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Patient Stories

Get inspired by the Miami Valley Hospital (MVH) Bull Family Diabetes Center patient stories.

John Gray: It’s Been 10 Years

Often we don't take a diagnosis like diabetes seriously until we realize what an effect it can have on our whole life. At age 52, John Gray knew he had type II diabetes. He'd been diagnosed a few years before, but ignored it. That was until he had triple bypass surgery. Again, his doctor brought up his diabetes and noted that it would make John's heart problems worse.

Still, John wasn't that concerned, but his wife Carolyn was. She immediately took steps to help John get his diabetes under control. John was referred to the diabetes program at MVH where he and Carolyn went for education about the disease. They surprisingly found that type II diabetes can often be controlled strictly by lifestyle change. Fortunately his blood sugar levels are in the 70s and 80s so he can avoid taking medication altogether.

The program at MVH stresses exercise as a necessity to control diabetes. John went back to his family physician for evaluation on what exercises he could do. With diabetes patients, there are concerns about exercise aggravating other medical conditions. Diabetes patients who have eye issues, for instance, should stay away from exercises that increase pressure on their eyes, like weightlifting. John had no eye trouble, so he lifts weights, works out on an elliptical trainer, and coaches the Aviator Soccer Club, a girls' select team. John has a fused knee and can't run or walk far, but he gets in all the exercise he needs for diabetes control.

A person with diabetes must always be conscious of their condition. John's own personal findings are that exercise, though vital must be dealt with cautiously. He has recommended to others to check blood glucose levels before exercise and to eat if levels are low since exercise will drop them lower. He says that things like loose-fitting socks and shoes are a necessity too, since circulation problems typically go with diabetes. As for eating, John simply watches his portion size and cut back on carbs. It's been 10 years since he started the program, and he is maintaining his diabetes just fine.