Bob Thomas has been battling diabetes for almost 20 years, but thanks to one powerful weapon, is medication-free. His key to success isn’t high-tech or costly. By utilizing education and support groups at Norman Regional Health System, Bob Thomas at age 75 is managing his diabetes and adding years to his life.
“He’s beat the odds by 15 years,” said wife Rosa Lee Thomas. “Diabetes doesn’t have to control you; you can control your diabetes.”
When Bob and Rosa Lee moved to the Norman area they asked about what options were available. Their physician referred them to The Diabetes Center at Norman Regional. The center offers an array of services for diabetics from nutrition classes and menu management to support groups and monthly speakers.
“Education and knowledge is power,” said Pam Boeck, RN, CDE, program coordinator for the Diabetes Center. “People become very discouraged when they are diagnosed with a chronic illness. Our goal at the Diabetes Center is to make them the leader of their own health.”
The Diabetes Center is an American Diabetes Association (ADA) certified Center of Excellence. The association recognized Norman Regional’s Diabetes Center for its high-quality outpatient diabetes self-management program. The center has earned this award for the past six years, Boeck said.
“We aim towards all our staff being certified in diabetes education. We strive to give the best to our patients and I think being named a Center of Excellence shows our commitment,” Boeck said.
The Diabetes Center nurses and dieticians work as a team with the patient and the patient’s physicians. While a doctor’s referral is needed to receive education, the Diabetes Center can help patients to obtain a referral, Boeck said. Vital to patients, most insurers will cover the cost of education. Medicare pays for 10 hours of diabetes education the first year of diagnosis and for two hours of education the second year.
If you have a family history of diabetes, you should go for a yearly screening, Boeck said. Other warning signs of diabetes include:
Rosa Lee Thomas encourages others facing a diabetes diagnosis, as well as their spouses or caregivers, to obtain additional education. “Diabetes isn’t the end of the world, but you have to look for opportunities to help yourself,” she said.