In 2009, I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. My first thought was, “I’m not taking medications.”
I believed I didn’t have to take medicine to maintain my newly diagnosed disease, and my plan was to figure out what I needed to do to avoid it the pharmacy. I knew that fighting this disease was going to be a struggle that involved not only my body, but my mind and spirit. I believe in the power of prayer and have always known that God is a healer. I believe that if I am faithful and do my part, God will do the healing.
Once diagnosed, I decided to educate myself about the disease. I researched different types of medications and food that I can eat. I talked with nutritionists about food portions, carbohydrates, vegetables, fruits, fruit juices and sugar. This was a process that took time. It’s not something I learned overnight; it took a few years. I often would become frustrated with my nutritionists because one would tell me I couldn’t eat something, but another one would say it was OK.
To me, regular exercise was an important aspect of my goal to not rely on medication to control the diabetes. I have a personal trainer with whom I work one day a week, and another three days I do a “boot camp” workout for one hour with another trainer. In working out regularly and watching what I eat, I have not had to take medications for my diabetes, I have lost weight, and I am 4 or 5 pounds away from my goal weight.
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I also had to find doctors willing to work with me and not just write prescriptions because of what my numbers suggested. I felt I should be given the opportunity to at least do my part in trying to improve my situation.
Today, I am in a place where everything is good, but I have had my ups and downs. When I look back at where I started and where I am today, I smile because I see how much I have overcome and I feel great about it. I still go for my routine checkups to check my A1C levels, which have been great so far.
The diagnosis of diabetes does not have to be a life sentence; with faith, hope, prayer and determination, you, too, can overcome diabetes.
“Medications, surgery, etc. are all but tools for a person committed to her or his health to use,” said Dr. Jan Ulbrecht, an endocrinologist with Mount Nittany Health. “Some of us do have to take medications, including medications for diabetes, but that must be as part of our own effort to be as healthy as possible. Health starts with personal commitment; health care is a resource.”