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Greencastle, Pa., man accepts disease as part of life

January 04, 2001

Greencastle, Pa., man accepts disease as part of life



After his bypass surgery in November 1999, Jay Hess did more than rehabilitate his heart. He started taking care of his blood.

Hess, 73, of Greencastle, Pa., was diagnosed more than 20 years ago with diabetes, the disease that killed his mother.

While in cardiac rehabilitation, he was introduced to a diabetes educator at Waynesboro Hospital in Waynesboro, Pa. Then he started taking better control of his diabetes.

Now he watches his diet, exercises regularly and watches his weight.

"I was not doing that before," Hess said.

He had to cut ice cream and candy from his diet because of diabetes, and now he has to watch his fat intake to prevent further heart problems.

His wife prepares healthful meals, including more vegetables and lean meat.

One to three times a day, Hess checks his sugar levels with a finger-stick test. A blood sample from his finger is placed on a strip that can read his levels.

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To keep the levels of glucose in his blood stable, he has snacks between meals. These may consist of half a peanut-butter sandwich or one of his wife's homemade cookies. Sometimes he just takes sugar pills.

He also takes oral medication.

Walking 20 to 30 minutes a day helps Hess keep the 20 pounds off that he lost. He also keeps busy with projects around the house and maintaining a garden.

He keeps up on diabetes issues by attending monthly support group meetings at Waynesboro Hospital.

"It's just one of those things you have to live with," Hess said. "I never think about having it."

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