Taking control of our health: An interview with Scott Greenstone

Author(s): Lydia L. Kim, Digital Content Editor

The American Nurse team is delighted to have had an opportunity to speak with Scott Greenstone, a registered nurse who recently shared his story about beating death with Healthcare Marketer’s Exchange.

The American Nurse team would like to share Scott’s story with our readers, including how other nurses can use his approach to managing his health.

American Nurse: To start, would you mind telling our readers a bit more about what prompted you to look into your symptoms?  

Scott: Sure, and thank you for letting me share my story. Without getting too graphic, I noticed that I couldn’t get through the night without waking 3-4 times to use the bathroom. I initially thought it was related to drinking lots of water during the evening, and at first didn’t put together the thirst and urination. But when I started having to excuse myself in meetings lasting less than an hour, I started getting worried that something was going on with my body, but hopeful it was related to a change in my blood pressure medication and nothing too serious.

It is great to hear how you took control of your health and were able to start managing your diabetes and high cholesterol through exercise and proper nutrition. Do you have any tips for nurses who are currently working and may be also dealing with similar issues? What about the nurses who haven’t been diagnosed with diabetes or high cholesterol – do you have any advice for them as to increase their self-care regimen? We know that this can be challenging for nurses, given the nature of their jobs.

Scott: It’s definitely not easy, but it’s a commitment that we all need to make. Kids, family, job (especially the long hours on your feet as a nurse) all get in the way. Upon my diagnosis I knew I had to make some drastic changes, for my health and as a teaching moment for the kids. The first part was easier, that was the diet. I made the conscious effort to stop eating the food that my kids didn’t finish and more importantly stopped having dessert every single night. The exercise part was a bit more difficult, even though I used to be a long-distance runner about 10 years ago; I knew I needed to get back to exercising. Being one that really isn’t a fan of the gym and weightlifting, I knew I needed to get back to running. At first I was doing my runs after work when I got home, but with long days, it was getting difficult to fit in the running at night. So I started getting up early every day and running in the morning before work. I have been able to maintain pretty good consistency and even ran a half-marathon back in September, my first one in about 8 or 10 years.

How have your family and nurse colleagues reacted to what you’ve accomplished?

Scott: Oh, everyone has been really supportive, especially seeing the loss in more than 40 pounds in such a short period. Everyone has been encouraging and helping me not eat the cookies around the office or have the dessert at home when the family is enjoying their treats.

I think you ended your original article on a great note—that you don’t want patients to perceive diabetes as a “death sentence”. What types of education should healthcare providers, especially nurses, offer their patients to avoid dispel this perception in newly diagnosed patients?

Scott: You know, my cardiologist gave me a piece of advice that really hit home and seems to work, making the reduction of treats a lot easier. He told me that when we want to have a treat, it’s ok to just take a bite, or spoonful, of the dessert that my kids or wife is enjoying. Most of the time our body just craves the taste and that one spoonful could be all you need to satisfy the crave. It’s also important for nurses, doctors, and others on the healthcare team to be encouraging and explain the condition in the simplest terms. Educating patients about how diabetes affects the body (and cells) will help them really understand how the preventative methods I took work to stave off elevated blood sugar.

Is there anything else you think is important for our readers to know?

Scott: I think it’s important for everyone to know, a new diagnosis of diabetes doesn’t have to scare you or freak you out. It’s all about managing your life, nutrition, and exercise. If you can find a happy balance you can get your health under control.

Please read the original article in Healthcare Marketer’s Exchange here.

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