November was National Diabetes Awareness Month, and communities across the country teamed up to bring attention to diabetes.

To bring attention to the impact of diabetes and the unique way Mosaic Medical Center – Maryville’s Diabetes Education Program can help you and your loved ones;  here is one patient’s story.

Jon Schoonover, a diabetes education program participant, is one of the many patients Deb Hull, the full-time diabetes clinician at Mosaic Medical Center – Maryville, has supported from education to empowerment. Schoonover was diagnosed with diabetes in 2010. Even though he had seen numerous family members struggle with the effects of diabetes through kidney and heart problems, it took him three years to get serious about taking care of himself.

“Acceptance is a feeling you have to go through with diabetes,” said Jon. “It took me some time to get there.”

Schoonover is a former athlete and current farmer, remaining highly active throughout most of his life. However, this all changed when he injured his Achilles tendon and discovered a 90 percent blockage in his heart, resulting in three stents. He decided it was time for him to get serious about his health. At its highest, Schoonover recalls his A1c getting up to 9.12, which is a dangerously elevated level that can have a serious impact on a person’s eyes, nerve function, organs and extremities.

Schoonover’s endocrinologist, Junping Yang, MD, recommended that he begin taking diabetes education classes at Mosaic Medical Center – Maryville. He and his wife began attending classes together. “By the second class, you realize you don’t know half of what you thought you did,” he said.

One of the keys to success for him was getting someone else in his life actively involved. He felt like he and his wife were both able to understand food in a way that they never had before. They are both on the same page, and it helps him to gain confidence in his food selection. The classes provide patients with tips, ways to be successful and helps keep them on track.

“A teacher must have mastered the lesson they are teaching, and Deb has done just that. She has a true passion for helping people,” said Schoonover.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), diabetes significantly impacts more than 37 million people living in the US alone. It is estimated that almost half of the US population will be pre-diabetic by age 65.