I have been a patient with Dr. Cabral at Sixteenth Street for many years. Last February everything changed when she told me I had diabetes. Even though Dr. Cabral told me I was pre-diabetic at an earlier appointment, it still came as a shock. I felt devastated. I was sad and scared and didn’t know what I was going to do. I have a lot of friends and family with diabetes, some of my family has passed and some of my friends were given pills and sent home. Then Dr. Cabral told me, “don’t worry – here we do everything we can to help you, we work really well with people with diabetes here.” After hearing that, I felt ok. I felt reassured.
She then sent me right from there directly to see Alba, a diabetes education specialist. Alba explained everything to me. She told me what was happening with my body, how to use the machine to test my blood sugar and how my diet would have to change. Alba said I had to lose 10 pounds. I couldn’t believe it, it seemed impossible. Alba also told me that I would meet with a nutritionist, Georgene, and she would make sure I knew exactly how to change my diet.
At a later appointment Georgene taught me how to change my eating and cooking habits. She was so helpful and clear. Georgene talked a lot about portion sizes and adjusting recipes to change out ingredients that I shouldn’t eat. I felt like it was something I could handle. I decided that I did not want to resort to having insulin and that I was going to control my diabetes with my diet.
The first few months were really hard. I had to take out a lot of foods that I loved eating, like chocolate, cookies or crackers. I had to get used to eating more salad, less rice (I LOVE rice) and eating as much natural fruits and vegetables as possible. The problem was, that even after a few months I wasn’t losing weight. My tests registered no progress. I couldn’t believe it. After all this change and effort, still no progress. I called Alba many times worried and frustrated. She continued to reassure me everything was ok and that I had to be patient and calm. That is the amazing thing about Alba and the special thing about Sixteenth Street – it is a support you most likely won’t get anywhere else. She is a constant when everything else in your life is changing at that moment. Alba is always there for you. I can call her any time and she keeps me motivated and going. We are so lucky to have her.
After those first three months I finally started to see some results. I’ve now lost 30 pounds, much more than the original 10 that seemed so difficult. My body is used to my diet. I am in a steady rhythm and it’s become natural to me. I love to be active and moving. I walk, lift weights and do a little bit of everything. It is important to me that I feel useful and busy. I am alone, with no husband and children that are adults and very busy. If I don’t stay positive and active I feel like I will become a burden. That isn’t want I want for myself or my family.
Hearing you have diabetes is really hard. It shocks you and you feel like you don’t know how to move forward. With all the help Sixteenth Street gives you right away, it is possible to get to a place where you are happy have things controlled. I think so many people don’t do well because they don’t get all the information they need, or have the support, to actually make changes. From Dr. Cabral, to Alba to Georgene and the support groups – here to get what you need and it’s much easier to take that step forward.