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PATIENT STORIES

Improving His Health, One Step at a Time

When you meet Henry, he immediately shows off pictures of his beaming family: his wife, three successful children and three delightful grandchildren. Despite the smiles, Henry’s life has not been easy, and he has often sacrificed his health for the sake of his family.

Originally from Kosovo, Henry and his wife, Mary, first came to the U.S. so that she could have emergency brain surgery. At first, they struggled financially, and for many years, Henry went without seeing a doctor so that they could pay for Mary to see one.

Five years ago, Henry discovered BVMI and has been coming here ever since. His doctor discovered that something was not functioning properly with his prostate, and, after a series of tests, diagnosed prostate cancer. After a long battle, and supported by the BVMI healthcare team, Henry beat his cancer.

Henry has had a lifelong struggle with healthy eating. His job as a cook made it easy to snack throughout the day, in addition to eating a portion of whatever was being served for lunch or dinner.

 

Early this year, he was under a great deal of stress as he helped his son open a new restaurant. At his annual exam, it became clear that stress and poor eating habits were taking a toll: Henry weighed in at 225 pounds, his blood pressure was dangerously high and he was pre-diabetic.

Dr. Josef Machac, Henry’s volunteer physician, spent a lot of time with Henry discussing his lifestyle and suggesting some positive changes he could make. Henry recalls, “Dr. Machac was so patient with me – he explained everything. And he didn’t give me so much to do that I felt like I was going to fail.”

Dr. Machac also arranged for Henry to see Holly Homa, BVMI’s certified diabetes educator, that same day. Holly sat down with Henry and taught him how to manage his pre-diabetes so that it didn’t progress to diabetes. “I knew I was overweight but I didn’t know how to manage it. I left BVMI that day knowing I was in good hands.”

When Henry came back a few weeks later, he’d lost almost 10 pounds! Dr. Machac encouraged him to continue making changes, but to up the ante a bit. So instead of walking a few days a week for 20 minutes, he started walking every day for 30 minutes. He began eating more fruits and vegetables and less pasta and red meat.

At his most recent appointment, Henry weighed in an amazing 35 pounds lighter. His blood sugar and blood pressure were nearly normal. “I am feeling great now because of Dr. Machac and Holly. I enjoy walking for an hour everyday and feel good when I eat healthy foods. I know I have the power to take control of my health and change in my life.”