When Keith Warfield, 62, of Bogota, New Jersey, first learned from his primary care provider that he was prediabetic seven years ago, he didn’t feel any symptoms and wasn’t too worried. But as Keith’s routine hemoglobin A1C tests continued to show higher and higher average blood sugar levels over time, he became more concerned. 

Eventually, Keith received a Type 2 diabetes diagnosis and needed to take several oral diabetes medications to control his blood sugar levels. 

“My A1C hit its high of 9.2% in February 2020, and I knew I had to do something to bring my blood sugar down,” said Keith.

Independent Research

 On his own, Keith began to research diabetes-friendly diets and used what he learned to make sustainable changes to his eating habits. He stuck with the changes and ended up losing 10 pounds.

During this time, Keith began watching videos from his insurance company’s wellness program about the impact of diabetes. He also started talking to people who were living with the condition and reading about the potential complications. 

“The videos started to scare me,” said Keith. 

Other concerning information on diabetes complications also began started to accumulate. 

Keith began reflecting on the personal experiences of close family and friends who had diabetes, including his sister and mother, who died due to diabetes-related complications, and his brother, who had his leg amputated below the knee. Then a friend with diabetes needed to have coronary artery bypass surgery.


A music teacher at Wayne Valley High School and an adjunct professor at Passaic County Community College, Keith is also a fan of jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald, who had both of her legs amputated below the knee due to diabetes complications.


“Making the connection between the experiences of people I knew and admired and the potential complications is what really pushed me over the edge,” Keith said.


Finding Guidance and Support


Keith was excited by the improvement he saw due to his independent efforts to get healthy, but he knew he needed more help to manage his Type 2 diabetes long-term.


With his primary care physician's support, Keith signed up for a diabetes education course at the MOLLY Diabetes Education/Management Center for Adults and Children at Hackensack Meridian Hackensack University Medical Center.


“Since I started taking the class in April 2020, I’ve read all the literature, and I’ve never missed taking my blood sugar or documenting my food,” said Keith.


Keith said the class — which is led by diabetes educator Nicole Eror and certified diabetes care and education specialist, Linda Vero — provided helpful information on all aspects of living with Type 2 diabetes. In the nutrition portion of the program, Keith learned about the glycemic index and made even more improvements to his diet.


“I looked at the list of foods and started by focusing on eating fresh foods that I liked,” said Keith. “I also cut out fruit juice and soda and switched to unsweetened iced tea.”


Getting Results


Although Keith is not yet finished with his diabetes education course, he has lost 25 pounds and has noticed several positive changes.


“My clothes fit better, I like the way I look, and I have more energy,” said Keith. “Also, my tastes have changed — I really like eating healthy food.”


Keith said his doctors have noticed encouraging changes, too. In seven months, Keith’s A1C went from 9.2% to 6.1%. As a result, Keith has been able to reduce the dosage of one of his diabetes medications and stop taking the other.


“In addition to the weight loss and my lower A1C, my blood pressure is better, and my routine cardiac stress tests are also much better,” said Keith.


Keith said the education he received at the MOLLY Center changed his future. He now feels empowered to sustain the lifestyle changes he has made, which have significantly lowered his risk of developing serious Type 2 diabetes complications such as amputations and heart disease.


“I’m not going down that path,” said Keith. “I like my feet, and I want to keep them.”


Find out how the MOLLY Center located at 87 Route 17 North, Suite 200, Maywood, NJ 07607, by calling  551-996-3010.