Michelle Rose was diagnosed with type two diabetes when she was 22-years old. "I was like it's just another thing, no big deal, but it is a big deal," said Rose.
About a year ago, Michelle's diabetes worsened; leading to the amputation of her toe. "I did not take care of my diabetes that was my big mistake, and I'm paying for it now," said Rose.
After her amputation Michelle was infected with MERSA, and was hospitalized for six weeks. "I was laying there in the hospital, there was many times I was thinking is this how people with cancer feel?" said Rose.
But she says the worst part was losing her big toe. "It was like a part of you died because you lost a part of yourself and it's nothing I want to go through again ever again and I wouldn't wish it on anybody," said Rose.
"We can prevent further damage, but we can't reverse the damage that's already been done," said Doctor Khachikian. She works with diabetes patients daily and she says untreated, diabetes can hurt your body in many ways.
"It causes damage to your heart, your kidneys, your eyes and your nerves," said Khachikian.
But she says with life style changes such as exercising and eating healthy, you can take control of the disease. "We want you to live to be 90 or a hundred and be a good 90 or a hundred so you have your quality of life so it's not that you're blind or that you've lost your toes," said Khachikian. "You can get around you can take care of yourself you can do what you need to do."
And for patients like Michelle, there are still challenges to come. "It's going to be a continuous battle for the rest of my life," said Rose.
Diabetes can be a genetic issue, and Dr. Khachikian recommends getting your blood sugar levels tested once a year especially if you have a family history.
Diabetes symptoms can include excessive thirst, fatigue, unexplained weight loss and hunger, and frequent urination.