Patient Diagnosed with Diabetes, Takes Control

A cheesy title, I agree. But I wanted to share this story because it is a bit of an inspiration that I know many of you, including myself, appreciate hearing from time to time. 

As you know, my specialty is foot and ankle problems. When I see a problem, I like to fix it. When there is a broken ankle, I want to fix it. When I see a wound, I want to heal it. This is my area of expertise. Having 10 years of experience secured, I am able to process problems fast. Sometimes too fast. But I admit, I still have human errors.

A young kind lady presented to me with complaints of heel pain. She was recently diagnosed with diabetes and admits knowing she is overweight. She was very scared of this diagnosis so decided to be proactive and take classes at the gym. She had never worked out much before but had seen the consequences of diabetes since it runs in her family. She is terrified of losing her legs from the complications of diabetes. She tells me she is working out a lot and is worried that her heel pain won't go away and that it might stop her from losing weight. I empathized. 

Of course, in my mind, I'm thinking about an algorithm. Here's a problem, here's how to fix it. I started going through the routine of educating her on plantar fasciitis and how it can be aggravated by being overweight, having a certain foot type, change in level of activity, etc. She started silently crying so I stopped my babbling and asked her why is she so sad?

To me, there's a problem, here's how to fix it. To her, it's me telling her to stop activities meaning she may not be able to lose the weight and also meaning she is not in control of her health. My human error was not realizing what I said could mean several different things to patients. 

She tells me, "I don't want to stop working out, I am doing so well right now and losing weight. It makes me feel good to go to class and dance."

I felt bad for making her feel like she had to give up something that makes her feel good about herself, working out. I reassured her stopping does not mean quitting, it's really just a short break and your body is telling you, please take a break! If you have foot pain, you can't ignore it. You'll start to walk differently to compensate and that can throw your whole body off, you may even hurt other parts of your body. 

I gave her a treatment plan, created custom orthotics, and she is back on track to staying healthy. She recently just told me, "Dr. Tea, I feel amazing. I've lost 15 pounds. My self confidence is up, I feel good about myself, I am really happy and hope my friends will join me to being healthier."

Sound like something from a commercial doesn't it? Except I don't have anything to sell. Just a story that I hope inspires you that something so simple like walking that extra mile, taking a fitness class, eating better, and practicing these things on a day to day basis, may be just enough to change your life. Small actions, big rewards.