GRAPHIC (SLIDE): SEVEN real life stories


SUSAN CHIU (18s): If I had known what I know now a few years ago, I probably could have stopped the diabetes being triggered. Because from what I've read and what I've been told, the extra weight I carried around was what probably triggered the diabetes, especially carrying it around the middle.
NARRATOR (12s): As soon as she was diagnosed, Susan focused on getting rid of that extra weight. She joined a gym and started walking daily. She also got some help from a registered dietitian in order to break some old habits.
SUSAN (16s): I take after my father. My father loved sweets as well. Yeah, cakes, pies, ice cream. It's not you can't ever have a cookie in your life, you can't ever have ice cream. It's just moderation and portion control. And I'm okay with that.
NARRATOR (4s): With exercise and her weight under control she's leading a much healthier life.

SUSAN CHIU (19s): I have a total new wardrobe. My daughter actually came with me, we went shopping and I was wearing a size 20 pant and the jeans I have on right now are size 12. It's a nice nice feeling.
NARRATOR (3s): And Susan isn't the only one who has lost a pant size.
PAUL ROBICHAUD (7s): I've lost weight, a huge amount of weight. And inches, and I've had to buy smaller pants.

NARRATOR (8s): Paul Robichaud has lost over 20 pound and now has his blood glucose under control. But for the first 15 years, he lived in denial.
PAUL ROBICHAUD (11s): My blood sugar was pretty high and I was feeling really tired and that's when I had to go in to get more pills and other things started happening to you.
NARRATOR (9s): But once he started eating healthier and exercising regularly the weight started coming off. He and his wife, Wendy, have even taken up ballroom dancing.
PAUL ROBICHAUD (9s): That's very good exercise. The lady that teaches, she puts us through a lot, a heavy workout. Every Thursday night for two hours, we're dancing pretty steady.
NARRATOR (2s): And his routine is paying off.
PAUL ROBICHAUD (8s): I know that the diabetic clinic were thrilled with me when I went to see them last. They said that ‘you did such a turn-around there, we can't believe it'.
Diagnosed: 2008

NARRATOR (16s): While it took Paul 15 years to get on top of his diabetes, newly diagnosed Hector Szulansky got serious right away. After seeing family members die from neglecting their diabetes, he went right out and bought a glucose meter so he could keep track of his levels.
HECTOR (17s): At the beginning it's more annoying to sting your fingers and all the process but it's something that, in a couple of months it's ... becomes a part of your normal life, like brushing your teeth or cutting your nails.
NARRATOR (10s): Hector has re-stocked his kitchen with healthier ingredients and cooks from scratch. He plans to live a long and healthy life by keeping his diabetes under control.
HECTOR (16s): In just a few months I would say two to three months, I got my values under control and I dropped them from around nine to ten to somewhere between five and six.
NARRATOR (8s): Nutrition is critical to getting your blood glucose values under control. But it's a big job and it helps if the whole family is involved.
RAJ (10s): So it is important that a person who is diagnosed with this disease understand that it can be won, but then it needs a lot of sweat.
Diagnosed: 2001

Diagnosed: 1991

NARRATOR (6s): For the Sunders, much of the work fell to Chitra, as she struggled with managing her mother-in-law and husband's vegetarian diet.
GRAPHIC: Chitra Sunder
CHITRA SUNDER (10s): You have to do different things for different people, and then what one person likes the other person wouldn't like, and then looking for varieties.

NARRATOR (16s): Chitra finally came up with the right mix of foods. Traditional South Asian diet features too many carbohydrates, so Chitra prepares several vegetable dishes and the proper amount of protein to keep everyone full. Chitra is now sharing lessons learned with others.
CHITRA SUNDER (23s): So we did pick and choose a lot of items from the South Asian menu and we have broken it up according to its starch content, and we published this booklet ...And now a lot of South Asians are quite enjoying this, and so now they know for sure, when they pick up some food that they like as to how many portions actually they can eat, and we've had some raving reviews about that.
RAJ (12s): I have now after many years, realized that there is really no other way but the one way that the doctors have prescribed, which is to be sensible in terms of what you eat.
Diagnosed: 1994

