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A Journey from Despair to Renewed Hope

The MedQuarter | January 30th, 2020

Janet LeonardJanet Leonard has lived with Type 2 diabetes for nearly 15 years, but in the spring of 2018, she thought her time was coming to an end. Janet was morbidly obese and battled with shortness of breath just walking from room to room.

She gave up on life. Janet stopped driving to Dubuque to see a diabetes specialist because she didn’t think going would do any good. She felt powerless and hopeless.

“I was waiting to die. I was a heart attack waiting to happen,” Janet said.

She planned and prepaid for her funeral, started decluttering her house and told her children to be prepared. She wasn’t sure she was going to see another birthday.

Taking Her Life Back

One afternoon, Janet met some friends at a restaurant. When she arrived, Janet was so out of breath from crossing the street that she literally could not speak.

This was not the Janet her friends knew. Out of love and care for her, Janet’s friends pushed her to visit her doctor and seek answers.

She did and was referred to a cardiologist. The cardiologist told Janet she was a perfect candidate for the Health Transitions Clinic, located at Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa in the MedQuarter. The very next day Janet saw Charles Pruchno, MD, a kidney specialist and leading physician at the clinic.

Dr. Pruchno explained to Janet that her physical condition was not allowing her body to process the 500 units of insulin she was taking every day. He then introduced her to the Medically Supervised Weight Loss Program.

This program is designed for people with Type 2 diabetes, prediabetes and those at risk for developing diabetes. It is an individualized 10-month program that works in four phases to ensure safe weight loss and to maintain a healthier weight. The program includes weekly monitoring, a monthly meeting with the physician, custom meal plans developed by a dietitian and a gradual introduction of exercise.

Living to Enjoy the Benefits

In addition to losing 90 pounds, Janet was able to lower her insulin dosage to the level she started with 15 years ago. She hopes to be insulin-free in the future.
Janet had been spending $5,000 a year on insulin. With the money she’s now saving, she will take a trip to Ireland, the home of her ancestors. And the best part? She will be able to walk without shortness of breath on the trip.

Because she is now more active, Janet is more comfortable getting out of the house and attending events. She is more confident in herself.

“It made a huge difference in how I approach life because now I can actually be a part of it. It used to be easier just to stay home, but I can go out with friends now. My life is going to be a lot longer,” Janet said.

She is grateful to have found the help that she needed at PCI, in the heart of the MedQ, describing her experience there as pleasant, convenient, with top-grade specialists who truly make a difference in the lives of many people.

“They saved my life and can save yours too,” Janet said.