I’m Dr Maham, my journey with Type 1 diabetes began in 2005, at the age of 9 years. There was no family history, no prior infection, and my lifestyle was not unhealthy.
I remember, my initial symptoms included increased thirst, polyuria, weight loss, lethargy and vomiting. I used to be a very active child before my diagnosis therefore I would blame myself for feeling this way. I would often blame myself for having no energy. My parents grew more worried seeing my condition, and I felt terrible for not knowing what was happening to me. On a sunny day in March 2005, my parents took me to my favorite restaurant in hopes of lifting my mood and I ended up ordering sweet apple juice. Three hours later, I started vomiting, and I was severely dehydrated. I was given antiemetics and antibiotics but my symptoms did not resolve so my father took me to the hospital. The duty doctor told the nurse to quickly bring a glucometer and the first reading they obtained was 537mg/dl.. the doctors then diagnosed me with diabetic ketoacidosis. I remained admitted for two weeks, and started my insulin regime.
My initial years with diabetes were challenging. Of course, omitting sweets from the diet, and having to take multiple injections daily is not easy for a young child. No one taught me about ICR or ISF. However, I accepted this condition with time and began self-injecting when I was 11 years old.
As I was growing older I made up my mind to become a doctor, and pursue further studies in the field of Endocrinology to help others with diabetes.
I studied hard to achieve good grades in order to secure a seat in a medical college. Managing diabetes and medical school together can become quite difficult at times but it’s not impossible. I lived alone most of the time during my MBBS journey, as my medical college was not in my home city. Despite everything, I managed my diabetes well, and I used to travel alone to meet my family once a month. It boosted my self-confidence.
As they say, autoimmune conditions occur in pairs. Unfortunately, one week before my 2nd-year MBBS exam, I was diagnosed with Graves’ disease. It’s an autoimmune condition which causes hyperthyroidism. But Alhamdulilah I passed the exam. I never felt less than anyone. I passed all the professional exams just like my other class fellows, sometimes doing better than them. I was one of the youngest graduates in my batch, I got my MBBS degree at the age of 23.
During my house job, like every other junior doctor, I was successfully able to do 30-hour shifts, twice a week. Diabetes never stopped me from achieving my goals or let’s rephrase this…. I didn’t let diabetes come between me and my goals.
I have learnt that diabetes is only a part of your life, diabetes is not all of you.
I owe it all to my family, especially my parents who helped me achieve my goals.
I would like to share a saying that my father used to tell me when I was young, it helped me come to terms with my condition
‘Dear Maham, this condition is lifelong, but you must understand that some people have their insulin stored in their pancreas, the only difference between you and them is that your insulin is stored in the fridge instead of your pancreas’.

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