Improving My Health

Mercy Housing Northwest partners with the YMCA to offer a Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring Program. I joined the program after some of my neighbors mentioned how much of a difference the program made in their lives. I desperately needed a change. For my health and my life, I decided to join.

Before joining, I found myself mindlessly eating, mostly out of boredom. I wasn’t exercising and wasn’t very active. I would spend hours in bed or in front of the television, eating foods and drinking beverages high in fat and sugar.

Six years ago, I began experiencing swollen legs, chest pain, headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, and other health complications. After meeting with my primary care physician, I was diagnosed with diabetes, kidney disease, and hypertension. I was not well, not mentally or physically.

My spirits were at an all-time low. In my depression, I skipped doctor’s visits. This continued until I was admitted to the hospital to stabilize my health. Even then, I wanted to sign out of the hospital against medical advice. Luckily for me, my team talked me into staying. Laying in my hospital bed, I knew I needed to change. I had to put my health in my hands while I still had a life to live.

Since joining the YMCA Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring Program, I have seen some major changes in my health. I attend my appointment regularly. I follow all their recommendations, take notes of their suggestions, and report back on challenges/wins that I am experiencing. I exercise daily. My favorite activity is the walking aerobics group at New Tacoma. Twice a day for 30 to 45 minutes, we gather to walk and stay active. I closely monitor my blood pressure and share those numbers with my doctor. I have also started buying fresh fruits and vegetables. I do my best to stay away from sugar. Instead, I make smart choices, participate in nutrition classes, and utilize the Food Bank offered in our community.

I have learned to advocate for myself. I ask a lot of questions and rely on the services offered to me. I have frank conversations with my health professionals and my Healthy Heart Ambassador. I finally feel as if I am on the right track.

I am so thankful for the support of my neighbors and the Tacoma Senior staff. My mental and physical health is so much better. For the first time in a long time, I feel empowered to take care of myself. I may have done the work, but without a doubt, I can say the partnership between Mercy Housing Northwest and the YMCA saved my life.