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This is the long version... (Part 1)

When I started feeling not so good was maybe five years back... Well, it was longer than that, but when things started to get on-again-off-again bad was about five years. First I started having really bad heart palpitations- they would knock the wind out of me. I saw a cardiologist. I had tonnes of tests- everything was fine. About a year later I returned to my GP. I would go through bouts of gasping for breath; I was tired all the time and thirsty, really thirsty. Went out for bloodwork; came back for answers- everything was fine, though slightly anemic. I was on iron pills for three months. The anemia went away, but my symptoms didn't. I was told it was likely a virus that would pass and was told to continue taking a multivitamin. Then, suddenly, everything I was complaining about went away.

That was fall. The following spring when my seasonal allergies started up: I. could. not. breath. I was given Ventolin and put on Advair. When that didn't help, they added more inhaled corticosteroid to the mix. I went from having blood sugars within range (with a good dose of regular bad lows) to having blood sugars around 20 mmol/l (about 360 mg/dl) all the effing time. I felt disgusting while I got my numbers under control... and then once allergy season ended, I'd stop the inhalers and deal with the opposite: major persistent lows.

This was just the beginning though. Every year since then my ability to breath, especially during allergy season degraded. Every time I got a cold (which went from about never to about three or four times a year) I would end up bacterial respiratory infections. I became familiar with the various ER's in the city. I've had x-rays and bloodwork at all of them. My inhaler medication just went up and up until it couldn't go up anymore. Sometimes it would get so bad I felt like I was drowning in my own phlegm. Again, I went for tests and breathed into all sorts of tubes- everything seemed fine. All they could figure was that it was some sort of allergy induced asthma.

And then this time last year, shit really fell apart. First, my skin started peeling. Especially from my scalp. I was parched all the time. Then my hair was falling out in bunches. My skin was bruising over the smallest bump and whenever I tested my blood I had times where I couldn't get them to stop bleeding. And, then, by this time last year I got tired... really tired... Like pre-insulin tired. I had times where I could muster up enough strength to get out of bed once a day. I would get up, practically crawl to the bathroom, clean up, grab a glass of water, go pee and make my way back to bed. The worst of it I remember lying in bed one night, my pulse had slowed right down and I had to actually make conscious effort to breath and in my head I was thinking 'If I fall asleep, I don't know that I'm going to wake up from this.' I fell asleep thinking of a list of what to do and who to contact in case I didn't wake up. I never wrote it down.

I can't remember now if it was before this or after that I went to my family doctor. I remember listing all the things that were happening and saying "I feel like I'm getting diabetes all over again." The colour drained from her face and she checked off almost all the tests on the bloodwork requisition sheet. This was the second round of bloodwork. She started prepping me for all the things that could be wrong. I remember none but the first- organ failure.

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