Thursday, November 08, 2012
It seems like there is a common theme going around on the blogs of Spark members that have been here for awhile. We no longer just want to lose weight to look good, but it seems we all have another larger more motivating factor in our lives. Be it a medical condition you want to get under control, wanting to increase your longevity to be with your kids longer or just plain wanting to feel better about yourself, in the end it is reasons like these that help us keep the weight off. For me personally I have been stuck in the "wanting to lose weight to just look better" mind frame...until last night.
I have mentioned in a few other blog posts that I am currently in medical school studying to be a doctor. One night a week I volunteer at a low-cost clinic for the uninsured. Last night I had a patient who truly inspired me to be the healthiest I can be after seeing the troubles that diabetes has put him through. Diabetes is one of those diseases that is really tough to get patients to receive treatment for because initially you feel pretty good until things start to go really bad. My patient was the perfect example of this. He was morbidly obese, had high blood pressure and had consistently high blood glucose readings for many years, but because of lack of insurance was unable to take medication. Additionally, since he had been feeling OK he never pursued treatment further. Then one day about a month ago his car broke down and he had to walk three miles to a gas station. The many years of diabetes had taken away much of the sensation in his feet and he was unable to recognize that he was developing blisters while walking. By the time he made it to his destination, the entire area of skin on the ball of both feet had separated from the underlying tissue. Because of his lack of insurance, my patient decided to self-treat his injuries. Fast-forward to present day, one foot has partially healed with much of his skin still peeling, while the other has developed a huge diabetic pressure ulcer that extends a whole centimeter into his foot. Luckily for my patient he came to the health fair that the clinic I volunteer at was holding this past weekend and he decided to make an appointment. We were able to run a battery of tests, prescribe a variety of medications that are on the affordable $4 list at various pharmacies and schedule nutritional counseling that will bring his diabetes under control.
While my patient's life is being changed for the better, his visit served to benefit more than just himself. I for the first time saw just how devastating diabetes can become and it is definitely a place I never want to be. I have a strong family history for diabetes, so I will be battling my own genes partially, but diet, exercise and maintaining a proper weight are your best chances at avoiding diabetes. This experience in my life has given me a new motivation for success and to finally reach my healthy goal weight.