Paying the Price: The Story of My Struggle with Diabetes

This three-part article was written exclusively for InformationAboutDiabetes.com by Michael Kohel. He discusses his struggle to accept and control his diabetes, the problems he faced and how he finally began to accept diabetes as a manageable part of his life.

I found out I was diabetic in 2001, while working in the oil fields of northeast Utah. I had all the classic symptoms: I frequently went to the bathroom, blurry vision, fatigue, and I was constantly thirsty and hungry.

My best friend, who also happens to be my boss, pointed it out long before I saw it coming. He suggested I chart what my symptoms were and then go to see a doctor, which I did.

Learning the Truth

When I finally went and saw a doctor she ordered a bunch of tests for me, and two days after my blood work a nurse called me and said I had to go in again. On the next day, the doctor told me I had type 2 diabetes. She told me that my A1c was over 13 almost a 14, which is really high.

She told me she thought I could control it with diet and exercise, but if that did not work I would have to be put on medication. I almost went into shock – how could someone as active as me be a diabetic? I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach.

Paying the Price

I started on a low-carb diet after seeing a nurse who specialized in diabetes, as well as a nutritionist. I thought that this would be enough but, unfortunately, I found myself at odds with my addiction to junk food. I couldn’t stay away from potato chips and pizza. My nutritionist nurse told me diabetics can eat anything normal people eat, but always in moderation. I ignored the warnings and advice.

For the first five or six years, I didn’t take my diabetes seriously, eating whatever I wanted when I wanted. Ultimately, I payed the price. I was constantly tired and moody because high blood sugar levels can cause depression and irritability.

In Part II of this article, Michael discusses his continued struggle with diabetes, his mission to find the right medication and treatment, and the shocking discovery of a tumor in his right kidney.

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