For Debora, a pediatric nurse-educator, the journey to better blood-glucose control began with a nudge from a caring coworker. Learn how continued support from pals helps her stay on track.
Debora Williams knows what works to overcome her challenges.
Hometown: Louisville, KY
Diagnosed with type 2 diabetes: 1990
For Debora Williams, RN, a pediatric nurse-educator, the journey to better blood-glucose control began with a nudge from a caring coworker. “I thought I could take care of things with lifestyle and oral medications alone,” says Debora. “I went to the gym and ate carefully, but my glucose levels just went higher and higher.”
A colleague suggested seeing an endocrinologist, and that changed everything. “We discovered that I had thyroid problems and was probably going into menopause, two situations that can affect blood sugar levels,” says Debora. “I agreed to start insulin in addition to my oral diabetes medicines.” The strategy worked. “It was a tough decision, but it was worth it. I have so much more energy now.”
Extra pep has helped Debora overcome obstacles to healthy living that even a healthcare professional faces: too much to do, too little time. “My job is fairly sedentary,” she says. “It’s a high-stress environment. Sometimes I work 11-hour days.” For a little stress-busting fun, Debora meets a friend twice a week for a water aerobics class. “I don’t like to sweat, and I love being in the water—so it’s a perfect match for me. Having an exercise date with someone ensures that we’ll both be there, no matter what.”
Debora often hosts lunchtime health lectures at the hospital, which means her eating schedule can get a little off track. On busy days, a couple of crackers with peanut butter get her through until she can eat her regular meal.
TIP: When a meal is delayed, snack on 1 Tbsp. of reduced sodium peanut butter with 5 whole wheat crackers. Then enjoy a balanced meal ASAP.
Debora’s husband, Dennis, has also been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Together, the couple enjoy fruit salads for dessert (“we love apples”) and vegetables like eggplant, green beans, and portobello mushrooms.
“Stress definitely raises my blood sugar,” says Debora. “I’ll talk with a friend to feel better.” For diabetes questions, she consults her coworker, who is a diabetes educator. And for advice about food, she turns to her father. “My dad’s a doctor and he’s very committed to healthy eating—lots of fruit and vegetables, very little meat and fat. The people in my life really help me stay on track.”