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Stopping prediabetes in its tracks – Mary’s Promise

Hello Readers,

Last month was National Diabetes Awareness month and we’re coming up on almost two years ago I was diagnosed as being prediabetic. I thought it was about time for a little update on my battle to prevent falling victim to diabetes.

What is prediabetes?

Prediabetes is when your blood sugar level is higher than normal, but not high enough to considered Type 2 Diabetes. However, if you don’t make lifestyle changes your prediabetes is likely to develop into Type 2 Diabetes. Unfortunately, the long-term impact on your heart, blood vessels and kidneys may already be underway if you’re prediabetic. You can’t wait to take action to stem the impact of diabetes and prediabetes.

I thought of my prediabetes diagnosis as a warning sign.  It scared me to think that not only did I have a number of other health issues that needed immediate attention, but that those might be complicated by diabetes. Once again the TMC Wellness programs came to my rescue. Talking with Mary and Laurie about my prediabetes diagnosis and adjusting my diet and my exercise level to help my body heal worked.

Today my A1C  (the A1C test reveals how much glucose is attaching to the hemoglobin in your blood and is a good indicator of how effectively your body is processing sugar) is now 5.3 where once it was 6.4. My doctor explained to the A1C guidelines as the following:

DIABETES 6.5 or higher

PRE DIABETES 5.7 to 6.4

NORMAL  Below 5.7

As you can see with my 6.4 A1C I was teetering on the edge of full blown diabetes. I was given three months to lower that number or I would be put on medication.  Most people aren’t aware of any symptoms of diabetes until you get your physical and blood tests which include an A1C test. There are some side effects which I had, but never paid any attention to them. The top 3 are:

1. Thirstier than normal .

2. You have to go to the bathroom more often.

3. You’re more tired than usual .

There are also risks factors which I had all of them as well. Here are the main ones:

1. Overweight

If you are overweight you are at high risk.

2. Lack of physical activity

If you aren’t physically active you are more likely to develop prediabetes .

3. Family History

Prediabetes has a heredity component. If someone in your close family has or had Type 2 Diabetes, you are more likely to develop it.

I did my research and learned through the WELLNESS PROGRAMS how to bring my A1C down to normal level.  With my doctors approval and monitoring I did the following:

Lost weight

I joined the TMC Wellness programs and learned everything to make a lifestyle change .

Added exercise to my day

Including cardio (walking, jogging, dancing and yard work), weight training (light weight curls, push ups and pull ups), and worked on balance and stretching with yoga.

By making a healthy lifestyle change which included losing weight and exercising I moved into the normal range though I still get monitored every 3 months.

If your A1C is in the dangerous range make an appointment to talk with the TMC Wellness team or with the TMC Diabetes Educators.

Get help

For patients that have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, TMC offers an eight-hour class, Journey for Control, Wednesdays from 1-3 p.m. To learn more or to register, please call (520) 324-1960.

Additionally, TMC offers free education sessions and support that cover a wide variety of helpful topics. Discussion is facilitated by a certified diabetes educator. Classes are held on the second Wednesday of each month from 5-6 p.m. at the El Dorado Health Campus Cafeteria. No registration is necessary. To look at the full schedule of classes, click here.

Mary H Kmak

Health Warrior

Mary Kmak has turned her life around, losing over one hundred and thirty-one pounds, and found a path to health through the Tucson Medical Center Wellness program. In Mary’s Promise she shares tips, recipes, challenges that she has learned along the way. Today, she shares her journey to battle one of the nations largest health risks, diabetes.

Want to make the kind of changes that Mary has and see similar results? Make an appointment to see one of TMC’s Registered Dietitians for a one on one and gain a whole world of scientifically based, tried and true techniques to improve your health and fits your individual lifestyle.

 

 

 

Think you’ve heard enough about mammograms? Think Pink!

October is Breast Health Awareness Month and an ideal time to reiterate the vital importance of mammograms. Wait! Don’t click to another page!

Yes, it’s been talked about – a lot. It’s been published here, there and everywhere, but its importance can’t be overstated and there are some really important things every woman should know about mammography.

thinkpink pink breast cancer mammogramBreast cancer is a deadly serious matter, and however the subject is approached the fact is that breast cancer is the most common cancer among women and a leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women.

Getting a mammogram is so important because it is the most effective way of detecting breast cancer early, and detecting breast cancer early can save lives. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that getting mammograms regularly can lower the risk of dying from breast cancer.

So, does that mean every woman should get a mammogram, at what age and how often?

