Nafisa has been a patient of MCPN for almost a decade. She began receiving services at North Aurora Family Health Services (NAFHS) shortly after immigrating from Uzbekistan with her husband and two-year-old daughter. Nafisa is now a resident of Colorado, has added two more daughters to her family, and relies on the MCPN discount program to have her health needs met.
Since moving to the United States, Nafisa struggled with her weight and the health problems that can come with being overweight. Three years ago, taking control of her health became more important than ever, when an unexpected tragedy put the reality of an unhealthy lifestyle into perspective for her.
“Everything started three years ago when my eldest sister died because she was overweight,” Nafisa said. “The doctors said overeating was her main problem because it ruined her blood structure and caused clogging. She died young, at 43.”
Due to the stress of this event, Nafisa ended up putting on more weight. At a routine medical check-up, Nafisa quickly realized she was headed down the same path as her sister when she was diagnosed as pre-diabetic. “That test changed me very much,” Nafisa said. “I knew I was overweight but this test was the proof that I have a lot of problems.” Erin Frazier, Nafisa’s provider, told her that gaining even 5 or 10 more pounds could push her immediately into the diabetes group and that she needed to make major lifestyle changes immediately to avoid becoming diabetic.
Nafisa knew then that this unhealthy lifestyle was no longer what she wanted for herself or her family. “Something changed in my brain then,” said Nafisa. “I thought, I want to be with my kids and see their weddings. I didn’t want my kids to grow without me. I realized I should change my life.”
What followed this realization was a challenging, painful, and ultimately joyous weight loss journey. Nafisa began doing zumba, eating healthier foods in smaller portions, and making simple lifestyle changes like walking to places instead of driving. Three years later, Nafisa has made incredible strides. She has lost over 70 lbs and is no longer pre-diabetic.
Nafisa noted that her husband and kids were her main source of inspiration. “My eldest daughter would say, oh soon you will be wearing my size and shopping in my section,” said Nafisa. Her husband also supported her by bringing her healthier foods when she didn’t have time to go to the store or by simply telling her how beautiful she looked. “These comments help inspire me,” she said.
Her journey has had an impact on her children, especially her 12-year-old daughter. “We were talking a lot about my test at home,” Nafisa said. “She’s always asking me questions now like what kind of food are you eating and why. She’s beginning to understand what is healthy and what is not healthy.”
Nafisa’s family was not her only source of inspiration, however. She thanks the MCPN staff at North Aurora for their consistent kindness and professionalism. She is especially grateful for the support of her provider, Erin Frazier, and described Erin as a catalyst for her taking control of her health. “Erin was a pressure point for me,” Nafisa said. “Her words, her belief in me…her trust.”
Nafisa is proud to share her story, not only because it shows just how far she’s come but so that it may help inspire someone else going through the same struggle. “I see this as my victory and I will be happy if this helps other people.”