Looking back over the years, Barbara Bachar, 73, from Oregon, Ohio, says she saw some of the signs.
She had a history of diabetes in the family. Her fourth child was a large baby, which could have been an indicator of gestational diabetes.
And then there was her health screenings – given each year as a benefit of her employment. Barbara’s screening results showed elevated blood sugar in the diabetes range. But with four young children, a busy life and really no understanding of any sense of urgency, Barbara did nothing about it.
“I was just not knowledgeable at the time,” Barbara shares. “It’s only looking back that I see the signs. I’m sure, if someone at the time would have mentioned it to me, I may have done something but it just wasn’t a thing. Instead, I found out years later.”
Barbara remembers the first solution presented to her for diabetes management was medication. She was also more aware of her diet and knew that she should cut down on her self-declared vice – soda pop.
For many years, she managed her diabetes with medication and a daily routine. But as she neared retirement, she knew that routine was about to change.
Diabetes self-management education and support helps those living with diabetes develop the skills and gain confidence in managing their diabetes. Our program offers education to adults with type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes and prediabetes. Sessions can take place in a group or individually and are offered both in-person and virtually through MyChart.
“Whether newly diagnosed or living with diabetes for years, diabetes management programs are designed to empower those with diabetes to manage their blood sugar and cope with challenges that arise in a safe and supportive environment,” Virginia “Jeannie” Wagner, MS, RDN, LD, CDCES, BC-ADM, coordinator of the St. Vincent program, shares.
Barbara started the program and became involved in all it had to offer. She found it so helpful that even now, years and years later, she continues to stay involved by volunteering with the program to do clerical work for a few hours a week.
“Being in that atmosphere, where everybody is focused on the same goal, continues to be helpful,” she shares. “You don’t feel like you’re coming here because you’re a bad person, or because you ate the wrong things or did the wrong things. It’s all very positive and encouraging.”
Because she was so pleased with the results she saw, Barbara shared her story about diabetes self-management education and support (DSMES) on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website focused on The Diabetes Journey to Purpose. She wanted to share the lessons she learned about how a supportive environment can lead to living successfully with diabetes.
A grandmother of seven, Barbara found her motivation for living healthy in the fact that she wants to spend as much time as possible with her family. As she reflects on her journey, she’s thankful to have found our ministry’s diabetes management program and continues to learn even as she helps others tackle life with diabetes.
“I want to remain healthy; I have seven grandchildren, I want to be here for them,” she says. “It’s just a great program. You get a foundation and keep building.”
Do you live in the Toledo area? If you or a loved one is one of the 37 million Americans living with diabetes, ask your health care provider for a referral to our diabetes education program. For more information call 419-251-4505.
Learn more about the diabetes management and care services we provide at Mercy Health.