Managing diabetes as a professor: Judith’s story

For DePaul Professor Judith Rae-Ross, 70, managing diabetes for over 20 years proved difficult most days as she struggled to compose herself through class teachings. “I remember asking my students a question one day, then feeling the ground underneath me move, and my head began to feel light,” says Rae. “I was diagnosed with type-1 diabetes in the late 70s and delved into all the ways to live a healthy life with diabetes, since then. I have eaten the right things, exercised when I could, kept up with my medicine, and somehow nothing seemed to work for me. It became rather challenging living as a diabetic.”

Type-1 diabetes accounts for five to ten out of 100 people who have diabetes. In type-1 diabetes, the body’s immune system destroys the cells that release insulin, eventually eliminating insulin production from the body. Without insulin, cells cannot absorb sugar (glucose), which the cells need to produce energy. “I needed to find an alternative because living with diabetes was becoming increasingly difficult,” says Rae. Luckily for Rae, she came across a flyer at work that talked about a relatively new program that that would change her life for the better. “Six years ago I found this flyer posted on the bulletin board about a program called Chicago Diabetes Project so I called them immediately,” says Rae, where she quickly began a new path with Founder and Director of the Chicago Diabetes Project Dr. Jose Oberholzer.

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Article originally printed in Lawndale Bilingual Newspaper (February 26, 2016)
By Ashmar Mandou

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