Getting Healthy and Staying the Course: Frank’s Inspiring Transformation After Being Diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes

This article was written exclusively for Information About Diabetes by Frank Hicks, a type 2 diabetic who was diagnosed last October and has since quit drinking and lost more than 120 pounds.

I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes last October. When they talked to me, my HbA1c was 11.8 and my blood glucose level was 398. Now, my HbA1c is 6.0 and my average blood glucose level is 109.

The day I was diagnosed, I thought it was over. I weighed 500 pounds. But now, with a change of diet and exercise, I weigh 380 and I’m still dropping – no surgery; just determination to survive. I was an alcoholic, drinking an 18-pack of Bud Light Platinum a week and a half gallon of whiskey every four days. When I was diagnosed, my liver was in the serious range. I have been sober since then, and I am proud to say I have lost nine pants sizes in that time and I’m still going.

Getting Healthy

I have a very labor-intensive job: I pull cases of automotive paint all day, the lightest one being 50 pounds, most being 60 to 70 pounds each. Now imagine pulling a couple thousand cases a day or more in a warehouse with no climate control – I sweat like a crazy person, but I feel good. I work five days a week, and it’s taken a bad toll on me, but I struggle through as it’s hard to find steady work and thus far it’s been recession-proof (knock on wood). Stress from my now ex-manager was 99 percent of the cause of my diabetes, according to my doctor. My weight didn’t help but was not the cause.

My doctor told me the day I was diagnosed that I had significant damage to my liver and asked me if I wanted to live or die. He said, “It looks like you have a lot to live for with your family,” so that night I went home and poured all of the alcohol I had down the drain.

Since being diagnosed, I have changed my diet to Atkins. It's been a long road, but everyday I wake up it’s a new chance from God himself, and it is a blessing. Had I not stopped drinking in October, my doc said I would have most likely died last December. It’s been a pain but worth it.

Staying the Course

I get frustrated some days when my sugar level gets into the 130s or 140s, but I strive hard at work and by lunch it’s back into the 115-or-lower range, and by the time I get home it’s down into the mid-80s to low-90s. So I keep the course and for now I’m on 2,000mg of Metformin and 46 units of Levemir a day, but hopefully I’ll be dropping down.

I’m doing the best I can given the daily fight, but nothing is more important than living. I am a volunteer firefighter/medic, and I’m sure of a quote we were told during training: “Dying is easy; it’s living that’s hard.” Keep fighting and never give in. You have to tell yourself that you won't let it beat you and stay focused; never say never.

I want people to read this and know that no matter how bad things look you can do it. I’m 38 years old, and last year was my rebirth. Yes, I have to take 1,000mg of Metformin twice a day and insulin once a day, but I feel better and I see things clearly now. The time we have is so precious; we need to enjoy the gift we've been given. Thank you for your time. I hope this helps others to get hope and to fight for what they have.

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