My Story

I've had several people to ask about "my story" so I decided to make it a permanent page. Originally, I posted "my story" in a series of a blogs, here are the first 3 of that series:

You Have Diabetes

"Hi David, this is Dr. Wanner. We have the lab results back. Just as I suspected, you have diabetes. I'm calling in a prescription to your pharmacist for Metformin. Take a tablet in the morning and one in the evening. I'll transfer you to the receptionist to make an appointment to come back in 3 months so I can see how you're doing."

This is the phone call I received from my doctor on Wednesday, January 16, 2008 around 10am. This is the moment that I truly faced my mortality. I asked my doctor during this conversation (if you can actually call this a conversation since my doctor was doing all of the talking), if I could try controlling it by diet first? He said no, because my glucose levels were too high (313mg/dl). First, he wanted to get it under control by using medication, then we could discuss other options at a later date…

Needless to say, 45 days later I was completely off Metformin and my glucose levels are constantly below 92mg/dl (normal glucose readings are roughly between 70 – 115 mg/dl). This happened not because of my doctor and his advice, but in spite of my doctor's plan of action. If I would have followed my doctor's plan of action, I still would be taking Metformin right now, 10 months later.

The purpose for my blog, is to share my struggle with diabetes and how I took control of my health care. Hopefully, this will inspire and assist a community of people to be proactive and take ownership of their health care. Traditionally, everyone takes & follow the advice of their doctor without question. I'm not saying you shouldn't follow your doctor's advice, but you should take ownership of your health care and not give it to your doctor.

Have a team approach to your health care, whereas your doctor is a team member, albeit an important team member, maybe the Michael Jordan of the team but you are the coach of this team. Therefore you have the final say on what play will be run and the strategy that will be used to win the game. Other members of your team can consist of your family, pharmacist, friends, specialists, nutritionist, ministers, etc.

As the coach, make sure you assemble a team that will work in your best interest.

I Just Can’t Wait

Given my family history with diabetes, the news I received on January 16, 2008 was basically a sentence of a slow death "by pieces." I would eventually lose my kidneys, then my eyesight and my heart would slowly deteriorate. I would later lose a few toes, which would eventually lead to losing my entire foot, then the leg. If I survived the first leg amputation, the surgery to amputate my other leg would definitely kill me.

This is why I couldn't wait 3 months until I saw my doctor to see if he would "allow" me to cure my ailment versus treating my symptoms with medication. Although initially, he only prescribed 1000mg daily of a diabetic drug (which is a mild dose for people with Type II diabetes), eventually I would probably require a higher dose with stronger formulas, then eventually daily doses of insulin. That’s why two hours after getting the news from my Doc that I was a diabetic, I begin searching the Internet to find all I could about diabetes, the causes, treatment including both natural & medicinal, and therapeutic. I was determined to save my foot!!!!

As coach of your health care team, the first thing you must do is become knowledgeable of the game that you are playing. In order to take control of your health care, first absorb all the information you can on your ailment. In addition to speaking with your doctor, the Internet has a wealth of information both good & not so good. Yes, do read the "not so good" information that's out there because you need to have a 360-degree view of your ailment and the issues surrounding it. Here are a few sources where you can begin your search for information: WebMD, Complementary and alternative medicine: What is it?, and don't forget search engines like google.com and about.com.

Dang, I’m Taking Metformin

Although initially, I did not want to take any meds, I did pick-up my prescription from the pharmacy for Metformin and took my first 500mg tablet that night [January 16, 2008]. My initial research on diabetes suggested if I controlled my diet by reducing my carb intake and with moderate exercise I could manage, eliminate my diabetes. In addition, there was a plethora of information out there that showed positive results by using natural remedies', such as cinnamon, cayenne pepper, wheatgrass juice, etc. The next morning, I took my second 500mg tablet of Metformin. I promised myself I would not get my 30-day supply of Metformin prescription refilled.

The good news, there was tons of information available on diabetes. The bad news, there was tons of information available on diabetes. Not even 24 hours after I got the news I was a diabetic I begin to teeter on information overload, TMI (Too Much Information). I had to engage other members of my team to wade through this sea of data. One of my friends had been diagnosed with diabetes about 3 years prior, therefore, I talked with him about his medication regime, results, side effects, etc. My niece is a pharmacist, so I spoke with her about Metformin, its side effects, her experience with clients that have been on this medication for an extended period of time and what other medications were available. Obviously, since I'm employed by a pharmaceutical company, I talked with my co-workers.

As I begin to close in on a strategy for my health care, I consulted with the next most important person on my health care team, since my primary care physician is the Michael Jordan of the team, my wife is the Scottie Pippen. As we all know, Michael did not win a championship without Scottie. Although you are the coach of your health care team, your spouse must be an integral part and onboard with your health care strategy. Regardless of the results of your health care strategy, your spouse is the only person that HAS to go through this with you, they have no choice in the matter. Remember those that are the closest to you are the ones that will be the most impacted by your health, or the lack thereof.

You can read the other 5 blog entries on my story by clicking on the "My Story" label/tag.

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