Moji Musa is a PhD with academic and industry experience in diabetes and cardiovascular disease. She is living with Type 1 diabetes, after being misdiagnosed as a Type 2. Here’s her story…
How long have you had diabetes?
I was diagnosed with diabetes in the middle of the week while planning my daughter’s
1st birthday party in January 2015. I remember feeling incredibly thirsty and
exhausted for weeks. As I had gestational diabetes during my pregnancy, I sensed and
feared it was fully blown diabetes this time.
What was your diagnosis like?
I was acutely aware of the symptoms of diabetes, so my diagnosis was pretty quick – thankfully before any complications or ketoacidosis kicked in. My fasting glucose that afternoon, having not eaten the whole day, was 18.2mmol. (As a reminder, here’s what normal blood glucose is.) The GP was confused as she was looking for the classic Type 2 diabetes risk factors which I didn’t have.
Upon examination, I realized I had lost just over 10kg in the month prior to my diagnosis. The GP initially sent me home with metformin and then SUs after a week. Strangely, my glucose readings just continued to creep up till it was hitting the low 20s. She then sent me for blood tests which included C-peptide and thyroid function tests. The C-peptide readings returned low and she referred me to an endocrinologist.
By the time I started seeing the endocrinologist, I had a hard time understanding the treatment regimen he chose for me, which was pre-mixed insulin. I think my confusion and suspicion of my diagnosis came from the fact that I had been doing a lot of reading on the differences between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
In spite of my many queries about my diagnosis and treatment options, my endocrinologist insisted I was a Type 2 diabetic for 2 years.
When I had had enough, I insisted I would pay cash to do GAD anti-body tests so he could modify my treatment plan which I felt wasn’t working for me. The GAD tests came back positive and I was finally switched to multiple daily injections which I have been on since then.
What do you wish you’d known when you were diagnosed?
I wish I had known a bit more about diet. I find it is one of the most confusing aspects of living with diabetes. I recently started a low carb diet and it works for me.
What’s your secret to a happy life with diabetes?
I have learnt to accept failure sometimes. I have tried countless times to get my glucose profiles as flat and as predictable as possible. Several times, after failure and frustration, I could give up and go into diabetes burnout because I fell off the wagon. I have learnt to accept things as they and make the best of the situation with it.
What would you say to a diabetic who is struggling?
I would advise diabetics struggling to reach out to other diabetics because I feel first-hand experience from someone with your kind of diabetes is golden – even if it may not be an identical experience. I also urge diabetics to study as much as they can about their condition because knowledge is key.
What makes your life sweet?
My friends, family, husband and daughter make my life sweet indeed. They give me a reason to want to be in control of my diabetes so I can stick around for longer. I find them all supportive of my journey in spite of their limited understanding about the condition.
Follow Moji Musa on Instagram: @kinda.nerdy
What to read next?
What are Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes? Finally! An easy explanation.
Gillian Fraser: my journey with Type 1 diabetes: Gillian tells us about her diagnosis, her attitude towards diabetes, and the tech that changed her life.
Type 2 diabetes and COVID-19 talk with Premier Winde: We ask Premier Winde about his experiences living with Type 2 diabetes, and how COVID-19 changed that.