Reaching daily goal motivates patient

Mary-Anne Janewski walks a steady pace around the track at The Meadows Recreation Centre. She’s aiming to reach her daily goal of 10,000 steps. What keeps her motivated is seeing the changes in her health.

Mary-Anne is an example of an Edmonton Southside Primary Care Network patient who started her journey with her family doctor. She’s been seeing Dr. Narpinder Hans at Meadowbrook Medical Clinic for 18 years and it was a diagnosis of a Baker’s cyst on the back of her left knee that had Mary-Anne think about whether to stay on the couch or to keep moving. With Dr. Hans and the PCN team of nurses at the clinic, she decided to not to give up.

“I thought I would never be able to go for a walk. It was really bad and I could barely put weight on it. Dr. Hans encouraged me not to give up and exercise. It was hard. The more you sit on the couch with your leg up to heal it, the more weight you put on because you are not exercising. It will heal and it has. I walked to the top of a mountain last summer. I still deal with the cyst, which causes inflammation and fluid on the back of my leg,” says Mary-Anne.

She was first introduced to the PCN when Dr. Hans had her see Cheryl Barabash, a primary care nurse, for allergy shots. During her weekly appointments, Cheryl would ask Mary-Anne about her health goals.

“She was always praising me for the things I was doing,” says Mary-Anne.

She is also gluten intolerant and allergic to wheat. Her son is dairy and soy intolerant while her daughter is dairy intolerant. That means all the food in the household has to be gluten free, dairy free and soy free. After a diagnosis of diverticulosis, Mary-Anne wanted to know how much fibre she needed to consume daily so she turned to Robin Arora-Deslilet, a PCN dietitian for help.

“Some of the gluten free breads taste like cardboard. She helped me figure out some exact products. She said I needed to get 28 to 30 grams of fibre in a day. Now I feel better. It really helps having more fibre. I do notice a big difference,” says Mary-Anne.

She feels she has made steady progress because of the encouragement she has received.

“It’s frustrating to have gained so much weight. It’s easier to sit on the couch and try not to think about it as opposed to going out and doing something about it. I am probably more pro-active with their support and help than I would have been without it. It’s always talked about in an encouraging manner. You already feel bad enough that you put weight on. You don’t need someone else saying, ‘Come on, you should lose some weight.’ I already know that,” she says.

Mary-Anne plans to keep moving. “My goal is 10,000 steps a day and I am killing it.”