Framework

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Carlos Sanchez ignored his diabetes for 15 years and failed to take his medication. It wound up costing him part of a leg. Here, he plays catch with his nephew outside his brother's home in South Los Angeles.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

Although he lost a leg to diabetes, Carlos Sanchez says that "After this happened to me, I said, ‘My life has to continue.’”

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

Carlos Sanchez takes a bus to a grocery store to buy fruit.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

Carlos Sanchez crosses a South Los Angeles street.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

Diabetes patient Carlos Sanchez, sporting a new prosthetic leg, sits in the waiting room at T.H.E. Clinic for an appointment with a nutritionist.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

Nutritionist Gabrielle Guzman talks to Angelica Fortunato, left, about her family's eating habits.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

Charnay Winbush,17, of Los Angeles, is a diabetic and injects herself with insulin five times a day.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

Insulin syringes sit atop of the refrigerator next to boxes of cereal in Charnay Winbush's Los Angeles home.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

Charnay Winbush of Los Angeles wears bracelets identifying her as a diabetic. Her mother and grandmother also have Type 2 diabetes.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

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T.H.E. Clinic: Battling diabetes

By Anna Gorman

Carlos Sanchez, 55, ignored his diabetes for nearly 15 years, rarely going to the doctor and failing to keep up with his medication. Then in February of last year he got a sore on his foot that wouldn’t go away. After feeling weak and nauseous for days, Sanchez went to the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center emergency room, where doctors told him his diabetes was out of control and that they had to amputate his leg because of a related infection.

One recent afternoon, Sanchez, a former cook, sat in the shade outside the house where he lives with his brother and used his good leg to kick a soccer ball to his nephew. “Two points for me!,” he yelled when he got a shot past the boy. “After this happened to me, I said, ‘My life has to continue,’” he said.

Sanchez said he now takes his illness seriously, but he also admitted he fails to check his blood sugar regularly. During a clinic visit with physician assistant Francis, Sanchez proudly noted he’d been using crutches instead of a wheelchair to stay strong. Francis praised his efforts but said his blood sugar level remained too high. “You’re gonna need better control,” she said. “You can do this.”

The next month, Sanchez’s blood sugar level had improved, but he still was having trouble understanding the consequences of his diet. In a session with Guzman, he stressed he was trying to avoid sugar. But Guzman grew concerned as he described what he’d eaten the previous day: cereal, eggs and tortillas, a pear, pizza, chicken wings and cinnamon bread.

“It’s not just sugar,” Guzman said, explaining what foods diabetics must limit. “It’s fruit, milk, bread, potatoes and cereal. … You have to watch your carbs.”

About the same time, Sanchez received something that lifted his spirits and could help him get more exercise: a prosthetic leg.

“I feel like I am born again,” he said.

Read full story.

3 Comments

  1. January 6, 2013, 8:28 pm

    All these people should be on the FDA cleared Artificial Pancreas Treatment in Newport Beach across from the Hoag http://www.diabetes.net It is the first treatment to reverse the complications.

    By: Ggilbert@gmail.com
  2. March 25, 2013, 3:45 am

    Diabetes is yet another health issue that has been creeping into the population of late. Diabetes is a silent killer. It doesn't get detected that easily but in the long run it can cause serious irreversible health issues. Diabetic patients are more prone to the risk of getting infected in case of an injury resulting in serious consequences which may even result in the need to amputate the infected area.

    By: Joanne
  3. September 10, 2013, 2:01 am

    Diabetes is also called slowly move to death.This is only happened when a man uses different and heavy quantity of sugar and other stuff and does not walk daily.

    By: Ana Lydia

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