from a doctor that I did in fact, have diabetes. All of the events of the day led me to having a near-lethal blood sugar level (over 400). My Diet Coke certainly didn’t help, nor did the honey in my tea earlier that evening. It was then 4:00-5:00 a.m. and I was tired and confused. I don’t know why but I was concerned about my phone, which I later found that my mother had it all along — not that it really mattered where my phone was. My health was/is the only thing that matters here.

It’s needless to say that it came not only out of left field to me, but to everyone else I know. My best friend asked if I was okay, my poor boyfriend was really worried, and my dietitian was completely thrown off.

A Second Chance At Life

It’s still an emotion-jerker for me that I’ll never get my old life back, but the truth is, this is a whole new chance at a better life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful to what my “past life” gave me, but this “new life” is giving me a chance to eat healthier, daily exercise, but also remind myself that I’m still a fun-loving, fashion-loving, literature-loving, whatever-you-name-it person.

However, that doesn’t mean I don’t have my moments. Some hours are better than others. I can’t fathom how much emotional pain this diagnosis caused me when I was first diagnosed. I can barely stare at a screen for prolonged periods of time; I’m surprised I’m well enough to even write this. But on February 24, just ten days after that day, I put on makeup and pulled myself together for myself. That isn’t to say that I probably wouldn’t have had a crying spell, but I was actually able to write down what I’m grateful for the first time in over a week. My hands regained their strength, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to type!

Speaking of “type,” I have type 2 diabetes and I’m coming to terms with it slowly and somewhat gracefully. It’s certainly taking some time to mentally wrap my head around this diagnosis, but just like everything else, it comes with time.

I am now coach and help women who were diagnosed with this life-altering illness to create sustainable routines while also enjoying life.

 

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by April Federico

April Federico is a Rhode Island-based content creator, creative writer, editor, and social media guru. She has been a digital and social content creator since 2018. She studied Creative Writing and Visual Arts at Roger Williams University and is currently attending Emerson College for its M.A. in Publishing and Writing. She hopes to one day go into magazine publishing.


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