I was diagnosed in 2016 at 26. It was a surprise for everyone, as I had a healthy diet and exercise regularly. At the time, I had lost weight, was tired often and had frequent thirst and cramps. Combined, a blood glucose of 261 mg/dL and an a haemoglobin A1c (HbAC1) test result of 8.1%, the signs all seemed to indicate diabetes. However, none of the indicators were extremely high or of sudden appearance – typical of the onset of type 1 diabetes – so I also got tested for anti-glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) autoantibody, and was diagnosed with latent adult autoimmune diabetes (LADA).
Coming from a family with doctors eased the understanding of my condition, and prompted the amazing support I get from them. Nevertheless, I struggle to find support groups and specific health care services. In Ecuador, for example, psychological, nutritional and educational care is mostly provided by non-profit organizations or the private sector, and tends to be focused on older people with type 2 diabetes and children with type 1 diabetes. As an adult, much of this support is considered unnecessary. A year after my diagnosis, I found a non-profit foundation that welcomed adults and understood our situation. This helped me to embrace my diabetes without letting it define me, and gave me the strength to restart my life projects.