Making Time for You: A Patient Story

By Sarah Senn

As a wife, mother and career woman, Pamela Lawson knows just how hard it can be to find time for yourself. She works as a Senior Scientist for General Mills, Inc., promoting health and wellness initiatives. However, between a busy family schedule and working a high-stress job, Pamela has sacrificed a healthy meal more than once.

In May 2008, Pamela made an appointment to see her endocrinologist. She was somewhat overweight and knew the risks that it posed to her health. Pamela was also exhausted and lacked energy. Upon initial evaluation, her physician suspected that she had prediabetes. However, test results revealed that Pamela had type 2 diabetes.

The diagnosis came as a “big shock” to her. Pamela had a Master’s degree in nutrition, and she had spent years teaching the Hispanic population about preventing diabetes through a healthy diet and exercise plan. For Pamela, the diagnosis also hit close to home because her husband had been struggling with type 1 diabetes since his twenties, and Pamela’s father was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in his seventies.

“I took the diagnosis pretty hard,” she recalls. “I preached about the importance of nutrition and yet didn’t take the time to take care of myself.”

Soon after her diagnosis, Pamela made a commitment to herself not to let diabetes stop her in her tracks. Her endocrinologist prescribed medication to control blood sugar levels and manage her diabetes. While the medicine helped Pamela’s condition, it made her feel nauseated at times. But she decided that the short-term discomfort was worth the long-term rewards of preventing cardiovascular disease and other complications.

After talking with her endocrinologist, Pamela realized that she needed to make time for her health. She made necessary lifestyle changes to reverse the effects of diabetes. Pamela consciously watches her diet and exercises regularly. At 55, she admits that it’s somewhat harder to lose weight, but she is committed to making healthy choices. Since her diagnosis, Pamela has lost 60 lbs., and she has more energy. Her A1c is just below 6 percent.

While she says that it was not easy to accept her diagnosis at first, Pamela has learned to set short-term goals that she can obtain. She is finding time to focus on her family, her career and her health. When it comes down to it, Pamela explains, “You have to put yourself first once in a while and take care of yourself because, ultimately, no one else can take care of you.”