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“Change Your Life” Saved My Life

Kerry Viau – Lab Results:  Scary to Amazing

X-Ray Tech/DeLand, FL/Age: 56

Time for Change: My doctor said I would soon need to go on insulin for diabetes, and I had a scary treadmill cardio test – my heart threw an extra beat

Moment of Triumph: I no longer need diabetic medications. Also, I went for a follow-up cardio stress test. The person performing it looked at me like “Why are you here?”

 

For 12 years I worked 2 jobs, seven days a week as a single mother of 3. Stress eating and out-of-a-box cooking was my way of life. My family and I had a running joke that I used to be a child runway model, but I grew out instead of up.

This program was a lifesaver for me. I didn’t realize the condition I was in. My life was about raising my kids and work. That meant no time for Kerry. Then, I came to Florida Hospital where I could work doubles on the weekends, having weekdays off. At the same time, my two oldest children moved out on their own. So I came to a point where I could take time to focus on me – just when Change Your Life℠ was starting.

At the hospital where I work, they offered this new lifestyle disease management program they were testing out. It included two complete health assessments, gym membership, and classes on nutrition over three months. Since my doctor had just sat me down to threaten insulin for my diabetes. I figured this program was arriving just in time for me.

I had labs drawn, and did the fitness & cardio testing. During the cardio treadmill test my heart threw an extra beat – not a good thing. In the first nutrition class, we were asked questions about our current health state, and I realized I had been having shortness of breath. These test results kept me focused throughout the program. 

Over the next few months, little things clicked for me at different times that made a difference overall. For instance, the idea that it is important to take care of yourself, otherwise you can’t take care of others. Find an activity you like, so that it is a treat, not a chore. Read food labels. Don’t judge – not even yourself. Pay attention to what you eat and do. If you make a mistake you can get back on track. Don’t be a slave to the scale.

My children and boyfriend were all supportive of me throughout this process. This was important because it has caused some changes for them as well. I have been slowly learning to be a whole foods cook instead of an out-of-the-box, everything instant cook. This has taken some adjustment in their taste buds as well as mine. Plus, my daughter and I are workout buddies now. We do bike trails, hydrobike, the gym, etc…

Life still continues when you are making lifestyle changes. My boyfriend was diagnosed with cancer during this time, and started chemo treatments. This was another challenge, but I still stayed focused on maintaining the program while taking care of him.

At the end of the three months, we did the follow-up labs, fitness, and cardio testing. Here are my results:

Blood sugar levels are much better – no need for medication at all – definitely NO insulin

Breathing better – can easily do an hour on the treadmill

Cardio Treadmill test – not only did my heart perform just fine; the man administering the test looked at me like it was crazy for me to even be taking the test!

Advice for others:

Find an Activity you love

Tai Chi is my stress relief and activity of choice. Even on days I don’t feel like moving, I have to go to class, because I would be sad to miss it. It helps to clear my mind, and teaches focus. When you learn to focus in class, you can learn to focus in other areas of your life.

Don’t Get Bored

Try new workouts, recipes, bike trails… often

What is next?

Kerry is in training to be a Make A Wish Grantor- she will be working with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to help make the wishes of children with life-threatening conditions come true.