TAYLOR, Mich. (WXYZ) - John and Brenda Goins want people to know that you can have a long and healthy life after being diagnosed with Diabetes.
But Brenda admits when she was diagnosed about 15 years ago, she tried to ignore it.
"You just think maybe it'll go away," said Goins.
John received the same Type 2 diagnosis more than 23 years ago.
"I didn't take it as serious as I should have," he recalled.
And his health paid the price from head-to-toe. He's dealt with congestive heart failure, retinal detachment, neuropathy, and then kidney failure.
He thought he was going to die after he was lying in the hospital dealing with his failing kidney.
"You don't know if you're going to be able to get a kidney," he said. "They put you on a long list."
His future was bleak.
Then his brother-in-law stepped in. He donated a kidney to save John's life.
That was the moment John Goins decided to start taking care of himself.
Goins started visiting Kelly Mann – a nurse practitioner at Henry Ford Health System.
She truly understands what her patients are going through.
"I have diabetes, too," said Mann. "Not only do I teach them what's necessary for them to be healthy, but I live it each and every day of my life as well."
She helped make adjustments with John's insulin and discovered just a year ago that he'd been misdiagnosed.
He really had Type 1 Diabetes – not Type 2.
Type 1 is when your body does not produce insulin.
Type 2 is when your body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin.
More people are diagnosed with Type 2.
Type 1 is usually diagnosed in children or in young adults.
The Goins' story is one that is especially poignant here in November -- Diabetes Awareness Month.
The numbers are sobering.
- 25-point-8-million Americans have diabetes
- That's more than 8-percent of the population
- CDC estimates 7-million Americans have undetected diabetes
- From 1995 - 2010, 42 states saw diabetes cases grow more than 50%
A FAMILY AFFAIR
John and Brenda aren't the only ones in their family living with diabetes.
Their son Andy and their grandson Andrew were both diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when they were younger. They each live with an insulin pump.
John Goins has now joined them. He said he can tell the difference.
"I feel so much better. [I have] so much more energy," explained Goins.
Brenda watched her husband's progress and came with him to every appointment.
Finally, she admitted she wanted help, too.
"How could I help him if I can't help myself," she said.
She started having an appointment with Kelly Mann after each of her husband's appointments.
Then she started cooking healthier foods, watching portion sizes, and making better choices.
"We keep and drink a lot of water," she said pointing to a shelf in her refrigerator filled with bottled water.
She said they have cut potato chips and regular pop from their grocery list among other items.
She is also taking her medications regularly and exercising daily. She goes to a gym every day after work.
All that effort has paid off.
Brenda Goins has lost 68 pounds in the last year.
"I know I tried to deny it for a long time, and I feel so much better than I've ever felt," she smiled.
"We're doing good – the best we've ever done since we've been married."
And they are doing it together.
The American Diabetes Association lists these symptoms in hopes more people will detect the disease early and decrease their chances of developing complications of diabetes:
Type 1 Diabetes
- Frequent urination
- Unusual thirst
- Extreme hunger
- Unusual weight loss
- Extreme fatigue and Irritability
Type 2 Diabetes
- Any of the Type 1 symptoms
- Frequent infections
- Blurred vision
- Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
- Tingling/numbness in the hands/feet
- Recurring skin, gum, or bladder infections
See your doctor immediately if you have one or more of these symptoms.
To help reduce your risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, click here to see the American Diabetes Association's recommendations.