How HealthPartners helped Carole get her life back

The tattoo on Carole’s wrist reads: “Improvise, Adapt, Overcome.”

“I look down at it whenever I need some inspiration to get through a new challenge. My life is different now, I’m in a better place and I’m a better person than I was before.”

Debilitating health issues have made life a challenge for Carole.  At age 30, Carole had a cerebral vascular accident, leaving her numb on the left side of her body. Despite the difficulties in regaining her mobility, Carole went on to obtain a university degree and eventually started a new career with the federal government.

While Carole suffered a few health issues over the years, she didn’t let anything set her back permanently. When she was pregnant with her first child, she discovered she had Type 1 Diabetes. However, she quickly became accustomed to the daily injections and life went on. As the years passed, Carole remained active in the outdoors and with her kids.

But her health issues continued to plague her.

“When I was 45, my career was thriving, but my body was not. It was almost as though slowly over time, my body was shutting down. At first, I was just more tired than usual, then I started to have trouble getting around,” Carole said.

Her body’s deterioration accelerated, she soon found herself confined to a wheelchair.

Doctors could not determine what was wrong. Carole’s symptoms were similar to Multiple Sclerosis and became so severe that she couldn’t give herself her daily insulin injections.

Carole reached out to the Canadian Diabetes Association, a HealthPartners partner organization, which helped her to purchase an insulin pump.

She also sought counseling from Tel-Aide, a United Way Ottawa partner, to help her cope with her new reality.

“I was depressed and felt isolated. After spending my whole life walking around and being active, I couldn’t succumb to life in a wheelchair. No one in my life could understand, and furthermore, I didn’t want to talk about it with them. This is when I realized that I needed someone who could relate to what I was going through.”

Over time, Carole came out of her depression and began to accept life. She said the experience gave her a larger understanding of life and that she is a better, more tolerant person than she used to be.

Today, Carole shines as an administrative assistant with Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. Thanks to the GCWCC and its generous donors, people like Carole are able to access the support they need to get their lives back on track.