Health Success and Self-reliance

Oliver's Story

“When I started my health journey over a year ago, I was obese with high blood pressure, high blood sugar and A1C. At age 40 years old, I was diagnosed with borderline diabetes. By age 50 I was full-fledged diabetic and was using a lot of medication to control my blood sugar. I determined my goal was to lose weight until I was 188 pounds, that would bring my BMI classification down from obese to overweight.

One thing that really influenced me was a friend who was really dedicated and knew about exercise and diet. I started walking, watching educational TV programs and spent time getting involved in many United Way supported services at Porter-Starke Services. I regularly attended my HealthLinc appointments, participated in the SIMPLE wellness group, trained for the Turkey Trot, went to Porter Diabetes Support Group and Fagen Pharmacy Diabetes Education class and became actively involved in the wellness cooking group and InSHAPE program. Another thing that lifted me up was feeling appreciated by others about my weight loss. When they noticed, they still accepted me, even if I didn’t want to have junk foods, which I still crave.

Some things I learned were the importance of taking care of diabetes, how to check and log my blood sugars, tracking the foods and carbohydrates you eat, and the importance of watching your diet. Some of the struggles were trying to exercise in different kinds of weather, ruining my shoes and feeling lazy and depressed and not wanting to do the right thing, especially when it came to checking my blood sugar when I wasn’t feeling right.

As of October 2016, I lost 50 pounds. Last year my A1C was 7.1 and in July it was down to 5.8. I reached my goal weight of 188 pounds and have continued to lose -- I’m now 185! I have been slowly taken off my diabetic medications and no longer need them. I've noticed I can walk longer distances, gaining independence and making it to the store by myself. On this journey, I've noticed that I encourage other people now.

I still feel the depression sometimes, but I’m at a turning point now. And, it’s turning for the better!"

By partnering with HealthLinc, Porter-Starke Services and other community health partners, United Way of Porter County gives Oliver, and others, the tools they need to succeed. Our services provide a one-stop-shop for those in need. Whether it is a neighbor without health insurance, a victim of abuse or someone struggling with mental health or addiction issues, we work to ensure everyone has access to affordable and quality care.

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