Works for me
Living with Diabetes: Casey Williams’ journey
The Center for Healthy Living on Purdue’s West Lafayette campus offers its Living with Diabetes program twice a year. The program, created to provide those living with diabetes (Type 1, Type 2 or even pre-diabetics) additional information and support about the disease, continues to make an impact. Casey Williams, community wellness coordinator with Purdue Extension, shares his experience.
My name is Casey Williams, and I’m a community wellness coordinator with the Nutrition Education Program. I live in Evansville and work in Vanderburgh and Warrick counties. I started working for Purdue Extension in December of 2015.
I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when I was 8 years old.
I think Purdue’s Center for Healthy Living is a huge benefit for employees. Not only can these programs improve participant’s health but in my case, I even saved money on my prescriptions. I worked for another university in Indiana and they did not provide any programs that were even close to the level of what Purdue offers through the CHL.
I heard about the Living with Diabetes program through an email from Purdue. After years of a somewhat guilty feeling of having a serious disease, but knowingly not giving it the attention and effort that it deserved, I decided this would be a great opportunity to reinvigorate my diabetes care. The financial incentive was also a factor in my participation. Living in the southwest corner of the state, participating remotely was really my only option. I went to Purdue only one time to do some preliminary assessments and meet the staff that would be guiding me through the program. My coaching sessions were always planned around my schedule, and the sessions were very personal and interactive.
I’ve been in the program for over 8 months, and I plan to continue checking in with my coaches periodically going forward. Even after completing the core of the program, my coach and I still discuss goals going forward that will ensure my diabetes is managed.
I found the program extremely beneficial. Having diabetes for 20 years you can really become lax about taking care of yourself. For many years my A1Cs were very good and under 7 but the last 5 years they have gotten worse.* The program was a great way to get back to basics and make me realize that I am fully capable of managing my diabetes and getting the A1Cs that I want. My last A1C before the program was a 7.8 and since the program I have had a 6.8 and a 6.6. I have never felt more confident and capable about living with diabetes. Receiving a 50 percent discount on my insulin is also a huge plus!
I would definitely recommend this program to anyone. In fact, I have already recommended it to a co-worker. The program is great whether you’ve had diabetes for one year or 20. Anyone can benefit from the coaching and every diabetic owes it to themselves to take the class and feel empowered.
My biggest takeaway from the program is my overall mindset when it comes to managing the disease. For a long time I was really just focused on how can I put in the least effort and manage it just well enough that I am close to a healthy outcome. After the program, I am now excited by the challenge of managing diabetes the best I can. I used to dread going to the doctor and getting my A1C and now I’m excited to see how well I am doing.
My coach Suzanne was definitely a big part of what made the program so great. Having diabetes herself, she was able to relate to the challenges and provide great ideas and strategies to improve my management. She was very easy to talk to and was even able to create an intimate setting over the phone. I really knew she cared about me and my progress.
The next Living with Diabetes program begins Feb. 6 and offers several options to fit a variety of schedules. Participants can choose from one of the following classroom sessions or can schedule to participate remotely like Casey did:
- Mondays, Feb. 6 through May 1, noon–12:50 p.m. or 2-3 p.m.
- Thursdays, Feb. 9 through May 4, 8–9 a.m. or noon–12:50 p.m.
To register, call the Center at 49-45505 by January 27.
Additionally, the Center for Healthy Living offers diabetes education resources and support throughout the year.
*Hemoglobin A1C is a measurement of a person’s average levels of blood glucose or blood sugar that is checked routinely in people with diabetes.