Millions of Americans have diabetes and yet are unaware of their condition. However, that was not the case for Oklahoma native Robert Amey who had two siblings suffer from this condition.
“I’m the oldest of six children and two were diabetic,” Amey said. “I lost both of them.”
Amey’s youngest brother was born with both diabetes and epilepsy; complications eventually resulted in his death as a young man. His other brother was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes early in his adulthood.
“He didn't really take care of himself like he should,” said Amey. “One day he took an injection and went out to check cattle. He had a reaction – low sugar or high insulin. They found him late the next day and they rushed him to the hospital. He had hypothermia and when they warmed him back up, he died.”
Through his family history Amey knew the signs of diabetes and he knew how dangerous it could be if not properly managed. Since being diagnosed himself almost 25 years ago, Amey has taken steps to make sure he cares for himself. However, despite going to several diabetic programs and staying active, his health continued to suffer.
“I was going to my family physician and he was testing me and watching me,” Amey said. “I was taking pills, watching my diet, and I was going to a kidney specialist because I had lost some kidney function. I had just gone to the kidney specialist and she passed me and said I was looking good.”
When he checking back in with his primary care physician 10 days later, the results showed his kidney function had decreased. Amey’s physician said he could either start medication or see an endocrinologist. He opted to seek help from the endocrinologist.
“I was ready because I knew that something had to be done,” Amey said. “Then Hillcrest called me about the new program they were starting and told me what it all consisted of and I said let's go for it. That was the best thing that ever happened to me.”
The Comprehensive Diabetes Program created by The Center for Diabetes Management and Oklahoma Heart Institute educated Robert and helped show him how he could take control of his diabetes and dramatically improve his health. He felt he was finally in a program that used the latest tools and research paired with a deeply caring team.
“Your nurses are some of the most fantastic people that you could ever ask for because they care and they treat you like family,” said Amey. “They talk to you like a family. I tell you, Cassie [Stanzak] is one of them – super, super great. Robin [Meisser] over at the Oklahoma Heart Institute is another one. They are the two best that I've seen and been connected with ever since I've been a diabetic.”
In addition to the great nursing staff, Amey also benefited from the dietitian’s recommendations.
“I was very thin,” said Amey. “I weighed 163 pounds and I’m about 6'3". I was really underweight. They gave me the number of carbs I needed and showed me what foods I needed to utilize. I’m up now to 173-178 pounds. I’ve gained some weight and I feel good. I’ve really benefited from their knowledge.”
Amey has gotten up to a healthy weight and continues to see improvements in every aspect of his life since applying what he’s learned in the program.
“I have more energy,” Amey said. “I’m not as hungry all the time. Yes, I like food, don’t get me wrong. I know that if I eat a little heavier in the morning I’ve got all day to work that all off. It works out. My blood sugar went down. That shows you what this program can do if the person will listen and follow through the way they tell you.”
Amey’s life has benefited from this program after living with diabetes for over 20 years. He’s been through disappointing programs and had setbacks, but he wants to let others with diabetes know that you do not have to go through all of that. Like him, you can follow this program and improve your life.
“Go for it,” Amey said. “Go all the way and listen to what they teach you and tell you. It will help you immensely. Your life will become better. Hillcrest’s program is the best. I highly recommend anyone with diabetes to go through it.”
Oklahoma Heart Institute currently offers next day endocrinology appointments. Please call 918-592-0999 to schedule an appointment. For more information on the comprehensive diabetes program and how to get scheduled, please call 918-579-3385.