Through Adversity to Encouragement

Through Adversity to Encouragement: It can be easy to become depressed if you have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. However, for Frank Thielmann it is just another challenge – especially in light of the fact he has lost both legs to the disease.

Thielmann is 71 years of age, a car salesman, he loves to hunt and he’s lived with diabetes for 25 years. The says, “He functions well on prosthetic legs, takes insulin four times a day, religiously watches his diet, works closely with his doctors, and above all, prefers staying active to the alternative.”

Thielmann tells the publication, “I haven’t got time to sit around.” This energetic man visits St. Nicolas Hospital to monitor his diabetes and Mary Roethel, lead nurse at the St. Nicholas Diabetes Center says of Thielmann, “He actually does a very good self-management and that’s really the core of diabetes. Our goal of our certified nurse educators is they help them live well with their diabetes. Diabetes doesn’t control them, they are in control of it.”

Thielmann seems to be an ambassador of that belief. He manages his disease through diet, but he also takes multiple insulin injections each day.

It’s important to note that Thielmann was in his 40’s when diagnosed with diabetes. The report said, “About 90 percent of diabetics are Type 2 patients, which sets in at middle age. Type 1 diabetes patients are diagnosed at a much younger age. Roethel said diabetes is a ‘silent killer,’ as about a quarter of the people who have the disease are unaware they have it, and she recommends people who may be at risk, with elevated blood sugar levels, be screened for diabetes.”

Thielmann has recognized the value of friends by inviting two mentors to help keep him moving in the right direction. This means managing his diabetes so he can still enjoy bow hunting and his 4 days per week job as a salesman at a respected car dealership in Sheboygan.

To describe the alternative to the work he puts in at management of his disease Thielmann told the, “If I sat at home I’d probably be dead right now.”

He has the respect and admiration of the staff at St. Nicolas. Nurse Mary Roethel said, “He’s just been really focused and really positive. The attitude of a patient can bring to it that determination of being in control of it.”

With depression as a frequent companion to Type 2 diabetes it is valuable to see how Thielmann works through the issues related to his disease in order to thrive. It would have been easy for him to give up after the loss of both legs, but he has been determined to learn how to manage his interest in LIFE by managing his treatment of diabetes.

He has come to understand the significance of a support team who can cheer him on and hold him accountable. It may feel as if he is training for a marathon, but the truth is the team is likely one of the primary reasons he continues to be such an encouragement to others.

We search to find men and women who not only struggle with diabetes, but also have important stories that can serve to inspire when we may be thinking that giving up is a great alternative. There is life beyond diabetes. The treatment and managed care you attend to is simply the best way to ensure a shot at enjoying all the things you really do care about.