Staying active is one way Vanessa Finch believes she can manage her diabetes. That is why she jumped at the chance recently to sign up for Community of Hope chronic disease management and the Capital Bikeshare program.
The 44-year-old mother of two was first diagnosed with diabetes in 2009, but she successfully brought down her blood sugar levels that same year. With a small lapse in her healthy diet and exercise routine, her diabetes returned. This time around, however, her diabetes is coupled with thyroid cancer among other health concerns, making it even harder to manage her diabetes.
After years of struggling to get her diabetes under control and dealing with these health setbacks, Vanessa says “I won’t let diabetes take over me, I will take over it!”
Vanessa has been a patient at Community of Hope for a few years. She comes to the Conway Health and Resource Center for most of her doctors’ visits, including her primary care physician, ophthalmologist, and breast cancer screenings, provided by our partner organization, Breast Care for Washington.
Vanessa says her favorite doctors work at Community of Hope and she appreciates all of the support she gets from the dedicated staff. Vanessa appreciates all of the services and friendly atmosphere at Community of Hope and she wants the organization to keep up the good work because “knowing that people care makes you feel 100 percent better” when dealing with multiple health conditions.
She learned about the Capital Bikeshare program through Community of Hope’s Diabetes Care Team. Patients are referred to the Care Team by their doctor. Community of Hope’s Care Coordination Specialists helps develop an individualized plan to help patients manage their diabetes. The plans most often include a healthy diet and exercise. Seun Ajayi, a Care Coordination Specialist, helped Vanessa create a plan that worked with her lifestyle.
Vanessa says she has learned strategies for dealing with and managing her diabetes. The most helpful skill she has learned as a patient of the Care Team is proper meal portions. But Vanessa recognizes that eating healthy alone does not improve her diabetes, and is excited to have the opportunity to combine dieting with exercise to maintain a healthy lifestyle through the Capital Bikeshare program.
Vanessa says this time around her plan is to “get rid of diabetes by riding these bikes.”
Since the weather has gotten warmer, Vanessa has used the bikes more often. She has ridden a few times with her boyfriend and once while her daughter walked next to her. Vanessa plans to use the bikes more in the future by riding to various doctors’ appointments across the city.
Vanessa says she is always sharing information that she learned at her Care Team meetings with her family. They are very supportive of her signing up for all services to better her health at Community of Hope. Her children’s support means a lot to her, since they are her biggest motivation to improve her health.
Vanessa and our other patients with chronic diseases benefit from a number of health partnerships including Capital Bikeshare, DC Greens' Fruit and Vegetable Prescription, and Arcadia Mobile Market. Additionally, our Care Team provides encouragement and chronic disease support groups help people manage their health.
This year Vanessa has set some big goals - continue exercising and ultimately get her diabetes under control.