Adrienne Channer of Silvercrest Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation

Adrienne Channer of Silvercrest Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation

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Encouraged by her success at losing more than 80 pounds, Adrienne Channer has set herself a new goal—getting healthy enough that she no longer needs her Type 2 diabetes medication.

Adrienne Channer is proud of how far she’s come in improving her health over the past 18 months, and she shows no sign of stopping. Adrienne, a Unit Manager at Silvercrest Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation for the past 16 years, was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in February of this year—even after changing her diet and going from 302 pounds to 220 pounds in 18 months. Her doctor had warned her for several years that she was at risk of developing the condition if she didn’t change her lifestyle, but she had a hard time getting started.

As an 1199SEIU member—and delegate—Adrienne said she gets lots of information about healthy habits. Whether she was attending a health fair or wellness workshop at Silvercrest or Fund Headquarters or taking advantage of the wellness resources on our website, Adrienne was well aware that she needed to make changes to her diet and get active. Putting them in place, however—particularly over the long term—was not so easy. “I was diagnosed with endometriosis in 2001,” she said. “So I knew how much work went into treating that. But still, I kept eating a diet that had lots of sugar and starches, which my doctor said put me at risk for diabetes.”

Endometriosis is an often painful condition in which tissue that normally lines the uterus—the endometrium—grows outside the uterus, typically in the ovaries, bowel or the tissue lining the pelvis. In addition to a daily pill, Adrienne was receiving an intravenous iron medication once a week to help treat the illness, but her doctor emphasized that losing weight and getting into better physical condition could have much the same healing effect as the drug and IV treatments—and without her weekly trip to the doctor’s office. “Then one day, it was like the light went on and I got it,” Adrienne said. That day was right at the beginning of 2015, and she set out to improve her diet and take up exercising.

She asked some of the dietitians at Silvercrest for advice (although registered dietitian visits are covered by the Fund) and began getting up at 5:00 am every morning to go for a brisk walk. As for dietary changes, some of the toughest ones for Adrienne were switching from white rice and white bread to brown rice and whole-grain wheat bread, and from white potatoes to sweet potatoes. “Not everything happened overnight,” she said. “But pretty quickly, I started to like the new diet and add to it.” Adrienne now eats “every vegetable out there,” she said with a laugh, drinks lots of water and starts the day with oatmeal and turkey sausage.

“I’m practicing my saxophone again, because my lung capacity is better. I love to dance and to bowl. And someday, I’m going to go for a run and play soccer again.”

Within a year, Adrienne no longer needed any medication for her endometriosis. And while she was disappointed by her Type 2 diabetes diagnosis despite a complete overhaul of her lifestyle, she is not discouraged and said that her doctor is optimistic that if she continues to eat right and stay active, she should no longer need daily medication to keep her blood sugar levels under control. It’s all been worth it anyway, Adrienne said, as she described feeling self-confident again and eager to take part in activities. In fact, she recently entered a nutrition challenge held at Silvercrest, saying that the friendly competition, combined with weekly weigh-ins, helps keep her motivated.

Adrienne said she’s also thankful that her improved health has renewed her enthusiasm for things she had loved doing but had given up. “I’m practicing my saxophone again, because my lung capacity is better,” she said. “I love to dance and to bowl. And someday, I’m going to go for a run and play soccer again.”

Did You Know?

Your Benefit Fund coverage allows you three visits per calendar year with a registered dietitian. If your doctor believes you would benefit from more visits, you can ask him or her to call the Fund for prior authorization and to submit supporting documents, such as a letter of medical necessity and lab results or clinical notes.

What Do Your Benefits Mean to You?

You count on your health benefits to support you in your efforts to stay healthy, whether it’s by getting regular checkups, keeping a chronic condition under control or just improving your lifestyle in general. But has there ever been a time when your health coverage literally saved your life or the life of a loved one? If so, we’d like to hear from you. To share your story with your fellow members in an upcoming issue of For Your Benefit, please contact the Funds at [email protected].

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