Chandler Patient Learns to Navigate Setbacks

At Mission of Mercy, 91% of our patients have at least one chronic condition, and more than half of our patients have type 2 diabetes. Mission of Mercy’s doctors, nurses and diabetes educator work together to empower patients to manage their chronic conditions. By providing ongoing treatment and health education, in addition to lending a sympathetic ear when life’s struggles are impacting a patient’s well-being, MOM’s medical team members do everything they can to support patients on their journey toward achieving better health.

Anita*, 58, first came to our Chandler clinic three years ago. She was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and hypertension. At her first clinic visit, her blood pressure reading was very high at 160/100 (normal is below 120/80). She had hypertension with increased risks for having a cardiovascular event or possibly a stroke if left untreated. She was immediately started on several hypertensive medications.

She also presented with an extremely high A1c of 13.4% (below 7% is recommended by the American Diabetes Association) indicating she had type 2 diabetes and was started on a regimen of oral diabetes medication as well.

After several follow-up clinic visits, and ensuring she was taking her medications as prescribed, Anita’s blood pressure and A1c still had not reached optimal levels. To continue improving her health, it was important for Anita to learn what she could do to improve her health and help her medications work better.


Tools for Empowerment

MOM’s Certified Diabetes Educator Cecilia Chapman, RDN, CDCES, began coaching her on diet, exercise and other key areas necessary to improve her condition. Anita was provided with a personalized meal plan to follow, which included culturally appropriate foods. She was given a log to monitor blood sugar levels and her food for three weeks. This information enabled Cecilia to identify foods that were causing problems and help her understand their correlation to blood sugar readings. Anita also incorporated simple weight-bearing exercises into her daily routine utilizing stretch bands to build lean body mass as well as improve her blood sugars and blood pressure. Through several individual education sessions, in conjunction with proper medication management, Anita reached healthy levels for both her hypertension and diabetes.


Life Happens

For most of 2022, Anita kept her A1c between 6.5-6.8%, however, she hit a roadblock late in the year when she encountered family and financial problems.

“The stress she experienced caused her to become lax with her dietary recommendations and she sometimes forgot to take her medications,” Cecilia said. “When she returned to the Chandler clinic in March 2023, her A1c was up to 8.6% and she was heading back toward dangerous levels. So I counseled her and reinforced that diabetes is a very serious chronic condition, and commitment to a treatment plan is necessary to avoid dangerous complications.”


Getting Back on Track

Two months later, after recommitting to her wellness plan, Anita’s blood pressure was recorded at 110/80 and her A1c had lowered to 7.3%!

Regular follow-up care is an important part of Mission of Mercy healthcare because the majority of our patients struggle with chronic conditions that are impacted by daily lifestyle choices. Having doctors, nurses and health professionals like Cecilia who invest in our patients and truly care about their well-being encourages patients like Anita to keep up their hard work, celebrate successes, and achieve a healthier future.

*Patient’s name and image have been changed to protect privacy.