I know the feeling. I felt sick throughout the first semester of my 1L year in law school, even having to miss class several times (I get migraines and later learned a trigger for my migraines is extreme blood sugar fluctuation). Of course, I was stubborn, still am, and did not see a doctor; just chalked it up to various stressors that every 1L goes through. In reality, it was my pancreas sputtering, the death rattle before the main event. As a result, my grades were not good, my best was a B-. It was really an awful feeling because like almost all law students I had always been an A student; I’d never sniffed a C in my life and now I had 3 or 4.
My law school buddy, his GF, me, and my fiance then went on a ski trip over New Year’s in up-state Michigan. That is when the classic symptoms hit me. I got the nickname “Geriatric Thomas” because I had to urinate so often. I chugged hot chocolates at the top of the slope to no avail. Even with the extreme symptoms, my stubbornness just kept me brushing everything aside and enjoying the trip.
A few days after returning, my fiance and I went to her parents’ house in Cleveland. The symptoms had been getting worse, and at that point I was feeling sick and dizzy. Luckily, well for me, my fiance’s father was a T1D and tested my BS, and his meter wouldn’t read my results because I was way, way too high. Then to the hospital and the diagnosis. Had I not gone to Cleveland, though, no doubt I’d be dead. Diabetes never crossed my mind (not in my family) and I thought I had just come down with some bug.
My law school gave me the option to take the next semester off, but at that point, my grades and class ranking were shot, and I just marched on for the JD now hanging in my office. It was hard to juggle learning about my new disease, learning how to manage it, with the ups and downs, and still have to maintain focus on school.
If anybody ever asks for my advice about what to do when diagnosed (with any serious medical condition or disease, really) during law school or before, or even worse, before taking the bar exam, DO NOT do what I did. Take time off. Your law school will let you . Learn how to manage your very serious, but very manageable, disease, and return with confidence and focus. This is especially true with the bar exam. When my blood sugar is high, I have trouble focusing. That is not something you want to deal with when studying for the bar, and especially, when taking the exam. It can wait!