A1C Champion: Terry Explains the Importance of Taking Control
I love sharing stories from our A1C Champions and today is no exception. I’m happy to introduce you to Terry Pearce, an inspiring 78-year-old great-grandmother who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at the age of 50 and has a wonderful life story and lesson about taking control.
“If I can help just one person living with diabetes take control, it’s worth it. But I hope I can reach more,” said Terry. “I just tell the people that I speak to, if you want to feel better and enjoy your life, choose to do the things you need to do. It won’t take long before it becomes a habit. You control it. Don’t let it control you.”
Terry says managing blood sugar can become as simple and routine as brushing your teeth or combing your hair. However, as she realized and acknowledged, getting to that point is not likely without challenges. In her own case she immediately went on a diet after her diagnosis and lost weight, but soon went back to her old habits. She often refers to this as “Second Plate Syndrome.”
“I’d finish my plate and go for another serving,” said Terry. “You have to eat to live, not live to eat.” For her, that meant learning to control portion size and cutting out certain snacks.
Another challenge was teaching her husband how to help her maintain control. It wasn’t until he heard Terry speak at church about her diabetes that he understood the impact it had on her life and why she had refused those “thoughtful” sweet treats he picked up on his way home from work. Eight years ago Terry had a life-changing moment. She saw friends who weren’t taking care of themselves, the effects it had and it weighed heavily on her mind.
“If I were to get a bad virus or get in a car wreck, being in my 70s, my body wouldn’t bounce back,” said Terry. “I worried about becoming bed-ridden and people having to take care of me.”
That’s when Terry got serious about diet and weight loss. She found a way to take control of portion sizes, as well as trimming fats, sugars and starches.
“I told myself I was going to start by losing 10 pounds and then worry about losing the next 10,” said Terry who was placed on a restricted calorie per day diet. “I continued with this method until I was in range of my desired weight loss goal.”
Results from increasing her activity with a stationary bike were transformative. Terry had more energy, her mind was more clear and she just felt better.
Today, in addition to her A1C Champion responsibilities, Terry works part-time in an apartment complex that keeps her on the go and she has no intention of slowing down.
“I feel like if I stay active, it doesn’t matter what my age is,” said Terry. “I want to be in good health to see my great granddaughter, Chloe, grow up. She’s 6 now.”
The difference in diabetes awareness and care since Terry’s diagnosis nearly 30 years ago is unbelievable. By educating herself and taking steps to manage her blood sugar, she has stuck with her diet and activity and remains in good health.
“Just because you have diabetes doesn’t mean you have to give up,” said Terry. “You can do this. Just think about how much better you are going to feel. You will be much happier. Your mind will be clearer. You will just feel better all the way around.”
I love Terry’s message about taking control. We each have that ability within us. Sometimes, we just need people like Terry to remind us to believe in our own potential. I look forward to sharing more A1C Champion stories with you in the future.
All the best,
Disclosure: Terry Pearce is a trained volunteer through the Sanofi US A1C Champions Diabetes Education Programs. All opinions contained in this post reflect those of the interviewee, and not of Sanofi US, its employees, agencies or affiliates.
Note: A1C Champions is a registered trademark of Sanofi US.