Although there are many resources and lots of good information out there, the best answers will come from your doctor. Every woman is unique and should assess her breast cancer risk, and discuss preventative measures, with her doctor.

Ok, so does that mean every woman who needs a mammogram is getting one? Well, first let’s cover something everybody already knows – women are far better (than men) about seeing their doctor regularly. Here’s something you might not know, the five-year breast cancer survival rate in the U.S. is 90 percent. Take that, breast cancer!

Unfortunately, finances are a significant barrier for many women to get a recommended mammogram. Everyday economic challenges can result in this important screening taking a back seat, especially because women often put the needs of their family and others ahead of their own.

Tucson Medical Center’s Breast Health and Education Program was designed to promote awareness and increase accessibility to services. For more than 18 years, with the help of the TMC Foundation, this program has provided free mammograms to nearly 7,000 women in Southern Arizona.

“We get the opportunity to educate women on the importance of screenings and very often they ask other women’s health questions that they have,” said Karen Narum, nurse practitioner with the TMC Oncology Program. In addition to providing education and screening, women are able to receive additional assistance regarding women’s health needs. “We then have the ability to guide women to other resources as well.”

Just how important is this service? Since the program began, nearly 40 women who were asymptomatic, and came in for a routine screening, were diagnosed with breast cancer in early stages.

If you have been putting off a mammogram for any reason – see your doctor. Encourage your girlfriends and female family members to talk about mammograms with their doctors. Mammography services are available, don’t wait another moment – put your health first.

 

Additional resources:

Susan G. Komen

Susan G. Komen Arizona

National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.

Breastcancer.org

Breast Cancer Research Foundation

American Breast Cancer Foundation

Foundation for Women’s Cancer

American Cancer Society

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 

If you have any concerns or questions, please feel free to contact the TMC Breast Center at (520) 324-1286 or email breast.navigator@tmcaz.com.

Medical insurance covers annual mammography screening as a preventative service, and grant funds allow TMC to offer mammograms for uninsured women age 40 and over. To make an appointment, call (520) 324-2075.

 

Savor the Flavor – 2 Steps to Put an End to Diets

by Mary Atkinson and Laurie Ledford

What is the best diet?

We will start by saying that we never encourage anyone to start a diet. Starting a diet implies that at some point you intend to stop it.

How often have you started a diet? If you are anything like the average American, you have tried approximately 61 diets before the age of 45.

Instead of “dieting”, we would like you to start thinking in terms of healthy food choices. Rather than focusing on what you can’t have anymore because you are dieting, why not focus on selecting foods that are packed with nutrition and will energize you rather than leaving you feeling like a slug after 45 minutes.

Tip toe if you must, but take that first step - on finding health Click To Tweet

1. Recognize your food patterns

Your first step should be to start recognizing your food patterns, meaning when are you most prone to making unhealthy food choices, what types of foods do you select, and what is preventing you from selecting nutritious foods. This process of recognition can be accomplished by keeping a food journal for one week, either in a book or via many of the apps available….And don’t forget, that unless you are honest with yourself, you are never going to identify what is preventing you from developing healthier habits.

2. Change one thing

Once you have recognized what your patterns are, find one small thing that you can change. Perhaps you eliminate one soda a day if you note that you are drinking a lot of soda. Maybe you realize that you are eating donuts every Friday because someone brings them into the office; instead bring in a health choice (oatmeal with fruit and nuts) except for one Friday a month when you ‘own your choice’ and have one donut. Small steps rather than dramatic and sweeping alterations make it easier to stick with the changes you are making. One small step leads to another and another after that. “Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tip toe if you must, but take that first step.”

To conclude, we encourage you to stop starting diets and starting finding small things to change in your food choices. Remember to eat with purpose and intentionally select foods that will give you more energize, feel better about yourself and allow you to do the things you love.

 

 

Eat Well Tucson Photo Contest

EatWellTucsonSugar fasts, 5:2, 8-hour, Atkins, DASH, low carb, high carb, paleo, plant-based – so many ideas, if you’re looking to overhaul your eating habits it can be overwhelming.

It’s hard to know what is actually healthy and will work for your individual lifestyle, metabolism and tastes, it’s not like you’re going to have your very own expert who can tailor a program specifically for you and your life is it! Or is it?

How about a one-on-one sit down with one of our registered dietitians?

You could win an individual nutritional counseling session with one of our registered dietitians with our latest photo contest, ‘EatWellTucson’.

