In his new book, The Candy In My Pocket, international designer John Robert Wiltgen invites readers to join him on the roller coaster ride of his unbelievable life and battles with Type 1 diabetes.

The Candy In My Pocket

John Robert Wiltgen asks his readers to imagine working as an architectural designer and becoming legally blind. You must pay your employees every week, rent is due on your office, and you have a mortgage on a building you are renovating. How would you proceed? Oder you have kidney disease that eventually calls for a transplant. Or, at the age of 30, you receive a heart disease diagnosis and are told that you have had multiple silent heart attacks. If you had to have your leg amputated after battling cellulitis and osteomyelitis for 20 years, how would you cope?

The Candy In My Pocket, New Memoir About The Wild And Crazy Life Of A Type 1 Diabetic
The Candy In My Pocket by John Robert Wiltgen

The following are just a few of the amazing questions that are answered in the compelling memoir of John Robert Wiltgen: The Candy in My Pocket. International designer Wiltgen invites readers to join him on the roller coaster ride of his incredible life. While establishing a highly sought-after design firm with projects all over the United States, Canada, Mexico, and even Africa, the author battled numerous debilitating Type 1 diabetes (T1D) complications.

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John Robert Wiltgen

When Wiltgen was eight years old, he was told he had T1D. His parents were informed, along with many others who were discovered at the time, that he would not live to be 40.

Wiltgen, a modern-day Renaissance man, describes his brave and amazing experiences since his diagnosis. He effortlessly blends his journey with the extraordinary difficulties he faced while embracing his design world, leaving the reader wanting more with each chapter. It’s a must-read that can’t be skipped.

Despite horrifying circumstances, critics describe The Candy In My Pocket as an inspiring but irreverent story about designing your best life.

Type 1 Diabetes

In his memoir, he documents his 40 years as an award-winning designer who was commissioned by famous people, world leaders, and other notables; his (covert) battle with diabetes, which is debilitating and nearly fatal; and the struggle he had to keep hold of himself and the people he cared about.

When Zsa Zsa Gabor told Wiltgen that he should be on stage, he was the first to know that his life would be surprising. After that, Sid Caesar advised him that comedy cannot exist without tragedy. Wiltgen has learned over time that they were both correct.

When Wiltgen was 18 years old, he set up his own residential design business and never looked back, even when he couldn’t see.

In his early 20s, he fought diabetic retinopathy for four years and won. He was informed a year later that he required a kidney transplant. It was performed at the University of Minnesota, and it is still working 36 years after surgery! He was told it would last 12 to 15 years by the surgeons, but they were wrong. In his 30s, he got heart disease, then he wrestled with Charcot foot, cellulitis, and osteomyelitis, which led to an amputation below the knee. Wiltgen later battled pulmonary fibrosis and squamous cell carcinoma.

The Candy In My Pocket, New Memoir About The Wild And Crazy Life Of A Type 1 Diabetic
John Robert Wiltgen

Additionally, he overcame COVID in April 2020, when no one was aware of it. He wouldn’t let the doctors into his room. They called him instead to inquire about how I was doing.

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Wiltgen’s Life

However, his memoir is filled with outrageous tales that are incredibly entertaining. His life has been marred by a number of tragedies, but it also has been marred by exciting personal and professional adventures, cameo appearances by stars like Jane Seymour, Timothy Hutton, Angelina Jolie, Sean and Robyn Wright Penn, Steve Harvey, John Cusack, the former Governor and First Lady of Lagos State, who is now running for President of Nigeria, and Jesus.

He has also appeared on HGTV, NBC, FOX, WTTW, and other networks. More than 200 newspapers and magazines, in addition to the hardcover coffee table books featuring his work, have featured his completed projects. He has won 45 awards from the industry.

According to orthopedic trauma surgeon Navid Ziran, he has performed numerous amputations for diabetic foot infections and is well-versed in the effects of diabetes on mental and physical well-being as well as overall longevity. After an amputation, the five-year mortality rate is 62%. John survived and became a well-known designer, while other people would have died. He is a perfect illustration of how the human spirit can survive and thrive in the face of overwhelming challenges. In fact, the phrase “ad astra per aspera,” which means “a crooked path leads to the stars,” is a part of his life story.

Because it demonstrates that people with kidney disease can still lead full lives, nephrologist Dr. James Paparello found The Candy In My Pocket particularly inspiring. According to him, Mr. Wiltgen’s account of how he dealt with his diagnosis, the transplant, and life afterward is more interesting and authentic than that of reality television shows. Additionally, he exemplifies the health benefits of humor.

This book was written by Wiltgen to assist individuals of all faiths and backgrounds in maintaining optimism during the worst of times, regardless of the personal or professional difficulties they are facing. Even if you don’t have diabetes or know someone who does, we all face obstacles and need examples of how to live our best lives—or at least laugh at ourselves while we try!

Find more from John Robert Wiltgen:

It is available for purchase online at Walmart, Barnes & Noble, the Book Depository, and Amazon. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation will receive a portion of the proceeds from this book’s sale.