Dawn Andrews suggests that anyone newly diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes check their blood sugar numbers often to get an idea of what foods they can tolerate and which ones create spikes. She always wrote them down in a log and analyzed what she had eaten.
Dawn, 72, was diagnosed at age 50 by her physician during a routine physical. Her highest A1C was 7.1 and now, 22 years later, it’s around 7. She maintains that number through diet, exercise, medication and getting the proper amount of rest each day.
The longtime New York State resident who is the mother of two and grandmother of four, says that in the beginning she had to test her blood sugar and find out what her high numbers and low numbers were.
“Keeping my blood sugar levels as steady as possible is the main thing. I use my glucose meter, take my medication as prescribed and see my doctor regularly.”
She adds that skipping meals or overdoing things that have high amounts of sugar isn’t healthy. “As enjoyable as they are, I discovered that eating white rice, white potatoes and white bread wasn’t good because they immediately converted into sugar,” Dawn says. “Once getting into a healthy routine and knowing what worked I was fine.”
Working part-time as an administrator giving civil service tests for an upstate New York city, Dawn goes twice a week to the YMCA’s Silver Sneakers program near her home where she does senior aerobics.
“Working out while being with friends is fun,” Dawn notes. “The various exercises help keep me in shape. Mostly they help keep me limber. Three times a week would be ideal for me so I’m going to add a third day at the YMCA.”
In her spare time Dawn makes miniature dollhouses at 1/12th scale including miniature furniture, dishes, food, rugs, clothing, decorations, gardens and more. She also makes other arts, crafts and jewelry.
“My mother was always handy and creative and watching her make things out of scraps was fascinating,” Dawn says. “I love making things with my hands and I enjoy the creativity of a challenge. Some of my creations are sold online and other ones are kept for me. Being creative every day is my cup of tea.
“These days I don’t dwell on my diabetes. I watch my blood sugar levels, take care of myself and get on with things. That includes seeing family and friends, working part-time and making things with my hands. I take my Type 2 diabetes seriously but I’ve got a full, happy life. That’s what it’s all about.”