An attitude of gratitude

Time to fly

The doctor is in

New pants

It’s not you, it’s me

Knowledge is power

What motivates you

Paramedics and the gym

Weigh-In Day

Exercise and gym towels
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Dana Weston is a Novant Health employee who has taken our mission to help our communities get better and stay healthy to heart…and extended it to her own family. When Dana learned that her mom, Del, had been diagnosed with dangerously high glucose levels (indicating a potential diabetes diagnosis), she leapt into action, moving her mom from St. Louis  to Charlotte, N.C. so that they could tackle this condition together during a 30-day “boot camp” designed by Dana. And now she’s sharing their journey with all of us. Using the insights that she has gained as a Novant Health employee, along with the input and advice of our physicians, wellness coaches and diabetes navigators, Dana is helping her mom reclaim her health and her life.

The doctor is in

Nov 26

Written by:
11/26/2013  RssIcon

Learning how our bodies work has been an eye-opening, and occasionally overwhelming, experience for my mom and me over the last few weeks. The human body is an amazingly complex organism with thousands of interrelated systems that work together to keep us functioning. Despite my medical degrees from Google College and WebMD University, my mom and I decided to sit down with a board-certified physician to discuss how diabetes affects all these different systems.

Novant Health medical group family medicine physician Chan Badger, MD, treats many patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes. We talked about the denial that leads to diabetes mismanagement ("the less I know, the better, because then I don’t have to worry about it"), the importance of "shopping the perimeter" at the grocery store, and the impact that having hemoglobin A1C levels above 6.5 has on the human body (it can lead to blindness, kidney disease, neuropathy…all scary stuff!). If you have not sat down and talked in detail with your physician about your condition, you are missing out on a key piece of your care! If you don’t understand it, how can you fix it?

One of the most interesting topics of conversation was about the ongoing evolution of modern medicine. Dr. Badger explained in plain English how metformin, the medicine my mom currently takes, works. The liver makes glucose during periods of fasting (like when we are sleeping) to provide the cells with the energy needed to function. After we eat, the pancreas sends out insulin to absorb the ingested glucose. Once that insulin is released, the liver should stop or slow down its release of glucose. With prediabetes and diabetes , the liver has often become insulin resistant, failing to sense the increase of insulin. Metformin works on the liver, helping it become more sensitive to insulin and improving its communication with the pancreas. Dr. Badger shared with us the development of new, exciting drugs for diabetes that, for example, will work in the digestive tract, decrease appetite, and mimic healthy body functions to keep glucose low. It was exciting to hear that research to revolutionize the treatment of diabetes is ongoing. It gives us hope that this does not have to continue to be a silent killer.

Dr. Badger left my mom with a few tips for success once she returns home:

1)      Meal planning is key: Don’t fly by the seat of your pants, because it is too easy to make the wrong choices.
2)      Be confident: You didn't get to where you are overnight, and you won’t return from there overnight either! Believe in the long-range goals.
3)      Eat: You have to give your body the energy it needs to function and the nutrients it needs to repair itself. If you don’t eat, your body will go into starvation mode, storing more fat. The important thing is to "eat to live, not live to eat."
4)      Stay active: Exercise and movement is vital to longevity. In addition, work on your flexibility through stretching, yoga or other classes.
5)      Get connected: Find ways to connect to others in your community through civic groups, volunteerism or church activities. Isolation is just as detrimental to your health as inactivity.

I guess it’s true what they say: Doctor knows best.

Today’s mantra: What you do today can improve all of your tomorrows.

Chan Badger, MD,  is a board-certified family medicine physician with Novant Health Northern Family Medicine in Greensboro, NC and Novant Health Northwest Family Medicine in Oak Ridge, NC.

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1 comment(s) so far...


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Re: The doctor is in

Dana and Del - Congratulations to you both! What an accomplishment this boot camp has been, and it is incredible how much you've learned! Knowledge here is power, and it must be such a great feeling to know that you can do this! Keep it up, you are both so inspiring!

By Andrea Bartoszewicz on   11/26/2013

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Re: It’s not you, it’s me
Extremely powerful letter with a lot of heart put into it! Amazing progress only a few short weeks and I'm sure this is only the beginning from the words from your letter. Congrats Del!

Re: Time to fly
Congratulations!! You are armed with information and resources and also have a success story worth sharing! What an inspiration! Keep flying high!

Re: New pants
Keep up the good work! And remember, salad is the main meal. Don't let the food industry continue to fool you ie: The beef council, The dairy industry into thinking that you need to eat meat and dairy, which is the worst food you can eat, to stay healthy and get the 'protien' you need. Have you ever seen a skinny, weak hippopotamus or gorilla? They are vegatarians! The calcium in milk is mostly blocked by the fat so your body can't absorb it. Animal protien is a huge causative factor in arthritis. Anyway,good job and stay the course. Btw; Be careful about drugs as they are all toxic to some degree and doctors don't know what they should about them. Use food as a drug,preventative agent.

Re: The doctor is in
Dana and Del - Congratulations to you both! What an accomplishment this boot camp has been, and it is incredible how much you've learned! Knowledge here is power, and it must be such a great feeling to know that you can do this! Keep it up, you are both so inspiring!

Re: A healthy kidnapping
Thank you so much for sharing. My husband found out he was diabetic last year when he ended up in ICU. His blood sugar was 1322. How he survived that I do not know. But he did and the last year has been an uphill battle all the way. I have gotten discouraged with his lack of concern (after the initial shock wore off). But you have given me hope and have lit a fire under me once again to try my best to encourage him once again that he can do this. Thank you so much.

Re: What motivates you
Thanks, I didn't cry until I read this one.... lol KEEP IT UP!

Re: It’s not you, it’s me
"Yes, I have already found someone else. Me." Says Del Weston. 2 words, LOVE IT!

Re: It’s not you, it’s me
60 minutes on the bike!? How fantastic! This letter seems like such a great exercise, and I see your sincerity in every word. You're in the home stretch on this boot camp journey, but I know this will be just the beginning for you. Congratulations!

Re: New pants
Ok so I am SOOOOO late {3 weeks to be exact} coming into this, however let me first say how surpised I am NOT at you two phenomenal women! Del and Dana, you both hold such a significant place in my heart and I must say that I am behind you both 110%!!! Heck, I am even joining you!
Del: 14.8 pounds in 3 weeks?!?! YOU GO GIRL!!! That is amazing! I am so proud of you.
Dana: Did you really have to add in the bit about her curlers? lol And, YES they made a huge difference, whoop whoop! New pants are great, but a healthier you is even better! I do believe that I have found my new favorite read. Keep the updates coming!
Love it and love you both dearly!
Georgia :-)

Re: It’s not you, it’s me
Way to go! What a bold stance you're taking, and we are all so proud of you! Keep it up!