Tereza Ubinas-Valle

A medical issue during her second pregnancy motivated Tereza Ubinas-Valle to commit to making her health a top priority—for herself and her growing family.

There was a time when Tereza Ubinas-Valle, an Environmental Service Aide at Andrus on Hudson nursing home and rehabilitation center, didn’t think much about her unhealthy diet, smoking habit or lack of exercise, and she would only see her doctor when she was sick. Even after completing a course of chemotherapy and radiation for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2005, she didn’t change her ways—until she became pregnant five years later.

Although Tereza had quit smoking during her pregnancy with her first child, Ashley, she had started again soon after the baby was born. In 2010, when she became pregnant with her second child, John-John, she quit smoking for good. “I haven’t had a cigarette since,” Tereza said. “I truly believe my son may have saved my life.” But Tereza developed gestational diabetes during her pregnancy, which can happen when the placenta releases hormones that help the baby grow but that may make it harder for the mother’s body to make or use insulin. With her doctor’s care, Tereza managed her condition. “The first thing I did was stop drinking soda and start drinking water,” she said. “My diet also needed an overhaul, so I worked hard to change it.”

“The first thing I did was stop drinking soda and start drinking water. My diet also needed an overhaul, so I worked hard to change it.”

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 Fund at Communications@1199Funds.org.

While her gestational diabetes resolved itself after John-John was born, Tereza maintained her healthy lifestyle and went on to have two more healthy pregnancies. Today, she makes sure family meals include lots of green vegetables like broccoli, spinach and salad, and baked chicken or fish, rather than red meat or fried foods. She also stays fit by walking every day, steadily increasing her distance and pace. “I walk several blocks a day as part of my morning and evening commute,” Tereza said. “And I get outside and walk during my lunch break when the weather is nice.”

Tereza now sees her primary care physician for a checkup once a year and also attends our Wellness Department’s health fairs for preventive screenings to supplement her doctor’s care. She feels as if she was given a second chance to enjoy a long, happy life with her husband, John, and four children, Ashley, John-John, Victoria and Mya. “I feel great in every way.”

Althea Elliott of Mount Sinai Beth Israel

For 20 years, Althea Elliott’s comprehensive benefits package has allowed her family to get the healthcare they need while also opening the door for her to further her education, advance her career and become a U.S. citizen.

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