Teresa Booms - Harrison, MI
"As I've worked with Dr. Khan and his team, my health has improved tremendously. The future looks bright and I feel the possibilities for me are endless."
The Right Diagnosis Led to the Right Treatment
For seven years after learning she had diabetes, Teresa Booms of Harrison was frustrated and getting increasingly sicker. Both her health and her life changed for the better when she found Internal Medicine Physician Abid R. Khan, M.D., and the Autoimmune Center at MidMichigan Health.
"In the nearly three years I've been with Dr. Khan, my health has improved tremendously," she said. "Thanks to his help, my future now looks bright, with endless possibilities," she said.
Diabetes had derailed a long career in criminal justice and curtailed everyday life for the normally active and gregarious mother of five grown children.
"I was raised with a strong work ethic and had worked since age 13. To not be able to work was devastating," she said. "I became depressed by the unfairness of losing a job for an issue that I couldn't do anything about."
She had seen several other doctors for her condition. "Every one would slap down a prescription and tell me to have a good day. My A1C level wasn't going down. It was increasing," she said. An A1C blood test indicates an average blood glucose level for a three-month period. "My doctors didn't change anything or figure out why things weren't going the way they should."
She began seeing Dr. Khan after hearing about him from friends. "I called the Autoimmune Center, completed the new patient forms and had an appointment within two weeks," she said.
"Other doctors told me I must be doing something wrong – like eating things I shouldn't or failing to take my medications," she said. "When I told them I wasn't, they said I was lying. Dr. Khan was the first doctor to sit down and say, 'Let's discuss this.' He wants to know what is happening. He treats the whole person."
In fact, Dr. Khan diagnosed Booms with a condition called latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA). Usually affecting people over age 30, LADA at first behaves like type II diabetes, but is actually type I.
"That's why regular diabetic treatments weren't working for me," she said. "It's not weight or lifestyle, it's my body!"
When Dr. Khan first saw Booms, she was taking a multitude of prescriptions, many of which he promptly discontinued, because they were not effective for treating her LADA. He focused on insulin, and soon recognized that she would be the kind of patient who could benefit from using an insulin pump. Working with the center's diabetes educator, Booms began using the pump about 18 months ago. At first she hesitated, but now says she wouldn't give it up.
"I used to carry around two kinds of insulin plus needles," she said. "Now, I punch the number of carbs I eat onto a keypad, and the pump gives me the amount of insulin I need, over the right length of time."
Dr. Khan and the staff not only help her get the right medications, but also do what they can to help address the cost of care. "They research to find medication that will do what they want and is covered by my insurance," she said. "In one case, to assure coverage for the only medication that would do what we wanted, Dr. Khan had a staff member spend hours on a preauthorization request."
Dr. Khan is well connected to the nation's leading autoimmune disease experts, able to pick up the phone and talk to them about the latest advances that might benefit his patients. He has been designated a Visiting Scholar in the department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. He is working with researchers and clinicians at Johns Hopkins University, the University of Michigan, and other institutions to optimize and roll out the innovative model of care that is helping patients like Booms manage the medical challenges that come with autoimmune diseases.
With core team members located at MidMichigan Medical Center - Clare, the Autoimmune Center has providers affiliated with MidMichigan Health who see patients locally, and can arrange referrals to experts at other leading institutions nationwide.
As they established a trusting relationship and stabilized her condition, Booms and Dr. Khan addressed such issues as her chronic pain, the effects of allergies on her immune system, and depression that developed after several personal losses.
"As I have worked with Dr. Khan and his team, my health has improved tremendously. I have a better understanding of how diabetes works and what I need specifically," she said. "I'm not depressed. I found friends I didn't know I had. I travel, garden and enjoy my family and friends. And I am able to work again at a job that gives me the option to take care of myself."
Autoimmune diseases can be debilitating and challenging to diagnose and treat. MidMichigan Health has developed a program dedicated to the care of patients with suspected or confirmed autoimmune diseases. At the Autoimmune Center in Clare, we strive to help these patients get the right diagnosis and the best available treatment through comprehensive evaluations and coordination of care with specialists across the country. To schedule an appointment, please call (989) 802-8525.