Nutrition counseling can help you discover strategies to reduce calories or eat a healthier diet. You meet with a registered dietician, who assesses your usual eating habits and provides advice to help you develop a personalized nutrition plan. Our registered dietitians are experts, trained in helping you to make the changes needed toward healthy eating goals, using scientifically-based research, they will help you shape up and rev up your diet. This session is worth $115, but you could be on your way to a diet overhaul with just a few clicks!

Join the Tucson Medical Center New Year New You Giveaways on Facebook and Instagram.

For many of us the New Year resolutions revolve around food.  Through January 31st we’ll share tips, advice and inspiration to help you and your family eat well this year.

To enter our photo contest, take a quick snap of one of your favorite healthy meals and share with us via the form found here.

How to participate in the #EatWellTucson Giveaway

Participation is easy! There are multiple ways to enter.

  1. “Like” Tucson Medical Center or TMC for Women on Facebook (if you haven’t already), then watch for our posts and challenges. We will post articles, videos, photos and recipes to help you the whole month, and we will set a couple of photo contest challenges throughout the month to participate.
  2. Use this link to enter your photo.
  3. Want to use Instagram to enter the photo contest? Follow along to find out about the latest photo challenge, then publicly enter your photo on Instagram with the hashtag #EatWellTucson and tag TMC with @TMCChild
  4. Publicly share or comment on our “New Year, New You” Facebook and Twitter posts and look for ways to put these easy tips into action for bonus entries. Remember to hashtag #EatWellTucson

It’s that simple and fun! Visit the event page for more information, official rules, and giveaway guidelines. So get involved. Improve your well-being — and your chances to win

And if you don’t win? You can still take advantage of this and other incredible wellness programs from the wellness experts at Tucson Medical Center.

 

How to help someone with Postpartum Depression

How to help someone with postpartum depressionShame, fear, humiliation, and the stigma of mental illness stand in the way of many women speaking up when they begin to feel the symptoms of postpartum depression. But postpartum depression (PPD) is real, it is the most common complication of pregnancy and it is treatable. How we talk and support women who are dealing with postpartum depression can help reduce the stigma, the shame, the fear and the humiliation and encourage them to get treatment.

Dr.Irene Stafford, Asa Lader RN DONA, and women who have faced PPD share their suggestions for how to help women with PPD.

To find out more about the symptoms and signs of PPD check out this post:
You’re not alone – Postpartum Depression, it’s not just the Baby Blues

1. Be there

Listen, without judgment. Don’t dismiss feelings or mom’s concern that the way she is feeling isn’t normal.

“What didn’t help were people who kept assuring me that all new moms were tired. Or who acted like I was complaining too much. It made me think I had to just try harder instead of helping realize how overwhelmed I truly was.” –A.B.

2. Help mom connect with others in the same situation

Let her know she isn’t alone, she isn’t to blame, this isn’t her fault and she isn’t weak. If possible, find out about support groups and offer to take her or look after children so she can go.

“Having a mommy support group was good. It got me outside instead of crying and feeling suicidal. I did not understand what was happening and my then husband was making it a character flaw.” –O.W.

“When society gives the impression that pregnancy and birth should be bliss, and they aren’t, being able to speak with others who are going through the same things is so important because of the taboo that keeps many of us from speaking up in the first place.” – S.F.

3. Be gentle, but encourage them to seek help. Let them know PPD is a 100% treatable and that professional treatment helps

Offer to take them to an appointment with their physician or to the Emergency Room. Recognize the potential severity of PPD and don’t dismiss medication as unnecessary. Many women do not need medication for PPD, but for some it is necessary.

“Family members questioned why I was going to take medicine for PPD. The suggestion was that I was weak and I just needed to get it together. But I couldn’t just get it together and so I took the medication, it helped and I came of it months later. Second time round when symptoms started to show up my family was much more supportive of my treatment plan and really stepped up to help.” -D.W.

“I went to a support group and took meds for a time. Both definitely helped. And believe it or not, Brooke Shield’s book helped!” –L.S.

4. Know the symptoms

Women respond in different ways. Be aware that they might not recognize what they are dealing with.

“ Reading about the variety of what PPD can look like helped. I didn’t catch it at first because I wasn’t crying. I was angry.” –A.B.

5. Help with the little things and the not so little things

Lader suggests offering to help make things easier to meet basic needs. Make specific offers of help as mom might be to overwhelmed to even think about what she needs.
“Did you eat today? Can I make you something?”
“Do you want me to watch the baby while you sleep/shower?”
“I have a thing for laundry. Let me get the kids’ laundry done for you.”
Assure them they don’t need to entertain you, this is just what friends do, they help each other.

