ADDISON – It’s been almost three years since Addison resident Denise A. Pancyrz found herself hospitalized with a pancreatitis attack and a newfound Type 2 diabetes diagnosis.
“I knew my blood sugar levels were going up,” Pancyrz said.
The size 8 woman didn’t think she was in danger, though. She figured she was getting older and her body just wasn’t what it used to be, until her hospital visit in November 2010.
With her diabetes diagnosis came oral medication and four shots of insulin. Doctor after doctor warned her that she would require more and more insulin as she aged.
“I started asking more and more questions of the doctors,” Pancyrz said.
She said she kept getting the same answers, even after she broke down in a diabetes educator’s office begging for an alternative. Pancyrz promised she would follow any diet or regiment, but everyone told her she would depend on drugs for the rest of her life.
Frustrated, Pancyrz began journaling about her experience, and this year she published a book born from her journals. “The Virgin Diabetic” follows Pancyrz’s path to health through nutrition, not medicine.
About six months after her diagnosis, Pancyrz found two doctors willing to help her explore other options.
“It was really a process of learning that you just needed to make a lifestyle change,” Pancyrz said.
With the support of her husband, Larry Pancyrz, the couple revamped their lifestyle, cutting out wheat, and adding in exercise. Denise Pancyrz not only tested her own blood sugar six times a day, but her husband’s as well.
“Our motto is, if it’s in a bag or a box, we typically don’t buy it,” Denise Pancyrz said.
More than two years later, she doesn’t take any medication or insulin to control her blood sugar. The couple’s seasonal allergies have disappeared, and Denise Pancyrz claims to feel better at 50 than she ever did in her 40s.
The idea of making a permanent change was a little overwhelming to the half-Italian woman, who admitted her previous meal plan was full of pasta. But, Pancyrz said she wants others to know healthy lifestyles can be an option to improve chronic diseases. She’s given speeches, taken individuals grocery shopping and started another book that will be a guide to setting up a healthy kitchen.
Pancyrz said she titled her book to encourage people, who like herself, might not have a medical background, to take control of their health care and ask questions. While she’s now certified in holistic nutrition and homeopathy, she didn’t know anything about diabetes when she was diagnosed.
“It doesn’t mean you can’t learn,” she said.