Diabetic & Me

Charlotte Eschbach

Charlotte Eschbach

Hello! Who are you? And tell us a little bit more about your diabetes.

Hey everyone! My name is Charlotte Eschbach. I’m 45 years old and currently living in Mexico. I have LADA diabetes for a total of 1 year 8 months.

I am from Boston, Massachusetts but I have lived in Mexico since 1998. I am a preschool teacher.

When I was diagnosed I had hepatitis A, both kidneys infected and several other health issues all due to the complications of undiagnosed LADA 1.5. I noticed something odd, I started losing weight too quickly and decided to get blood tests. I got the blood test and the same day the lab called me (unheard of here) and told me to get to a hospital immediately. In my DKA and confused mind I waited until Monday. I got immediately put on insulin and sent home, because the doctor didn’t think I’d make it and asked me if I wanted to go to the hospital, which I refused. My daughter, who is in medical school,  got me transferred from my house to the hospital and I believe that she saved my life. I was in the hospital for approximately 3 weeks and they tested and did everything possible to help me live. I got a correct diagnosis of LADA or diabetes 1.5 and the proper treatment.  I was released and still under care of my daughter for 1 month. After that I moved to a new house and have learned to live this entirely new life.

I didn’t grow up with my diabetes but my diagnosis was emotionally much harder than financially. I went from being an active woman to a shell of myself.

Charlotte Eschbach
Charlotte Eschbach

“Your diabetes is unique to you.”

Your treatment

How do you treat your diabetes, did a lot change over the past years and are you able to manage it well?

I get the most support from my family and friends. I also have 3 endocrinologists that work together and support me where necessary.

To treat my diabetes I use a Freestyle Libre CGM and multiple daily injections (MDI) of long action glargine (Toujeo) insulin and glulisine (Apidra) insulin. Before that I just used variables of long acting and short insulin.

A lot has changed since my diagnosis. I lost my job, I lost my car and my son was no longer able to live with me. I moved to a different state and had a long recovery. Everything changed. I was a vegetarian, I was physically active and I had better control over my life.

I think I manage my diabetes well but I am always improving.

Charlotte Eschbach
Charlotte Eschbach

Can you recognize the symptoms of a low/high blood sugar? Do you test often and can you tell a bit more about your experiences with low blood sugar?

Yes, I can recognize them. When I have a low blood sugar I get shaking, sweating, have a drunken feeling, get cold hands and chills, have disorientation and anxiety. This happens approximately 1 or 2 times per month.

I test myself 11 times daily but that can run up to 19 times.

To treat my low hypos I use juice boxes, bread or sweets. Depending on the type of hypo. Luckily I have  blacked out before.

Food and diet

How does your diabetes affect your eating and do you find being on a diet restrictive?

For breakfast I eat eggs, veggies and drink a coffee. For lunch I eat salads, nuts and sausages. And for dinner I eat meat, salad and veggies. Sometimes I skip a meal.

My favorite food are tomatoes. For snacks I eat nuts, pork rinds, dark chocolate with no sugar, turkey slices, jicama, cucumbers and tomatoes.

I don’t eat anything that isn’t good for me. I am very strict. If I eat something that affects me negativity, I stay away from it. So I don’t really change my insulin schedule.

To keep me hydrated I drink at least 2 liters of water daily.

A diet is not restrictive for me because I don’t see it as a diet but as a healthy change to my eating style and pattern.

When people ask me about food I can or can’t eat I don’t get annoyed. I understand the lack of education about diabetes.

Do you believe that a plant based diet can improve diabetes? Did you ever experiment with this?

No. No.

Do you have a hard time eating out in a restaurant? And what are you thoughts on making this easier?

Sometimes. I usually end up with steak and salad. Too make this easier maybe there should be more fresh foods available on menus. I love to go out and eat at healthy places.

“Educate yourself about your diabetes.”

Exercise and work

Does your diabetes restrict you from exercise or your daily job?

In the week I do stretches and meditate.

I am a preschool teacher. The stress sometimes does have effect on my diabetes.

Charlotte Eschbach
Charlotte Eschbach

Final

Do you have any positive or negative effects because of your diabetes?

To manage my diabetes better I go to a psychologist to help me with the emotional part. I educate myself about my disease the most I can.

The hardest part of having diabetes is the lack of understanding from others. But the best part is that I don’t smoke or drink anymore.

Diabetes does cause other problems for me.

Charlotte Eschbach

What is the best advice that you can give to non-diabetics, new diagnosed diabetics and diabetics?

The difference between types of diabetes. That my tiredness isn’t due to laziness, it’s the fact that my body doesn’t work the same as theirs. That I am strict on myself because I am my best advocate. That this affects me emotionally in extreme ways. That there is no cure and that my diabetes isn’t the same as your grandmother’s.

You are your best advocate. No doctor, no friend, no family member is going to deeply understand. Therefore you must be your own voice. Learn the most you can and keep learning. Your diabetes is unique to you, so please don’t fall into generalized anxiety if you are experiencing symptoms that are different. Ask for help and don’t be ashamed.

Educate yourself about your diabetes.

What would you ask the other diabetics?

How did your significant other react to your diagnosis?

Feel free to answer in the comments below.

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Hey! I'm Ely Fornoville, the founder of Diabetic & Me.

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