“Just someone to bring me lunch or a glass or water, and just sit and be helped.” – S.M.

Local Tucson non-profit Heartsounds provides no cost, in-home help for low-income moms in the form of doulas. Lader, a certified doula herself, is on the board of Heartsounds and explains how doulas can help moms and babies.
Doulas can help you get rest and nutrition you need. Disturbed sleep and eating habits can exacerbate the situation.
Doulas can help mom with breastfeeding and with bottle-feeding. They can help answer questions; offer encouragement and guidance as new mothers face the challenges of caring for a new baby.

“I was struggling with breastfeeding, with sleeping, with keeping things in perspective and felt so overwhelmed. My mom had come out just after my baby was born for a weekend, but she’s the caregiver for my elderly father and she couldn’t stay. The rest of the family was thousands of miles away and I had no-one to help as I sank deeper and deeper. When my husband went back to work I was so isolated and it just all came down on me. I didn’t feel like I could ask any of my friends to help. I was embarrassed. They’d all managed, why couldn’t I? I just cried all the time. Plus, honestly, we just don’t ask non-family in my culture. My mom found the name of a postpartum doula and paid for her to come over and help. That was her baby gift to us. I didn’t even know what a postpartum doula was. I felt really uncomfortable about it at first, but the doula put me at ease and it made a huge difference. Plus I had to accept it because it was a gift. “ – D.H.

6. Don’t ignore the potential for PPD in those that have had miscarriage or death of an infant.

Dr. Irene Stafford encourages friends and family to recognize that miscarriage of a pregnancy or still birth is a risk factor for postpartum depression, compounded by the grief of loss.

How doctors assess for PPD
Dr. Irene Stafford explains that in the mother’s six-week check-up the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale, a short survey is given. Dr. Stafford shares that it is great at teasing out what is a normal response to the challenges of new motherhood, from that of someone faced with postpartum depression. However, the Edinburgh is only as effective as the honesty of the answers given and serious PPD can set in before. Dr. Stafford and her colleagues actively attempt to screen patients for those who might be at increased risk and provide earlier intervention and support.

What would you add to this list?

Dear Gluten-Free Patient, We care about you and we’ll prove it.

GlutenFreePatientDear Gluten-Free Patient,

We recognize that having celiac disease or a gluten intolerance can make eating out, or eating in if you’re in a hospital a nightmare. At Tucson Medical Center we take our patient’s gluten-free status seriously so that you don’t have to worry about gluten contamination in your foods. We commit to:

  • providing you a variety of fresh, safe and nourishing gluten-free options.
  • follow specific food handling procedures to assure the gluten-free integrity of the meals we serve.
  • including a variety of fresh products and specialty gluten-free items (breads, crackers, pizzas, pastas, cookies, dressings, even brownies!)
  • following specific gluten-free storage, handling and production procedures to assure gluten-free status.
  • providing you with the details of those procedures and product labels upon request.
  • providing a dietitian consultation as requested.

When you arrive at admission:

  • Let us know about your gluten-free status and request that it is identified as an allergy in your medical record.
  • Request your diet order reflect your gluten-free need.

Also, please know that you can request to bring specific food from home. Just label the items with your name, room number and the date. If your visit is planned and you would like information about the facilities gluten-free process call our food service department and ask to talk with a manager or dietitian. If your visit isn’t planned you can request to see a dietitian upon admission.

Tucson Medical Center is committed to creating a safe environment for those with celiac disease and those with gluten intolerance issues. In November of 2013 we sponsored and hosted on our campus the Gluten-Free Awareness Expo. You can read personal stories of women with celiac  disease or who have gluten intolerances here. 

What would you do? – Suggestions for when you suspect domestic abuse

Tips for dealing with suspected domestic abuse or violence

Finding out or suspecting that a friend, work colleague, or family member is the victim of domestic abuse is always horribly upsetting. Figuring out that they have been for a long time and you missed the signs or didn’t know what to do is harrowing.

Local non-profit Emerge! Center against Domestic Violence asks us to take time today to talk about domestic violence, the signs and what to do when we notice those signs. They ask us to consider ‘Where is the line for you?’ Do we step up and say something? Or do we just ignore it and hope it will go away (hint: it won’t).

