Say hello to Philipp. Philipp was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes right after knee surgery in 2005 and his diagnosis was like a little odyssey. Before we jump into the interview with our model Philipp, here is what he shared with us about his diagnosis journey.
At mySugr we love to show the many different faces and stories of people with diabetes in the real world. So we do our own photoshoots and feature real people living with diabetes instead of using stock photos. In this series, we want you to get to know our shooting stars a little bit better.
“I was diagnosed with diabetes in 2005, during the evaluation and testing to discover anything that would delay the total left knee replacement surgery.
Nobody mentioned anything about diabetes when I had blood work done the week before surgery.
But upon being admitted hours before my 8am surgery, I was told I was a borderline diabetic. I anxiously asked what does that mean? The technicians at the attending nurse stated that I had a predisposition to having diabetes.
As far as I was concerned, I either had diabetes or I didn't. I couldn’t grasp the concept of borderline.
After surgery, and in the recovery room when I woke up, I didn’t think anymore about it.
However, once I was delivered to the ward and further tested that evening, I was told that I was now a full-blown person with diabetes. That was a shock, and I began gathering information from the staff. How could I go from borderline diabetes to having diabetes overnight? I wasn't told what kind of diabetes I had until hours into the second day of my hospital stay. That is when I was diagnosed as type 2.
Upon my third day prior to my release, I was told that I was being prescribed oral diabetes meds and not insulin.
Several weeks later, I was dehydrated and became extremely thirsty and began drinking 32 oz. "slushy" drinks from the 7-11. One every hour.
It became so intense the next day. While my wife was at work, I became so concerned that I drove myself to the VA emergency room. After waiting more than 1 hour I was seen in the ER and after testing my blood sugar level, it was well over 300.
I was blessed for driving to the ER because my vision was super blurry and traffic was almost non-existent. What guided me mostly were the lane dividers that I could hear to guide me, muscle memory for guiding the vehicle and knowing how far away the VA was from our home.
The experiences that are key here are extreme thirst, extreme body temp rise, the extreme need to urinate multiple times in an hour, visual impairment, and potential for bad decision making that can wind up in a very serious situation.
1. What was your biggest fears/concerns when you were diagnosed with diabetes?
That it was a mistake. I wasn't overweight, I exercised regularly and watched what I was eating.
2. What’s the hardest part/biggest struggle for you in living with diabetes day-to-day?
First was the prescription for diabetes medication that the result was not managing my sugar level. Second, not believing this disease couldn't be eliminated.
Third, monitoring my sugar regularly and the levels did not fall below 200.
3. What piece of advice would you give to a person who is newly diagnosed with diabetes?
My advice would be to research as much as possible to get accurate and reliable information regarding diabetes. Do not believe that diabetes can be eliminated. Diabetes can be controlled but it is a constant struggle.
4. Is there a phrase/statement about diabetes that drives you crazy?
Yes! The statement that diabetes can be eliminated by a regulated diet of certain meds drives me crazy.
5. When you think of the word “freedom” in terms of diabetes, what does that mean to you? What would make you feel more free?
Freedom for me would mean that diabetes can be cured in a certain amount of time.