Catarino enrolled in May of 2015 with an A1C value on the extreme high end of the scale. He attended six different, two-hour classes in which a CHW instructor led him and his fellow participants through interactive presentations about diet and exercise. CHW Linda Medrando met with Catarino, gave him a glucose meter and testing strips, taught him how to administer and read the test and assessed his needs to ensure that he had access to the community resources in order to meet his goal for controlling his diabetes. Together, they made an action plan that included packing lunches to bring to work, eating vegetables during each meal and enrolling in a gym membership.
“I received a lot of support from the CHW,” said Catarino. “She called me; she visited me; she talked to me about the program and the necessity to continue moving forward with my diabetes. I liked it because they cared about me.”
Three months later, he decreased his A1C value to within the healthy range.
“It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible either,” said Catarino. “I got used to changing my health and eating five or six times a day at a scheduled time, and I started to get results.”
Not only did Catarino find that his health data was improving, but he was also seeing changes in his daily life for the better. Catarino’s wife, Laura, began attending classes with her husband.
She says she and her husband have not only changed their behavior, but it also affects the behavior of her two sons.
“Before, we used to eat out and order flour tortillas,” she said, “but now if we go out to eat, we order corn tortillas. If we’re going to eat bread, it has to be whole wheat bread. If it’s sugar, it has to be sugar-free Splenda. Here at dinner, my boys don’t find bread, sweets, or chocolate—no bad food or junk food at all.”