Diane Bennett, Patient Partner on our Path to Health: Diabetes study!

Meet Diane, a mother of four, grandmother of ten, and great grandmother of five! She’s also a minister, a motivational speaker, an author and a playwright…the impressive list goes on. Ironically, it wasn’t until her type 2 diabetes diagnosis a few decades ago that Diane was able to discover some of her many talents. “When I couldn’t do one thing, I could do another.” She turned gloom into a blessing and transformed into the best version of herself because she knew her life was worth fighting for.

Diabetes runs in Diane’s family. She recalls having to give her father insulin, and later in life, both her brothers and her sister also received their diagnoses. Childhood visions of people having limbs removed haunted her. “Am I next?” Diane was able to dodge it for quite some time but then her knee pain started. It progressed and impacted her ability to work. She ultimately had to leave her job and ran out of insurance. Gratefully, she connected with a wonderful doctor from a spiritual charities group who immediately tested her A1C level – 10.9. Diane thought, “This is it.” But then he asked her something that would resonate – “Do you want to live your best life?” She knew what she needed to do in order to back up off the cliff. She immediately committed to taking medication, checking her blood sugar levels, eating better and exercising – even simple chair exercises. She was participating in her health and there was still hope for her. “As days went on those words rang out – every time I didn’t want to exercise I heard those words – do I want to live my best life?” She started feeling better and getting her self-esteem back. After her double knee replacement surgery, she was introduced to another doctor who also deeply cared about people living their best lives. “When you have a doctor that really cares, their encouragement goes a long way.” Every time she goes to her doctor, she gets closer to where she wants to be with her weight and blood sugar control. She has certainly backed up off the cliff.

How does Diane do it? “Being a part of such a large family, I’ve always taken care of everyone except ME. Yet, I’ve learned what we learn when we board a plane – oxygen mask first! So now I make sure that I take the time to take care of myself so that I can help my family and others.” Diane’s piece of advice: “Know your numbers. You can guess all day but feelings aren’t facts. The only accurate way to find out about your body is through tests.” On a family trip a few years ago, Diane’s daily routine of checking her sugar levels prompted her other family members to check theirs. A few of them had high levels but Diane was able to use her knowledge and empower her family to take charge of their health. There’s no longer an elephant in the room. Many are now seeing a doctor, managing their own diabetes, and are also on their way to living their best lives.