Featured Article Contributed by: Linda A. Wilmer, 67 of Crisfield, MD
For the past two years during my annual physicals with my primary care doctor he told me that I needed to “watch” my sugar. I really didn’t realize the importance of what that meant or just how to approach this. I thought eating a smaller portion of ice cream every night and saying “no” to an occasional dessert was cutting back.
On September 14, 2016, I had my most recent annual physical. Apparently, I was successfully “watching” myself become a Type 2 diabetic. My doctor informed me that my A1C level was 6.8 and my fasting glucose was 116. I really didn’t understand what these numbers meant but when the doctor started to talk about taking medicine, I asked if he would allow me to take the four months until my next check up to try to control this with diet and exercise. He agreed with this plan.
I say “plan”, but I really didn’t know where to begin. I walked out of the doctor’s office with a blank slate. I had only heard of other people with diabetes going on special diets to get their condition under control. I was somewhat in shock and a bit embarrassed that I had neglected my health this way and I was determined to do what I could to try to make it right. I began my search on the internet and of course there is an abundance of information there. There’s so much information, in fact, that I was immediately overwhelmed. I knew I could not sift through this by myself.
Then I remembered that some months back I had seen an advertisement in our local newspaper, The Crisfield-Somerset County Times, from the Somerset County Health Department. They were offering a program on managing prediabetes. I called and fortunately a new class had just begun. My first class was quite an eye opener. I learned of the long term effects of diabetes, how it can cause so many serious health problems, signs of diabetes (some of which I have had but didn’t recognize), and types of diabetes. It finally sunk in that diabetes is a disease. I weighed in my first night at 137.6 lbs.
Signing up for this class is probably one of the best things I have ever done for myself. I have learned valuable information in every class. The materials that were provided were abundant and useful. I am still in awe of the quality of this program. It gives suggested menus, how to shop for food, how to prepare food, suggests exercises, and how to change your lifestyle to find time to exercise…to name a few things. It covers the total body as well as keeping the mind healthy. The comradery and sharing of stories with the other members of the class made this journey very enjoyable. Oh…and did I mention that all of this is absolutely FREE.
But you might be asking…does this program really work? At the end of the 16 weeks I weighed in at 122.8 lbs. (a loss of 14.8 lbs). More important, my A1C went from 6.8 to 5.9 and my fasting glucose went from 116 to 97. I am thrilled, but realize that this is only the beginning to the rest of my life with a healthy lifestyle.
I am so grateful to the Somerset County Health Department and my super qualified instructor for being there for me.