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Take Control of Your Diabetes

My name is Tracy and I am 54 years old with adult on set diabetes. To me, being diabetic is something I need to be aware of daily and it effects my daily choices. Currently I am controlling my diabetes by diet, oral medication and exercise. My father and mother were both diabetic and they died young from renal failure as a complication to uncontrolled diabetes. They both had vision complications and my father had an amputation prior to his death. Because of my family history and own health I try to take my diagnosis seriously.

To be honest my diagnosis is scary! I want to stay healthy to spend time with my children and grandchildren. My father died before some of his grandchildren were even born. He was only 65 years old and at only 29, I was much to young to lose a parent. Back then, many of the resources we have today were not available to those living with diabetes.

For example, today, if you have Medicare, you have access to diabetic education and dietitians. Also, there is now a Diabetic Endocrinologist in Southern Utah. "What does a Diabetic Endrocrinologist do?" you may ask. They specialize in the glands of the endocrine (hormone) system. The pancreas is the gland involved in diabetes. The pancreas produces insulin, and problems with insulin are what managing your diabetes is about. One of my favorite resources is the Diabetic Self-Management Program, which we offer free of charge in the Five County area.

In 2012, I became a leader and then a Master Trainer for the Diabetic Self-Management Program, which was created at Stanford University. I like this program because they require that one or both leaders to be individuals living with diabetes. I like the concept of peers teaching peers. The class is highly interactive. There is brainstorming and within that I have learned a lot from my class members who are diabetic or are caregivers. The class has a toolbox of activities to help you with dealing with the disease. Each week we cover a new tool. I like to think of a builder building a house. He needs multiple tools to complete the house. He cannot do it with only a hammer. I think the same is true for each of us and our health. As a diabetic, I need multiple tools to help manage my health, such as breathing techniques, monitoring blood sugar levels, medication, following up with your health team and more. Being a part of the Diabetic Self-Management Program has helped me to learn these things and more! I highly encourage you to take part in this or one of our other evidence based self management programs.

Tracy HeavyRunner is our Home and Community Based Program Director.

She has been with AAA-Five County since 1996. Tracy graduated from Southern Utah University and is a Social Service Worker. Additionally, she is a certified caregiver coach through the Rosalyn Carter Institute and a Master Trainer for the Chronic Disease, Diabetes and Pain Self-Management Programs.

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