Patient Story: How Ann Took Control of Her Diabetes

As an ordained minister and pastor’s wife, Pennsauken resident Ann Giddings’ faith was always unshakable. But in 1999, that faith would be tested. And the church community she’d spent her life serving would become her support system in the fight of her life. 

One evening—when she returned home from church with a high fever, severe abdominal pain, and nausea—she phoned her primary care doctor, Michael DiMarcangelo, Jr., DO. He told her to go immediately to Virtua’s Emergency Room. Ann discovered she had an inflamed pancreas, a blood infection and a dangerously high blood sugar level. 

She was both confused and frightened to learn she was diabetic. “It’s a unique disease because you may never know you have it until you get really sick,” she said. 

To help Ann feel better and get back on her feet, first, she needed to have life-saving surgery on her pancreas. 

Then, she needed to learn to manage her type II diabetes. For a while, she felt a sense of hopelessness and an inability to get the disease under control. Everything changed, however, when her doctor referred her to Virtua endocrinologist Jean Marie Davidson, DO

From the moment I walked into Dr. Davidson’s office, everybody from the receptionist to the doctor herself gave me hope,” she said. “I was so pleased to be back in the Virtua system where my treatment began years ago.” 

Under the care of Dr. Davidson and a Virtua registered dietitian, Ann’s blood sugar quickly plummeted to a healthy level. She followed every recommendation by Dr. Davidson’s team and she succeeded. 

In fact, she’s done so well that a once-discussed insulin pump was no longer needed. She was also released to the care of her primary care doctor. Today, she relies only on her oral medication and one insulin shot per day, down from five. 

Wholeheartedly dedicated to a healthy lifestyle, Ann became sugar and lactose free and maintains a nutritious diet. Her blood glucose tests are consistently excellent. 

“I’m so thankful to my doctors and feel blessed to have been in the Virtua system,” she said. “I’m no longer hopeless, and I feel I can live the rest of my days with this under control.” 

While her condition temporarily kept her from serving her church community, cards and letters of support from her congregation poured in on a daily basis giving her motivation and reason to come back strong.

Today, aside from checking her insulin level twice a day, Ann is back to her church activities and enjoys a whole new healthy lifestyle. 

“Today, I have diabetes,” she said. “But diabetes doesn’t have me.”

Updated January 30, 2017

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