“If you want to live and be healthy, you need to follow the instructions of your physician.” These are words of wisdom from Hildria Grace. The senior citizen, a resident of East Cleveland, was diagnosed with diabetes in 2001 following results of a routine physical and blood work that revealed her high blood sugar levels.
“Miss Grace has long been one of our success stories,” says Sue Cotey, RN, CDE, certified diabetes educator at STJHC. “For many years, she has participated in our diabetes education classes and followed doctor’s orders related to diet, exercise and proper use of prescription medications to manage her blood sugar levels, though it’s not always easy.”
“I put that fear aside because my health comes first. Not only do I inject myself, but I am eating more fresh vegetables and fruits, less carbs and sugar. My blood sugar is much lower, but I will continue to eat healthy foods because I want to get off the insulin.”
While she learned to prepare her food differently from that of her family members, Hildria admits she struggled with her diet, giving in to the temptation to eat some of her favorite foods.
“Due to the challenges of maintaining a healthy diet and exercise program, and the progression of her diabetes, Miss Grace recently began an insulin treatment program,” says Nana Kobaivanova, MD, medical director at STJHC (Dr. Nana). She sees Hildria for routine checkups every three months.
“Diabetes can progress over time so these healthy behavior changes must be continued for life,” advises Dr. Nana. “People with diabetes may revert to some of their past behaviors, resulting in weight gain and insulin resistance. This may lead to a more rapid progression of the disease. Routine visits with the healthcare team may help motivate them to stay on track.”
Hildria says she was a little upset when Dr. Nana suggested she start taking insulin because she doesn’t like needles. “But I put that fear aside because my health comes first. Not only do I inject myself, but I am eating more fresh vegetables and fruits, less carbs and sugar. My blood sugar is much lower, but I will continue to eat healthy foods because I want to get off the insulin.” she says.
Thanks to her commitment to her own health and the advice of Dr. Nana and the diabetes educators at STJHC, Hildria’s blood sugar levels are under control. This allows her to maintain an active lifestyle that revolves around her church, her family, travel, line dancing and daily walks.
“I wanted to make sure that I wouldn’t have any regrets. So I thought through and processed all of that. But the answer was always the same, and I kept coming back to, 'I want to do this, I need to do this, no one is making me do this.'”