Debbie, a 63-year-old retired hospital employee who calls herself a rebel, wound up enjoying working with her advocacy team through BPA, and says it turned her life around.
The key, she says, is to be willing to work with the advocates and listen to their advice.
She was not on board when she was asked to join the program. But, after an hour chat with her primary care physician, she was convinced to start.
“He thought I’d benefit immensely and, because of my great respect for him, I thought ‘Okay, I’ll do it,’” Debbie says. “I’ve come a long way.”
Debbie suffers from several chronic illnesses, and her 38-year-old son, who is autistic, still lives at home with her.
“I have a lot of stress,” she says. “I’m accident-prone and in the span of five years I lost almost all my family and two close friends. I was almost at the bottom when I said I’d try the program. And everything they’ve suggested that I (at first) refused to do has turned out just perfectly.”
Cardiovascular problems run in her family. Her body builds up cholesterol quickly, and her main aortic valve had a severe blockage. She had other blockages that required surgery. Debbie also suffers from acute chronic panic attacks, extremely high blood pressure and high blood sugar.
Looking back, she’s glad she joined.
“The best part,” she says, “is knowing there are people who care about me.”
This was evident when team members visited her in the hospital as she recovered from injuries she had suffered in a motorcycle crash.
At the start, she says she was against Christian counseling, but learned counseling sessions helped her identify what causes stress in her life and, perhaps more importantly, how to work through them. The advocacy team also provided her with podiatry care, massage therapy, chiropractic treatment and information about holistic medicine.
“My life has improved 100 percent,” Debbie says.
Although she still has chronic illnesses, she now knows how to deal with them.
“I don’t feel like I’m going to die tomorrow,” she says. “My health has improved, including my mental health, and my emotional strength is a lot better.”
When asked how a company can benefit from the program, she says when employees improve their health and outlook on life, they may seek medical treatment less often, reducing the amount an employer pays in health costs. Debbie highly recommends the program to anyone, but with some advice.
“You have to dedicate yourself to the program, no matter how resistant you are, and I’m the rebel of all of them,” she says. “You have to want to do it. You have to want to ask for help. If you go in with a negative attitude, it’s a mistake. It’s not going to do you any good and it’s a waste of their time.”