Better Than Ever: Oklahoma Woman's Transformation in New Diabetes Program

Deciding to change is hard. It’s even harder to make that decision, stick with it and improve your life.

Oklahoma native Wanda Vogel, 68, knew how hard it can be to change your path. She had the warning of prediabetes and a registered dietitian daughter pushing her to change, but none of that was enough to break the cycle of failed attempts to enact positive change. It wasn’t until a referral to an Oklahoma Heart Institute endocrinologist and a call from the comprehensive diabetes program staff that Vogel decided this was her chance.

“It was the first day they were open and I was their second patient,” Vogel said. “It was kind of exciting to be a part of something new.”

This first appointment is where Vogel met the whole team who would be taking care of her throughout her entire journey. This initial meeting opened her eyes to what she had been missing. Haven’t previously received any diabetic education, Vogel said she felt excited as she was learning about the different program parts.

“It just seemed like I was going to get a lot of help and support,” Vogel said. “It was a pretty big day to hear what everyone had to say - what they would like me to do and how it could help me. I was very positive after the first day that this was something that I could do and it could help me a lot.”

That’s when Vogel started to change her habits. She received nutrition tips from the dietitian, teaching her exactly how food affects her diabetes and how to get the correct kinds of nutrition. The team also tracked her blood sugar and was always ready to help her discover her issues and explain how to improve. Vogel felt this kind of constant support and ease of connecting with her team is why she was so successful in this program.

The program staff checked on her, tracked her progress through MyChart, cheered her on and made sure everything was adapted to her needs.

“Someone contacted me every week by phone just to see how I was doing - if I had any questions or problems,” Vogel said. “I recorded everything in MyChart so they could check my glucose levels for the week. Dr. Cristin Bruns commented every week on how my sugars had been that week. If she noticed something that was out of line, she had a suggestion on what I might do to help. I think that's what kept me going, getting all that positive reinforcement for how I was doing.”

Vogel changed her diet, started exercising for the first time in a long time and saw that her hard work made it possible to do things that were impossible for her before the program.

“I've lost 75 pounds,” Vogel said. “When you lose 75 pounds you can move around a lot better. I hadn't been able to go to the grocery store and walk around for well over a year. Now I can go to the store and walk around to do all my shopping. I think that’s a really big change in my whole life. To be able to go do things like that I couldn't do before.”

The benefits keep adding up as Vogel continues to apply the education and guidance of the program.

“I feel like my total health is better,” Vogel said. “I’m still losing weight. I’ve added walking to my exercise. Now I can go into any store. Emotionally, between the death of my husband and other things going on in my life, I just wasn't a very happy person and I would suffer from depression from time to time. That's all gone away now.”

Vogel hopes sharing her life-changing journey will inspire others to ask their primary care physician for a referral and contact this program to start their own transformation.

“I can’t say enough good things about the program and I have recommended it to several of my friends who are also diabetic,” Vogel said. “I’m just thrilled with all of my results and looking forward to continuing. I hope I can encourage someone else to look into the program and try. It’s well worth the effort.”


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.