Paying the Price: The Story of My Struggle with Diabetes, Part II

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.

Click here to read Part I.

Two years into my diagnosis I found myself on my way to an oilfield job near Green River. I was stopped by a Utah state patrol for speeding and when he got my license and came back and told me it was suspended temporarily for medical reasons. In Utah you need a doctor to certify that your diabetes is in control on a yearly basis so you can drive.

Trial and Error

The state patrol officer followed me to a motel and told me to get it taken care of. I found a doctor near by and he checked my A1c. It was over 14 and he promptly started me on metformin and glimeride. Two days later I checked my blood sugar levels and there were at 140, when I had first seen him they were at about 325. I realized I needed to do something and change my ways.

For the next eight years I found myself struggling with different medications. Some of the medications I tried would make my blood sugar plummet below 50, some had no effect on it at all. I found out some antibiotics can react with diabetic medication and cause highs and lows.

I also discovered that some steroidal medications, like prednisone can cause your blood sugar to sky rocket. Exercise has a big effect on blood sugar levels too, but if I exercised too hard and took my medications without checking my blood sugar, it would plummet. It has been a long battle of trial and error for me.

A Deadly Discovery

After a while the pills stopped working for me as well. In 2008 when I moved to Denver, Colorado to marry the woman of my dreams, I got a primary care doctor, who did a bunch of tests and an MRI. It was then that we discovered that I had a tumor on the adrenal gland, on my right kidney.

My doctor referred me to an endocrinologist who did more tests. The endocrinologist determined that the tumor was affecting my blood sugars level and causing me many other problems as well. She recommended surgery so that I could have the whole adrenal gland and tumor removed.

In Part III of this article series, Michael discusses the outcome of his surgery, how it changed his life, and what he has found useful throughout his battle against diabetes.

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