Jack’s Story: Managing diabetes is about making healthy choices

JackJack Scheuer was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes 15 years ago. He has learned that managing the disease is not about absolute exclusions, but making the right choices on a daily basis.

At first Jack felt challenged because he had little education about the disease. Perhaps because it is difficult to fully control, the myths about diabetes have suffused well-intentioned advice with superstition. But West Chester Hospital’s diabetes education program helped Jack divide truth from falsehood, and he learned how to listen to what his body was telling him.

“You have to learn about yourself, find out how your own body metabolizes things differently so you can make better choices,” says Amy Hayes, RN, certified diabetes educator at West Chester Hospital who has type 2 diabetes herself.

Hayes stresses that each individual of the 25 million Americans with type 2 diabetes—8% of the population—is different. Every bit of knowledge gained about oneself through eating carefully and exercising regularly must be incorporated into one’s lifestyle. Hayes for example knows that she can’t have cereal in the morning; yet Jack has no such problem, but he must eat many small meals each day rather than a few large ones.

From this understanding comes empowerment and control. “I am pleased because I know what I can consume and what happens when I consume it,” says Jack.

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