Eight years ago, 31-year-old King resident Kelly Sellers was six weeks into adjusting to recently prescribed pain medication and she found herself struggling. Sellers had trouble keeping food down and had lost 25 pounds. As a single mother of two, finishing college and looking for full-time work, she frequently put off finding help. “I was scared,” she said. “I was tremendously weak and so tired of being sick. Finally I decided to go to the doctor.”
Her Family Nurse Practitioner, Darla Scott at Novant Health Mountainview Medical in King, diagnosed Sellers with type I diabetes. Sellers was shocked. “It honestly blew me away because my symptoms were nothing like my mother’s, who had type 2, and type 1 was never mentioned in my house growing up, so I just thought there was only one kind.”
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body is unable to produce insulin. Normally, the pancreas regulates insulin automatically, producing hormones that help control blood glucose levels. These hormones can “sense” when sugar levels rise and release insulin to help lower blood glucose back to normal.
But a diabetic’s pancreas in a patient with type 1 diabetes doesn’t produce enough insulin. To maintain regular blood glucose, patients must resort to providing insulin in other ways, such as injections.
Sellers went to Dr. Kellie Faulk of Novant Health Intensive Diabetes Management for treatment.
“She believed in me when I didn’t necessarily believe in myself,” Sellers said of Faulk. “I’m just extremely thankful that I met her and she’s become my doctor.”
Faulk emphasizes the power and importance of small steps to success – visiting a diabetes educator to learn accurate carb counting and healthy meal planning, setting achievable weight loss goals, attending group classes. “If there’s one thing I hope to do for all my patients,” she said, “it’s to lower their medication as much as possible because now they know what to do for themselves.”
Over the past year, Sellers and Faulk have worked as a team to bring her glucose levels under control.
Faulk believes in boosting a patient’s confidence, equipping them to improve their health. And, she added, “They are the pilot of the plane, and their engagement is essential.”
Sellers, meanwhile, said she doesn’t “always make good diabetic choices,” but she appreciates the encouragement she receives from Faulk. “She always made me try to understand that there are no good or bad choices, it’s just a choice,” Sellers said. “And if maybe you should have done a bit better, don’t do it the next time. Don’t beat yourself up about it.”
Sellers, now 39, enjoys a newfound sense of control over her life. She also gained motivation from her two kids, Hayleigh, 16 and Adam, 15. “I told myself I would never put them through finding me passed out from my blood glucose not being controlled,” she said.
She finished her degree in paralegal technology, works as an administrative assistant at a Winston-Salem law firm, and is happily engaged to her fiancé, Will.
Faulk and her team deserve much of the credit, she said. “They have given me a lot of positive reinforcement, which truly goes a long way in dealing with diabetes every day.”
For more information on diabetes care, visit novanthealth.org/diabetes. To schedule a consultation at Novant Health Intensive Diabetes Care clinic, call 336-718-7500.