Monday morning Everlyn Johnson woke up to find a toilet in her front yard.
“When I first looked out the window, I could only see the flowers so I went outside and saw the toilet, and it was quite attractive. I couldn’t believe it could be so pretty!” laughed Johnson.
Johnson had her suspicions the “blue loo” might end up in her front yard during the month of November, which is National Diabetes Awareness Month. Johnson is a type II diabetic and also a regular attendee at OCH Regional Medical Center’s Diabetes Support Group, so she knew about the plans to get the community’s involvement to help “flush out” diabetes.
“My neighbors thought it was weird, but that’s okay. It was for a good cause!” said Johnson.
Nicky Yeatman RD, LD, OCH Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support (DSMES) Program Coordinator, said “First and foremost the goal is to raise awareness of what a problem diabetes is not only in Mississippi but also globally. Secondly, it serves as a fundraiser for the patient assistance fund that helps those with diabetes who cannot afford the help they need to manage their diabetes.”
Diabetes is a disease in which the body’s ability to produce or respond to the hormone insulin is impaired. More than 29 million people are affected by diabetes in the United States alone with more than 1 million people being diagnosed annually. Symptoms of diabetes include increased hunger and fatigue, frequent urination and being thirstier, dry mouth, itchy skin and blurred vision.
The (DSMES) Program equips participants with the information and skills they need to successfully manage the disease and improve their quality of life. The DSMES team, which includes a certified diabetes educator, registered nurse, pharmacist and registered dietitian, conducts individual assessments for patients to determine their specific needs.
Johnson knows from experience how helpful working with a clinician can be to managing diabetes. She said Yeatman helped her lower her A1c to a 6.5 which is better than the 7.0 target number for diabetics.
“I wrote down what I had eaten for several days, and Nicky made some suggestions about how to improve my diet. I’ve followed her directions ever since,” said Johnson adding that, “Nicky realizes that diabetes management is individualized and that what works for one person may not work for another.”
Johnson said she was prompted to change her medicine earlier this year after attending one of Yeatman’s support group meetings and listening to a physician who discussed new diabetic medications on the market.
“Every meeting I learn something new that I can use. The education part is just fantastic. Nicky also has new dishes for us to try at the support group meetings, and I have incorporated many of those recipes in my dietary intake,” said Johnson.
Yeatman said the key to controlling diabetes is developing a plan that is right for the individual and sticking to the plan.
“It’s not always easy, but if patients will commit to eating the right foods, taking their medications as prescribed by their physicians and exercising regularly, diabetes is manageable. We call it the ‘self-management program’ because this is a disease our patients face every day, and we provide the education and support they need to manage their diabetes on a daily basis,” said Yeatman.
“I am just so glad Nicky has come into our lives! I feel like I am a healthier person because of her, and the wonderful things I’ve learned from her and the adjustments I’ve made to my diet. There’s no reason for a diabetic to struggle with high blood sugar because Nicky is so helpful and can help her patients get it under control,” said Johnson.
For more information on diabetes management visit www.och.org/diabetes-management, or call Yeatman at 662-615-2668.
If you’d like to help “flush out” diabetes and move the blue loo to a friend’s yard, fill out the form below!