I have struggled with weight my entire life and experience chronic foot pain, which deterred me from living an active lifestyle. I was in denial even after being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, until the night before school started. That evening, I developed a severe kidney infection that lead to septicemia. For a month afterward, I felt sick, had little energy, and felt like diabetes was defeating me.

Soon after, I decided I was ready to take a stand against my diabetes with the help of my health coach, Raina Carriel Alexander, MD, who always delivered the right dose of empathy, tenacity, and compassion. She went above and beyond to help me; searching for comfortable shoes and chair exercises to address my foot pain, sharing healthy recipes, and challenging me to Fitbit step challenges when she knew I needed extra support.

After months of tracking my carb intake and walking my dog every day, I decided I was ready for more. I joined a community step challenge and on Thanksgiving, I participated in my first 5k. In three months, I have lost 80 pounds, my blood pressure and cholesterol are in normal range, and my A1c has dropped to 5.7.

Being mindful of my health no longer feels like a chore, as I am up to the challenge for the first time in my life. Having more energy allows me to serve my students better and has inspired me to write a grant to start a Read & Ride program in my library!