Thankful for the Opportunity for Better Health

November 22, 2017

Thanksgiving is here and I hope that you are enjoying a day filled with family, good food, and maybe a nap before the football games. It’s a day we often consider the events of the year, from traditional gatherings to the surprises each year holds. All these things impact our lives, and we grow from these experiences. Today, I’d like to share some thoughts from people in our community that are thankful for the opportunity for better health through becoming more educated about their diabetes.

Maggie was frustrated with her blood sugars being high all the time and was worried about developing complications. “I needed help, so my doctor referred me to Dr. Reddy [at Wilson Endocrinology],” she said. “He changed my medication plan to something that worked better and sent me to see you [the diabetes educator]. I learned that testing more often gave me more information. I saw where I was going wrong with food choices. I also met with Mrs. Kay [dietitian] and learned more about meal planning.”

Maggie is excited that her A1C went from 10 percent to 7.9 percent after making changes in her medication, diet, and exercise. “Dr. Reddy said he was very proud of me when I went back,” she stated.  “If you are diabetic and you never got this kind of education, you should definitely ask your doctor about going.”

Diabetes can be hard to figure out on your own. Judy, a retired nurse, states “My sugar stayed over 200, even with high doses of insulin. I didn’t know how to fix it, so I asked my doctor about seeing an endocrinologist. That’s when I met Dr. Reddy. He changed my insulin and referred me to you [diabetes educator] to learn how to use it safely and balance it with my meals.”

While she was adjusting to her new insulin routine, we talked often to review her progress. After her blood sugar was more stable, she met with Kay Johnson, outpatient dietitian at Wilson Medical Center, to learn more about meal planning.  “It was hard to change at first, but I saw it was really helping. I’m eating more fruits and vegetables, watching portions. I’ve lost weight, my cholesterol and A1C are much better now. I feel better and more in control. I’m glad I decided to ask for help,” Judy said.

It is helpful to have support from others when managing diabetes. To help meet this need, the Wilson Diabetes Education and Support Group was established in 2012.  

I am a certified diabetes educator and I coordinate eight meetings each year to educate members on diabetes-related topics including exercise, meal planning and blood sugar. Ruth, who has attended almost every meeting since the group started in 2012, said, “The value of this support group is in taking control over your own destiny. The more you know, the better you can take care of yourself.” We joke that Mrs. Ruth is the ‘president’ of the group, as she greets and welcomes members as they arrive.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to help each of these people improve their health and wish them continued success. If you are interested in improving your diabetes control, ask your provider if an endocrinology consult or diabetes education program would benefit you. Wilson Medical Center and Wilson Endocrinology look forward to helping you meet your health goals.

Martha Gurley is a registered nurse and a certified diabetes educator at Wilson Medical Center. For more information about our diabetes support group, email martha.gurley@wilmed.org.