NARRATOR (7s): Proper nutrition has been the key for Andrew Kramer, who, like Raj, gets lots of support from his wife Vera.
ANDREW KRAMER (20s): Luckily I have a very nice wife, she studied the issues and she's cooking for me what I am allowed to eat and if I want to eat something else or more of what I can eat, then she kind of lets me know in no uncertain terms.
NARRATOR (5s): Originally diagnosed at 65 Andrew thought the diagnosis was a death sentence.
ANDREW KRAMER (14s): My best friend died when he was 38, so I got scared. And then I went for a diabetic education and they really scared me. So I took it seriously.
NARRATOR (10s): And it is paying off. At the ripe age of 78 he manages his diabetes successfully with a combination of proper nutrition, medication and regular exercise.
NARRATOR (6s): Andrew and Vera also lead a very active social life, playing bridge three times a week.
ANDREW KRAMER (16s): Try to concentrate on things which are pleasurable. Try to avoid as much as possible that which is causing your additional, unnecessary stress. I realize it's easier said than done, but it can be done.

Diagnosed: 2005

NARRATOR (10s): For Rita Oliver, unnecessary stress has been hard to avoid. As a struggling single mom, she has found it difficult to juggle diet and exercise.
RITA OLIVER (9s): I was devastated. I was in denial for about a month or so. I just couldn't face up to it. I just didn't want to face up to it.
NARRATOR (10s): For Rita, a key player in helping her cope has been the support of social worker Susan Brundl, who is helping Rita take control and better manage her stress.
RITA OLIVER (30s): I'm the one that has to do it. But they give me encouragement and they let me know that what I'm doing is I'm harming myself and they tell me the consequences. It's not that I don't know, I know all of this, but knowing and doing is two different things. And I'm trying, and uh, my prayer is, you know, that one day I will accomplish, I will, I will get it down.
NARRATOR (7s): Stress is what kept Helen from dealing with her diabetes. For the first 11 years after diagnosis, she was in denial.
HELEN PARKER (4s): Some people can't deal with it, and I was one of them.

NARRATOR (12s): While Helen credits her ability to “deal” with it to her health care team, she really took control after her son John reached 300 lbs and almost died after suffering an attack of pancreatitis.
JOHN PARKER (7s): When you first get diagnosed with diabetes or what not, you think it's a downfall, and you know what, it actually woke me up, it helped me out a lot.
NARRATOR (9s): Today he's the picture of health, he's quit smoking and drinking, he's taking his medication regularly, eating properly and working out several days a week.
NARRATOR (9s): He's been an inspiration to his mother and helps her manage her diet. She's lost over 42 lbs and is feeling great.
HELEN PARKER (1s): I love it!
NARRATOR (16s): These are just some of the stories of everyday individuals who are successfully managing their diabetes each day. As their experiences show, taking control of your health can make all the difference in improving how you feel and helping protect you from developing complications from diabetes.
HECTOR SZULANSKY (6s): My vision is that either you control your diabetes or your diabetes is going to control you.
PAUL ROBICHAUD (3s) You have to stick with it. It's a commitment, a lifelong commitment, actually.
SUSAN (8s): I highly recommend anybody go to the diabetic clinic. They are a wealth of information. And actually reassures.
RAJ (14s): the sooner we realize that there is nobody who is perfect and everybody requires some help of some kind, it could be a pill here, or it could be an exercise, or it could be even a kind word, the better off we all are.
ANDREW KRAMER (5s): And you will enjoy life and hopefully you will be able to enjoy it longer.
JOHN (9s): Gonna live a good life, a good life, a happy life. Like I say, you know like I said, as long as I stay on track, I eat, eat regularly whatnot, take my medication, everything's fine…
HELEN PARKER (5s): And most of all, you have to get a support from your family, it's important, very important.

Susan Chiu
Andrew Kramer
Rita Oliver
Helen Parker

John Parker
Paul Robichaud
Hector Szulansky
Raj Sunder

Chitra Sunder
Ananba Visvanthan
Canadian Diabetes Association

Dr. Ian Blumer
Chair, Dissemination and Implementation Committee
CDA 2008 Clinical Practice Guidelines


The Government of Ontario

END CREDITS (Slide): Queen's Printer for Ontario 2009

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