Nelda's Diabetes Story - Pella Regional Health Center

Nelda Pealer is a Miracle

Nelda PealerNelda Pealer is a miracle. She says it. Her diabetes health care provider says it. Her family says it. So why is she a miracle?

Nelda has successfully lived with Type I Diabetes for 59 years. She was diagnosed at age 4 and doesn’t remember a time when she hasn’t had diabetes. It hasn’t all been easy, but her biggest success is to accept each health challenge as it comes and find answers with her health care team.

When she was young her doctors explained that she couldn’t expect a normal life expectancy, even if she took very good care of herself. She didn’t expect to get married or have children; yet she did. In fact, she was advised not to get pregnant but through very careful medical monitoring she had three children.

“Life with diabetes can be a constant challenge. There is no break from it,” said Nelda.

Much has changed in the treatment of diabetes over Nelda’s lifetime. And the progress that’s been made has improved her life for the better.

Testing blood sugars is a constant concern for people with diabetes. When Nelda was young she would get her blood sugar tested at doctor appointments. Then home glucose monitoring became available around 1983. This made it possible to get a more accurate range of what a person’s blood sugar was whenever needed. Now glucose monitors are easily available and Nelda checks her blood sugar eight to 10 times a day. Even when she wakes up in the middle of the night, she’ll go to test her blood sugar.

“Looking back, I never really knew what my levels were unless I was at a doctor appointment. Now I have my monitor with me all of the time,” said Nelda.

When Nelda was a child, her syringes were made of glass and needed to be boiled to be sterilized. The needles didn’t stay as sharp as needed. Now everything is disposable. Nelda also appreciates her insulin pump. An insulin pump delivers a small basal injection of insulin for a steady dose throughout the day. “It gives you immediate control,” said Nelda.

“I know I wouldn’t be alive now if there hadn’t been so many changes,” said Nelda. “That sounds bad, like I wasn’t been treated properly before and that’s not true. It was the best there was at the time.”

Nelda has appointments with Marsha Collins in Diabetes Management every 3 months to go over any questions, possible health issues, review blood sugar readings from the pump, and do a physical exam and carefully check her feet. “People with diabetes have to be very careful of their feet. Feet can lose their sensation and sores can develop quickly. I sure don’t want to lose my feet,” said Nelda.

Nelda also has appointments with her internal medicine physician, Dr. Robin Vande Voort, every 3 months and tries to stagger those appointments with those she has with Marsha in Diabetes Management. In her appointments with Dr. Vande Voort, Nelda’s diabetes diagnosis is only one piece of what is covered. “I appreciate the fact that both Marsha and Dr. Vande Voort know me and know that I know what I’m doing. They trust me to know my body and what’s happening so we can work together for solutions,” said Nelda.

“I’ve always had good experiences at Pella Regional,” said Nelda. “We have it good here in Pella. There are so many specialists available and over the years I’ve been able to do more and more of my testing her in Pella rather than having to go to Des Moines or even Iowa City.”

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