As early as I can remember, I grew up watching my grandmother, my mom’s mother, eat certain foods on a strict schedule and give herself insulin injections. I never heard her complain but I saw how much work it was for her to control her diabetes.
When I was pregnant with my third child, towards the end of my pregnancy, I failed my glucose tolerance test and had to start monitoring my blood sugar regularly. I was able to keep it under control with a strict diet and didn’t have to take insulin for the final weeks of my pregnancy. Four years went by without any issues, and then I became pregnant with my fourth child. I felt different from very early on in the pregnancy. I informed my doctor that I wasn’t feeling “right” and that I had developed gestational diabetes late into my third pregnancy and he ordered testing immediately. I had severe gestational diabetes.
An attempt was made to control my sugars with a strict diet. It was unsuccessful and I had to begin taking insulin shots. I injected myself with insulin four times a day, and I ate six times a day not counting the snack that I had to set an alarm to remember to eat in the middle of the night.
It was a long and stressful 38 weeks of worrying that my body would damage the child growing inside me. I was induced a couple weeks early and delivered a happy and healthy eight lb., 13-oz. beautiful baby boy. I was so thankful to have had a team of healthcare professionals to care for me and help me achieve that outcome.
The diabetes went away after the birth of my son but I was warned that I had an increased risk of developing diabetes and to keep an eye on it as I got older. Fast forward ten years. I had gone to see my physician for a yearly physical which included routine bloodwork. My A1C results came back at 6.4 and the range for diabetes starts at 6.5. Lucky for me that I have a caring doctor who was willing to discuss options. He said that I could start on a daily medication, which I was totally against. He said there was another option–was the Pre-Diabetes Prevention Program offered at Baptist Health. I said to sign me up for any and everything that was available to keep me for being on a daily medication and to prevent that diagnosis of diabetes.
I started my first class on January 8, 2015, and that was the day I began my journey to a healthier me. My class started with 18 members, folks like me who were wanting to take the steps necessary to achieve a better, healthier life. We met every week until June and after that, we met once a month.
Yes, we weighed in and talked about “dieting,” but for me and most of the others in my class, this was more of a lifestyle change. I know that sounds cliché, but it has changed the way I look at food and will look at food, for the rest of my life. I have lost 35 pounds and am dedicated to eating right and getting the exercise that my body needs to function at its fullest potential.
My class lost, in total, 259 pounds! I haven’t had my A1C checked since March but it had already gone down to 5.9. I am so thankful to Baptist Health and the entire group of ladies in the diabetes education department, for taking an interest in the prevention of a disease that can do so much damage to a person’s life. I couldn’t have accomplished all that I have without their hard work, support, encouragement and dedication. Fighting diabetes before it gets a hold on you just makes so much sense.
Find out more about Baptist Health Diabetes Services today.