Highland Seeking Participants for "Living with Diabetes" Saturday Classes
April 18, 2011
- Sessions scheduled from 9:30 a.m. to noon, April 30, May 7, 14, 21
- To register, call (585) 341-7066
Sally Norduist, RN, Program Coordinator
Charlotte MacGowan of Rush did not know she had diabetes until she suffered a potentially fatal complication. The 56-year-old engineer went into ketoacidosis and was rushed to Highland Hospital for treatment. Doctors stabilized her condition, but the diagnosis of diabetes left MacGowan confused and, at times, depressed. Just five months later, she credits Highland’s Diabetes HealthSource and its group classes for giving her the support and tools she needs to control the disease.
"I learned I can live a better life," said MacGowan, who is one of about 46,000 adults in Monroe County who lives with diabetes. "I now look at my diagnosis as an opportunity."
Sally Nordquist, R.N., C.D.E., M.S.Ed., the program coordinator at the Diabetes HealthSource, says hundreds have learned how to manage the disease through classes and one-on-one appointments. Nordquist helped MacGowan get started after MacGowan left the hospital.
At that time, MacGowan said she became depressed about the disease; her life had changed dramatically. She went from having almost no health concerns to planning her day around taking insulin, monitoring her glucose levels and watching what she ate.
But instead of letting her disease control her life, she turned to the Diabetes HealthSource where she received one-on-one nutrition and counseling services. MacGowan also registered for the program's "Living with Diabetes" classes for January. During those sessions, she learned how to better manage her diabetes. Certified Diabetes Educators, like Nordquist, were available to make recommendations on healthy food choices, physical activity and stress management. In addition, guest speakers and experts in exercise, medications and emotions helped MacGowan and her classmates develop personalized plans.
"I learned this is a common disease," MacGowan said. "There is a lot of knowledge and expertise out there, but there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ way to treat diabetes."
And just as important, MacGowan received support and guidance from her classmates.
"I realized I’m not alone," she said. "I found people who have what I have understood me better than anyone else can."
MacGowan says her attitude has improved. She is now committed to eating less ‘junk’ and exercising regularly with hopes of potentially reversing her condition.
"The most difficult part is all the planning I discovered I needed to adopt new habits," she said. "But I learned from the Diabetes HealthSource there is hope. There is lots of hope."
The Diabetes HealthSource is offering "Living with Diabetes" classes from 9:30 a.m. to noon, Saturdays, April 30 and May 7, 14 and 21. The sessions, covered by most insurers with co-pay, will be held in the Calihan Conference Room at Highland. Each participant can bring a support person, and parking is free. For more information or to register, call (585) 341-7066.