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Dana Lowe Controls Her Diabetes with a Little Help from Her Friends

Dana Lowe of Oskaloosa knew diabetes ran in her family, but it didn’t seem “real” to her. That is, until she landed in the hospital after passing out in 2012.

“My blood sugar was 1275, so honest, but for the grace of God, I wouldn’t be here today,” Dana said. “After I got out of the hospital, my provider, Chris Beaird, suggested I take the Diabetes WISE classes,” Dana explained. “That is where I met Sharon and Lea and I can honestly say my life changed for the better.”

Diabetes Educator Sharon Ferguson and Dietitian Lea Rice teach the Diabetes WISE classes, a self-management education program designed to improve the health and wellness of individuals with diabetes.

“I thought I was doing pretty good; my A1C levels (glucose or blood sugar in the blood) were running at 5 or 6, so I guess I started to slack off and really fell off the wagon by drinking a lot of Pepsi, which I felt I was addicted to,” Dana explained. “Once again, I wasn’t feeling great and had all the symptoms of out of control diabetes, including frequent urination, excessive sleeping and always being real thirsty, but I didn’t connect it to my diabetes.”

Winding up in the Emergency Department again wasn’t really a surprise. “They called Sharon, who came to visit me in the ER and started me on insulin,” Dana said. “She gave me two shots of fast and slow acting insulin. This brought my blood sugar down.

“It was a Friday, so after I got home, Sharon called me several times over the weekend to make sure I was doing OK. She amazed me with her caring and concern. I knew I was in great hands.”

Sharon helped Dana with her first glucometer, which helps measure her blood sugar levels. “She showed me how to use it and explained everything so that I can understand. Whenever I need her, she is there for me and knows all there is to know about diabetes.”

Dana said she realizes she can’t have sugar and has to take her diabetes seriously. This meant back to diabetes classes and implementing what she learns in her daily routine, not just when she has symptoms of high blood sugar. “Lea showed me how to calculate calories and taught me the importance of what I ate.

“I also see Dr. Beers (podiatrist or foot doctor) every three months because my toenails grow and turn very hard,” Dana explained. “He’s an excellent doctor and he checks my feet for wounds or any other problems.”

It is important for people with diabetes to see a podiatrist regularly, as high blood sugar levels over time can cause nerve damage and circulation problems, contributing to foot problems. Left untreated, sores, ingrown toenails and other problems can lead to infection, which, paired with poor circulation, makes healing an infection difficult. Most cases of gangrene (death of body tissue due to either a lack of blood flow or a serious bacterial infection) result from delayed treatment of foot injuries people with diabetes often struggle with.

Dana met MHP Wound Ostomy Care Nurse Cindy Donohue after accidently sitting on a curling iron. “Yes, it’s embarrassing, but Cindy was so cool,” Dana exclaimed. “She got me creams and special bandages and showed me how to take care of my burns. It healed with no problems, so she knew exactly what to do.”

Coming to MHP to visit with any members of her diabetes team is like visiting with her friends. “They are really all so nice and good to me,” Dana said. “They are not only my friends, they are my heroes.”

Lea Rice

Registered Dietitian Lea Rice provides inpatient and outpatient nutrition education, helping patients understand how their diet affects their overall health and well-being; including counseling patients with chronic health conditions. She is very involved in the community and enjoys sharing evidence-based nutrition information.

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Sharon Ferguson, RN, CDE

Certified Diabetes Educator Sharon Ferguson has a passion for helping people with diabetes live a healthier, more fulfilling life. Whether you’re newly diagnosed, living with uncontrolled diabetes or have prediabetes, Sharon can help you manage your symptoms within your current lifestyle. She works closely with a team of diabetes experts on the MHP campus, assuring her patients get all-encompassing care, no matter what their health concerns may be.

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Mark Beers, DPM

Podiatrist Mark Beers, DPM, practices full time in the MHP Medical Group. He has been caring for feet in the Oskaloosa area for more than 25 years (said 20 in 2011, okay to say?). Dr. Beers partners closely with the Certified Diabetes Education and Wound Ostomy Care professionals, providing an all-encompassing approach to foot health. In his spare time, Dr. Beers enjoys spending time outdoors fishing, hunting and trap shooting.

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