I know IBM for more than 20 years. He is my ex-classmate’s brother and I kept bumping into him whenever I would go to their house. I am talking of as early as 1991 to 1993. IBM, as far as I remember was studying to go to the US for a career in the flourishing IT industry.

IBM and I got in touch again just a month back after all these years and the reason was diabetes. IBM connected with me after looking at my writings on social media. The discussions on diabetes continued and on my request IBM agreed to share his diabetic encounter with the world in his own words. From a timeline perspective, IBM was diagnosed when he was 47 years old, he is 50 now and his current a1c is 5.8. Here is his story:

“Thanks, Geeta. Some of the factors that contributed to your T2D played a role in my case as well. Here’s my story.”

“I live in the US. While on Thanksgiving vacation 3 years ago, I found myself urinating frequently, like every couple of hours and the amount was copious. At the same time, my tongue would run dry and I would consume around 3-4 liters of water a few times a day. I had no clue why this was happening to me. Due to frequent water intake, my hunger went down and I was eating much less than my normal. Being ignorant about the disaster that my body was undergoing, I was glad that my weight had dropped by 20lbs (about 8 kilos) when I weighed myself after a month.”

“A month or two later, I visited my PCP (Primary Care Physician) for a general checkup. As she was examining me, I told her about my weight loss from 170lbs to 150lbs in a matter of a few weeks and my frequent urination. She immediately suspected that I may be diabetic and tested my blood. Believe it or not, the reading showed 425. She was aghast and got me admitted to ER. Luckily, it was a Friday and I was working from home. That evening I got admitted and the ER staff panicked as my A1C was 11. The Doctor gave me insulin 3 times over 36 hours until the sugar level came down to 200+. They gave me a week’s worth of Metformin and discharged me on Sunday. I must mention that I did not have a sweet tooth.”

“I then consulted an endocrinologist and he prescribed a stronger dose of Metformin, but that did not help much. Meanwhile I made changes to my diet and the quantity as well. After 3 months he added Glimepiride and that helped bring down my sugar levels to a reasonable range.”

“During the years 2013 to 2017, I had long stressful work hours, anywhere between 9 and 12 hours a day. Over and above my daily commute was for 2 to 3 hours every day. This wrecked my food habits and I used to eat a lot of processed, readymade off-the-shelf, restaurant and fast foods. I had neither the time nor the energy to cook after putting in 55-60 hour weeks. 14 hours of each of my weekday were spent outside home. Moreover I frequently suffered from diabetic neuropathy in the feet resulting in very poor sleep quality.”

“Having substantial amount of protein in every meal helped keep my sugar levels in check. From 2015 to Aug 2018, I took Janumet with Glimepiride, which proved effective and kept my sugar levels from fluctuating badly. During these years and even now I keep reading a lot of research articles on the causes and treatment like new drugs, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, hormones, amino acids, etc. for T2D etc.”

“In July this year, I came across a 4th generation Gliptin called Teneligliptin, a DPP-4 inhibitor. This drug has a half-life of 24 hours. This is much more potent and long lasting than Sitagliptin (Janumet) a class 3 DPP-4 inhibitor. The sustained (slow) release of 20mg Teneligliptin combined with 1000mg Metformin (Zitamet brand) has been a great blessing. I tried it for 2 weeks during a recent vacation in Mumbai and found it to be very effective. Finally, I was able to cut my dosage from 4 tablets a day to 2 a day.”

“Moreover, Zitamet/Zitamet Plus by Glenmark Pharma costs one-third less than Janumet/Januvia which does not have a generic yet. On 9-11-2018 India’s Zydus Cadila has received a tentative approval from the US FDA for a Sitagliptin generic, but Teneligliptin is a generation ahead of Sitagliptin and does not have the side effects of Sitagliptin. Meanwhile Glimepiride has been my staple and I have one on days I indulge myself in high-carb, fried or sweet stuff.”

“I had very good eyesight, with 0.5 long distance glasses for a decade. But this disease ruined my eyesight and destroyed my vision over a period of 3 years (2015 to 2018). I developed cataract in both eyes. I recently underwent surgery in one eye. Soon, I have to get my right eye fixed as well. By God’s grace, I have been saved from diabetic retinopathy.”

With divine grace, dietary changes, having more water and eating smartly, medication and exercise (primarily long walks), I have been able to keep T2D in check.

So, that’s my story.

Thank you IBM.  For diabetics like me there is a world of wisdom in what you have shared. But the one thing that stands out is your intense pursuit of contextual knowledge and that I believe is going to make all the difference. We wish you the very best.

Disclaimer: The details mentioned in IBM’s story are his views alone. IBM consumes the medications mentioned in his story on valid prescriptions from his endocrinologist. Please do not try any of these on your own.