By Roxana Ross
When Proctorville resident Constance Kirkland was first diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, she was very upset. She was also determined. Thanks to help and education from Southeastern Health’s Diabetes Community Center, Kirkland learned how to manage her condition and stay off insulin. Now 69 years old, Kirkland said she feels great and wishes more people took the time to learn how to control their diabetes without medication by visiting the center and heeding the expert advice offered by the professionals.
“They let me know from the start, ‘You don’t have to worry, we are going to be right there with you,’ and it’s been over two years since then,” Kirkland said. “I don’t think I would have made it without them.”
After being referred to the center, which is located in the Southeastern Health Mall on the campus of Biggs Park Mall at 2934 N. Elm St., Lumberton, Kirkland attended one-on-one meetings with a dietician and a diabetes nurse educator. The center also offers a pharmacist and a clinical and financial advisor.
“Diabetes Nurse Educator Tina Hunt and Dietician Anna Matteson were very helpful with the information they gave me, like handouts, videos, and other information they passed along,” Kirkland said. “I learned it’s all about what you eat, but it’s not that you can’t have this, or that or the other, it’s all about moderation. I journal my blood sugar readings every morning and evening, and if I have a high number I go back and write down what I ate that day to see what I need to cut down or cut out.”
Kirkland said the staff at the center also got her to start walking more and getting more exercise, an important part of controlling diabetes.
“I wish more people would take advantage of the Diabetes Community Center to learn and follow the information they have to help people with diabetes,” Kirkland said. “You don’t have to be on harsh medicines, but you’ve got to take the time to learn the information, watch what you eat, and you’ve got to work on it.”
The Diabetes Community Center’s staff provides education and hands-on training in areas such as:
*Nutrition education and carbohydrate counting
*Sick day and exercise management
*Meter training: setting the date and time and how to properly use the meter
*Insulin and GLP1 injection: needle and vial or flexpen training
*Continuous Glucose Monitoring System (CGMS) application
*Insulin pump training and application
The center is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to noon. For more information about the Diabetes Community Center, call (910) 618-0655.