I am a diabetic. That feels like I am writing, "I am an alcoholic" or "I have cancer." I know those diseases are far worse because diabetes is treatable.

But I am a man and I am manly and tough and it's hard to accept my body can no longer produce what it needs and that I can not live on food and drink alone.

If you are diabetic, you know your perspective on your manhood (or status as a woman) is not the problem. I am not giving medical advice other than to say if you don't feel well, see your doctor.

My problems began five years ago when I was denied health insurance. I was seeking to lower my premium but the results of my blood test indicated my glucose (sugar) level was too high.

My doctor's office wanted to run a second test "to be sure" but I blew it off. I had too many things to do, besides I felt good -- most of the time.

A few weeks ago, a pinched nerve in my back took me out of commission. First I was on massive doses of narcotic pain relievers and then was able to get by with massive doses of Ibuprofen.

My back no longer hurt but an MRI indicated I should see a neurosurgeon.

In his office, I filled out page after page of medical questionnaire while my dear wife looked on in amazement. She did not know I was often lightheaded or lost my balance or suffered with numb feet or sometimes had slightly blurred vision.

"He doesn't tell me anything," she said.

Our publisher had asked me, "Are you OK?" on various occasions lately.

Sure! Hey, I'm a guy.

In recent weeks I became very angry over things that shouldn't bother me. I had said inappropriate things to people I work with. I was very sad. Finally, I shut myself in my office with the door closed and avoided everyone as much as possible. I felt my life would soon be over. I really didn't think I would live 'til Christmas.

Dr. Stephanian, the neurosurgeon, said back surgery was not indicated but told me I must have my blood glucose tested and treated immediately.

Before a meal, the American Diabetes Association says a healthy blood glucose level should be 70-130 mg/dl2.

In my doctor's office, my three-month average was 250.

Leaving the doctor's office, we made a trip to the pharmacy and bought pills, a glucometer, test strips and lancets.

The next morning I awoke at 6 a.m. as usual and before eating or drinking anything I sat down with my new "toys," my new technology, and worked through the process of testing my blood sugar for the first time.

After stabbing my fingers five times and wasting two test strips, I found my blood sugar was at 246. A little better but not much. A day later it peaked at 310 before beginning to decrease.

Our doctor assures me that with exercise and medication and a healthier diet I will start to feel better and my body will actually begin to repair itself.

However, he also said I can look forward to medication for high cholesterol and the possibility of insulin by injection by the end of the year. Merry Christmas!

This is not intended as a pity party. But if I felt bad unnecessarily, perhaps I can help you or someone you know. If you don't feel well, see your doctor!

Get help! It will be worth it!

Frank Phillips works for The Paper of Montgomery County. He has reported on news throughout Central Indiana since 1994. He can be reached at fphillips@thepaper24-7.com or (765) 918-8915.