Sue Booth

Lifestyle Changes Help Patient Take Control of Diabetes

Sue Booth says she started to notice some unusual health changes in the Spring of 2017. She felt tired all the time, she was constantly thirsty and was using the restroom frequently.

By June, Booth says her health became much worse. “It got so bad I was having difficulty seeing clearly and I began having blackouts,” Booth says.

One of those blackouts came unexpectedly while Booth was sitting in her chair at work. “Embarrassingly enough, it was the president of the company who found me from what looked like I was sleeping in my chair,” she says.

Booth says she knew something was wrong. She didn’t have a primary care physician at the time, but her OurHealth benefits had just started through her job at Wilhelm Construction in Indianapolis, so she made an appointment that afternoon at MyClinic @ Greenwood Springs.

“When I went in there, I was in very bad shape,” Booth says. Her symptoms – blurred vision, excessive thirst and frequent urination – are all common signs of diabetes. A blood test revealed Booth’s A1c level measured upwards of 13. The A1c test indicates a patient’s blood sugar over the previous 90 days. A reading above 6.5 indicates diabetes, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The clinic staff suggested that Booth go to the ER that afternoon, but Booth decided to go home. To her surprise, she says a nurse checked on her over the weekend.

“It really touched me that she called just to see if I was OK because she was so concerned about me,” Booth says.

Booth began meeting weekly with the clinic staff. Together, they developed a plan designed to meet Booth’s health goals: Get her diabetes under control; lower her blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol.

“From the very first time I walked in there, I knew that they genuinely cared,” Booth says. “It wasn’t a matter of ‘this person is sick, let’s give her something to feel better.’ It was, ‘oh my gosh, this person is really sick. I’m really concerned about her and we’ve got to make this better.’”

The clinic nurse had Booth keep a journal of her blood sugar levels and at the end of the week they would go through each entry to gauge her progress. “She’d say, ‘Oh this one is really good. What did you do between this one and this one that caused the drastic change,’” Booth says.

A health coach gave Booth information on improving her diet. She cut out fast food, began counting carbs and cooking recipes she found on a website for diabetics. To get more exercise, Booth took walks around her neighborhood and worked out at the YMCA.

Booth says her lifestyle changes paid off, and over time she started to feel better. Her vision improved, and she felt comfortable driving again. She credits her health turnaround to the support and encouragement from the clinic staff.

“They call me their rockstar,” Booth says. “I think, if I am their rockstar, it’s only because they are my back-up band. I never would have gotten through this as well as I did in the time period that I did without them. I know that for a fact.”

Booth says that over a period of 15 months, she reduced her A1c level to 5.2, which falls below the prediabetic range; she lost significant weight and her cholesterol is now in a normal range for the first time in 20 years.

“It’s been a combination of persistence, diet and exercise, and paying attention to what they told me,” Booth says. “They never once steered me wrong. They never once told me to do something without explaining their position on it. I never felt preached to. They always made me feel like it was just about me.”