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Woman in green nurse scrubs and Robert King, an older man, stand together in a PHN facility

The Cure Starts with Awareness: Don’t Sugarcoat Diabetes!

During the fall of 2014, Robert King, 65, was experiencing a serious lack of energy, weakness, and stinging so severe in his feet that he could barely walk.  He was also uninsured, a smoker, and overweight while working a midnight shift that caused him to have irregular sleep/wake cycles and mealtimes.  Unhappy with his well-being, he decided to seek help.King visited The Primary Health Network’s (PHN) Mercer Primary Care in Mercer, PA in November 2014.  PHN accepts those with or without insurance or the ability to pay so King knew he could get quality medical care at an affordable price.  After visits with Alysia Zeigler, MD and Timothy Fullerton, MD, he was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.  His tests revealed the following:

  • A1C of 9.0%
    • What is (Hb)A1C? Hemoglobin is the oxygen-carrying pigment that gives blood its red color and is also the predominant protein in red blood cells. Hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C) is a minor component of hemoglobin to which glucose is bound.
    • Normal A1C – below 5.7%
    • Diabetic A1C – 6.5% or above
    • Pre-Diabetic A1C – 5.7 – 6.4%


  • Blood pressure reading of 146/78 (classified as high)
    • What is blood pressure? Blood pressure is the pressure of the blood in the circulatory system. It is closely related to the force and rate of the heartbeat and the diameter and elasticity of the arterial walls. High blood pressure is called hypertension.
    • Normal – <120/<80
    • Prehypertension – 120-139/80-89
    • Hypertension Stage 1 – 140-159/90-99
    • Hypertension Stage 2 – 160+/100+
    • Hypertensive Crisis – >180/>110

 After being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, King was rather noncompliant which resulted in his diabetes being uncontrolled.  He started to work with a PHN Health Coach, Diana Keisel.  King expressed his desire to lose weight to Keisel and become healthier but she soon discovered that he lacked the necessary diabetes education and resources to make this possible.

“His work schedule made for a very different approach to diabetes management,” shared Keisel.  “We had to be aware of this and provide him with the right health education so he could live a healthy lifestyle, no matter his schedule.”

She provided King with information on when to take his medications due to his irregular work schedule, which was previously making him noncompliant in the management of his diabetes, as well as diabetic and comfort shoe options for his foot pain.  In December of 2014, King agreed to begin using Tanzeum, an injectable diabetes medication that helps control blood sugar levels, once per week.  This would help tremendously with his managing his health and his irregular work schedule.Unfortunately, Tanzeum is an extremely expensive drug and King knew he would not be able to afford it.  Knowing this could be an obstacle; Keisel did an incredible job of working with the drug representative and was able to secure a free one-year supply of Tanzeum for King.  Since test strips can also be rather expensive, the Mercer Primary Care staff worked together to acquire a free, brand-new glucometer for King that utilizes very affordable strips.In addition to helping King with his medical supplies, Keisel and the staff have also helped King lose over seventy pounds since his first visit through diet plans and teaching him to make proper diabetic choices to improve his health.  He has changed his diet by eating less and cutting out sugar as much as possible, which he is now able to easily do since it has become routine.King was extremely grateful for the dedication that the Mercer Primary Care staff showed him.  In the past, other non-PHN medical offices had refused to help him.“They do whatever they can.  They have been very supportive through this hardship,” shared King as he reflected on his care.  “If it weren’t for Diana Keisel, I would have never lost all this weight.”The Primary Health Network also worked with the Mercer Pharmacy to provide King with medication organization.  He had bottled medications, packaged medications, high blood pressure and cholesterol medications and oral diabetic medications to take every day.  Through Mercer Pharmacy’s Carefill Packaging, they were able to combine all of his medications into pouches that direct him when to take them and at what time of day to take them, thus simplifying his medication management.He now comes in for office visits every three months for A1C readings and checkups, while meeting with Keisel as necessary.  His wife even became a Mercer Primary Care patient through his journey.  The Primary Health Network loves having King as a patient and we are so grateful that we could give him information to help change his life for the better.“I am going to get better,” shares King, as he smiles when asked how he feels now that he is on the track for better health.Robert-King-PHN

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