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Why I Do What I Do - Jessica

On the 31st of December 2015, my father had a heart attack and was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes mellitus. A stent was placed in his left coronary artery to clear the blockage that was preventing the passage of blood and oxygen to his heart, and his life was saved.

After this traumatic event, my father endured countless cardiologists, medical doctors, diabetes educators, nurses and dietitians who all put in their two-cents for what he should be doing going forward to prevent a secondary, likely fatal, heart attack. During this time, I found it extremely difficult to trust anyone. When the health of someone so dear to your heart is on the line, you second guess everything. As a future health practitioner (at the time), I realised it was up to me to put in the hard work to ensure that my father was getting the best care possible.

Over the months that followed, I spent all my spare time researching diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease to understand the potential cause(s) and contributor(s) of my father's condition, as well as how to most effectively manage it. I unveiled many flaws in the conventional healthcare system, and learned that nutrition is undoubtedly at the core of most chronic health epidemics our society is facing today.

This discovery fuelled my already overflowing passion and desire to becoming a dietitian. I connected myself with thought leaders and experts in the fields of diabetes and medical nutrition, and absorbed as much intelligence and wisdom from them as I could. Many of these people now form a support network that I trust entirely, converse with regularly and continue to learn from every single day.

I endeavour to one day be an expert in the field of diabetes myself, and will be commencing my research doctorate (PhD) in 2018 to investigate the effectiveness of a specific nutritional strategy in the management of diabetes mellitus. Though a major objective of mine is to reach the masses and influence the national dietary recommendations and guidelines for improved chronic disease management, I also aim to be a trusted health professional for individuals on a personable basis.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where chronic conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease are smacking us right in the face. I know the importance of having a trusted health professional in your toolbox to support and guide you through what may seem like a one-way tunnel of darkness.

There is light at the end of every tunnel.

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