Eskenazi Health Helps Patient Fighting Diabetes

Born in Indianapolis 66 years ago, Sherry Dorsey is an energetic lady who loves to read, dance, work crossword puzzles and cook pasta among many other favorite dishes. A recently retired Indianapolis Public School bus driver of 35 years, Dorsey never thought she would contract diabetes. Unfortunately for this loving mother of two and stepmother of three, it was nearly 15 years ago when fate and heredity caught up with her.

“When I first got diagnosed with diabetes in 2009, I was at a low point and I couldn’t understand everything,” Dorsey said.  “I didn’t listen to my doctors. I wanted to eat what I wanted to eat, and I didn’t care about what they were saying because I had never been a diabetic.”

Dorsey first learned about diabetes from a relative who fought it for years with a strategy he developed on his own.

“My grandfather was a diabetic and he got it under control by changing his diet,” Dorsey said. “He never took insulin. He just would eat vegetables, plus he grew his own garden.”

For a number of years, Dorsey, who gave birth to one of her daughters at Wishard Memorial Hospital (now Eskenazi Health), was fighting diabetes on her own. Things changed for the better a couple years ago after she met and started working with LaTanya Jefferson, a community health worker with Eskenazi Health. However, those positive changes didn’t happen quickly.

“LaTanya has been my provider. She walked me through some things and at first I wasn’t thinking about what she was talking about, but as time went on we built a good relationship and she was my motivator,” Dorsey said. “She said this is what you need to start doing in keeping an eye on my sodium intake and she convinced me to get my sugar under control, and if it wasn’t for her it would still be out of control. My A1C (test that measures the severity of diabetes) was 13 then later down to 10 (both dangerously high readings). LaTanya was a good provider for me and because I listened to her, my A1C is now 6.0 (which is considered prediabetes).”

Jefferson, who specializes in working with patients with diabetes and serves as a mediator between her patients and their doctors, always travels to Dorsey’s house to meet with her. The two friends always enjoy their visits together that usually last an hour or so, although there have been some bumps along the way.

“I’ve helped her understand her A1C diabetes ratings and provided social support with her and been able to help her with setting her own goals and holding her accountable to them with encouragement,” Jefferson said. “When she first enrolled, she wasn’t as compliant with taking her medication or checking her blood sugar as she should have been. She was managing her diabetes her own way to the best of her ability, and when I got involved with her, I gave her more social support than anything. She eventually started looking at the brighter side of it and being more accountable, following through on her doctor’s appointments, taking her medications and really changing her diet and getting her A1C down. Sherry has come a long way and was determined to make a connection with me to make me proud, and I told her to make herself proud, but overall she has made me proud to see the progress she’s made. I always look forward to seeing her. She keeps me going and always puts a smile on my face. I used to need to see her more often, but these days I only need to see her once a month, or as needed.”

Dorsey enjoys spending time with her three grandchildren and being a fan of the Indianapolis Colts and teams representing Indiana University, Purdue University and Butler University. She’s also a huge fan of Eskenazi Health in general – and more specifically - her good friend LaTanya Jefferson.

“She’s a great force in my life,” Dorsey said. “I listen to her and I wouldn’t trade her for anything.

In LaTanya, they really have a good person working for them. If she wasn’t in my life, my diabetes would be out of control. She’s my sweetheart. I love her!”

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