Take time today over the water cooler, at lunch, with your loved ones to ask the following questions and to check out the suggestions on the Emerge! website. By talking through these scenarios and knowing what we could do, we can’t change the past situations, but we can make a difference in how we respond from this point on.

Where is the line for you?

Questions to discuss:

1. Have you ever been uncomfortable when you heard a demeaning joke, but pretended to laugh anyway? Looking back, do you wish you’d just been honest with the person telling it?

2. Have you ever had a friend or loved one who belittled or mistreated their romantic partner? Did it happen in front of you? Did you know what to say? Do you wish you’d handled it differently?

3. When you read about the signs of abuse in this post, did anything strike a chord? Did you think back to a particular person? Do you now realize they may have been in an abusive relationship?

4. Have you ever had a friend or loved one who you knew was being abused? Did you know what to do?

If any of the above situations happened today, what would you do? Before you decide, know that you should never confront the abuser

Never confront the abuser

Confronting an abuser will definitely put an abused person in additional danger, and could also endanger you and anyone you are with.

You should always call 911 if you witness an active, ongoing assault.

Domestic abuse is a community issue.

Although not everyone is a domestic abuse advocate or counselor, we all have the opportunity to make an impact with the way we respond when these situations come up. When you see an abusive situation, what are your options? Below are some suggestions on the scenarios, find more ideas and suggestions as well as resources on the Emerge! website.  

Suggestions for when you suspect domestic abuse

Have you ever had a friend or loved one who belittled or mistreated their romantic partner? Did it happen in front of you? Did you know what to say? Do you wish you’d handled it differently?

Did the person who was mistreated defend themselves? If not, they may be in an abusive situation and may be afraid to respond to the mistreatment. Wait for an opportunity to speak to the person who was mistreated alone. Let him/her know that you value them and do not agree with the way they were treated. Let them know they deserve a partner who is always respectful of them. Try to discern if the mistreatment was an isolated incident or part of a consistent pattern of behavior. Make sure they know that you’re always available to support them and listen, and that you respect their choices.

When you read about the signs of abuse in the last post, did anything strike a chord? Did you think back to a particular person? Do you now realize they may have been in an abusive relationship?

When did you first get the sense that something was off about this person’s relationship? Was it after the fact? Whenever something feels off to you, always make sure to consider that the issue may be one of family violence. Think back to the signs of abuse, do one or more of them fit? If so wait until you have the chance to speak to speak to them privately before broaching the subject. If they deny that they are being abused, let it go, but state your availability to talk in the future. 

Have you ever had a friend or loved one who you knew was being abused? Did you know what to do?

In this situation your best option is to wait until you have a chance to speak to the victim privately. Express concern and make sure they know that you value and care about them. Offer him/her your phone to call the Emerge! Hotline (795-4266) or the police. It’s important to respect his/her decision if he/she chooses not to do either. Always let them know that you’re available to speak in the future and make sure they have/know the hotline number.

Click here for more tips.

Need Support?

EmergeLogoCall the Emerge! Hotline, it’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is available in both English and Spanish. If you need help, or need to knowhow to help a friend/family member, the Hotline is there for you. Local: 795-4266 Toll-free: 888-428-0101. Learn more at www.emergecenter.org.Paint Pima Purple Logo_bumper_FINAL

Introducing the Nutritionista! Blasting nutrition myths and spreading the good nutrition word

Registered Dietitian by day

The Nutrionista! Photo R.H.Miller

The Nutritionista (aka Laurie Ledford)  is a Registered Dietitian at Tucson Medical Center who uses her knowledge and experience every day to support patients making healthy nutrition choices and prevent or combat the major killers of our time. Have a question about something you’ve heard or seen about nutrition or diet? Send your question to the Nutritionista at tmcforwomen at gmail dot com. Check back on TMC for Women for Nutritionista’s blog posts.

A Word from the Nutritionista:

This is not going to be a diatribe in which I tell you what you should eat or yell at you for eating red meat or for having dessert afterwards.  Instead, I am here to offer information to help you make good choices in what you choose to eat, whether it is “healthy” or not.  When you do want to make choices that support good health, there are no intricate rules you have to follow.  I believe you can eat healthfully by keeping a few simple goals in mind:

1.   Eat real food.

2.   Eat a variety of foods.

3.   Eat mindfully.

There is no need to undertake some complicated eating regimen that requires you to count every calorie you consume or dictates that you should follow the patterns of our Neanderthal forerunners, or stick to a schedule of nothing but grapefruit on Mondays, only cabbage on Tuesdays, etc.  And sadly, there is no single “weird trick to get rid of belly fat.”  Eating healthfully does take some work, which is to say it is more difficult than swinging by the nearest fast-food drive-thru three times a day.  If you have some “bad” habits you want to change, then you need to know that changing habits takes time and effort; however, it does become easier with time, and the payoffs can be hugely rewarding.  I hope you will continue to follow me on a path to delicious wellness.

Cheers!

The Nutritionista

Should I have the BRCA test? Breast Cancer & Genetics

12in100

12 in 100 women will develop breast cancer

The majority of women who develop breast cancer do not have a significant family history of breast cancer and so regular screening and self awareness of changes in breast tissue is important for all women. Check here for a general description of age dependent screenings for women at low and medium risk of developing breast cancer. Not sure what your risk is? Check here.

Approximately 10% of women with breast cancer have a genetic form, that means that they inherited a mutation in a gene from either their mother or their father, it can be from either. The breast cancer gene test, or BRCA (“BRAH-kuh”) test, can determine if someone has inherited a specific gene change. This change can make them much more likely to get breast cancer and for women, ovarian cancer also. The BRCA test is only recommended for those who have a family history of breast cancer or  ovarian cancer. Most people with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer do not have BRCA gene changes. It’s important to note that not everyone who inherits a BRCA gene change will get cancer.

Our Healthwise Encyclopedia includes a decision-making tool to help you determine if you should consider the BRCA test. As with all resources online they do not substitute for the expert advice of a medical professional.

For more posts of our posts on breast cancer including personal stories check here.

Friendship for Health – Leeanna’s Story

mardi grasSo far we’ve been talking about the ways in which friendships keep us healthy. We’ve heard from women who’ve been buoyed by the support of their friends. We have explored the science behind what we’ve always known—-that our friends can be lifelines.

This story is a little different. Leeanna Murphy, Application Specialist for Patient Financial Services at TMC, received a gift from a friend that was directly intended to maintain Leeanna’s health.

In 2011, Leeanna was out of work for the better part of a year. Unemployment benefits covered mortgage and some utilities, and the rest of her living expenses came from her meager savings. Any “wants” were eliminated from her budget in order to cover the “needs”.

Leeanna had had bariatric surgery a couple years before her unemployment, after a lifelong battle with obesity. She could only eat small meals, and working out provided a great deal of stress relief. One could argue that her gym membership fell into the “need” column as it was a big part of her overall health maintenance. But when it’s a matter of having a roof over one’s head, or not, gym memberships become optional.

She still had a few months left on her current membership at the time of her layoff and was wondering where the next payment might come from, if she was able to pay it at all. Not only did her workouts keep her healthy, but in her water aerobics class she had a supportive and caring group of friends.

Relationships were very important to Leeanne, who through her work with a life coach had learned to think of friends as filling different roles in her life. She imagined herself giving a performance on stage, and envisioned the people she’d want in the front row, cheering her on. Those friends, she knew, were her real, true friends. Other people she better imagined in balcony seats–these people maybe weren’t those who she could count on to be there for her.

She had quite a few friends who would invite her out for meals and movies because they knew how hard it was for her being in the house all day on the computer looking for a new position. They knew she was stir crazy. These true friends were there for her, keeping her from feeling low during a rough time.

One day, a friend of over twenty years took her to lunch as a way of provided a much-needed interruption from what had become a fairly dull routine. During the meal, Leeanna’s friend asked if she was still working out. She knew how important Leeanna’s workout time was to her, physically, socially, and psychologically. Leeanna told her she would continue to go to the gym as long as she could afford it, but eventually the expense would be too much. Their conversation turned to other topics and Leeanna enjoyed the rest of her time with her dear and wonderful friend.

Later that day she received an email from her longtime friend. After lunch, the friend stopped at Leeanna’s gym and paid her membership for four months. This allowed Leeanna to continue working out to alleviate stress and maintain her weight during her unemployment.

Not only was she able to maintain her physical health, but she learned that her life was full of supportive, caring people and was reminded that regardless of her circumstances, she always had cheerleaders. When she did find a new job, her weight had been maintained and her spirit was alive.

Leeanna said, “Believe it or not, the eight months of unemployment, though hard, gave me some of my greatest times of joy. I learned much during that time. I learned that no matter what, life is a joy to live. I learned that I am just as strong as I always wanted to be. Most of all I learned that people in my life are special and wonderful–just the type of people who would belong in the front row of the theater for my debut performance.”