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Stay-at-home dad tackles Type 2 diabetes diagnosis

Written By: Simone Sonnier, UT Physicians | Updated: June 23, 2022
Jordan Gonzales

Determined to stick around for his wife and three children, Jordan Gonzales worked closely with his health care team to get his Type 2 diabetes under control. (Photo provided by patient)

“I was scared and depressed, and there was a constant fear of dying,” recalled Jordan Gonzales.

Following his diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes, Gonzales felt like completely giving up but there was one thing that kept him going — his children. As a stay-at-home dad, he knew it was important to regain his health to be a present parent.

Dealing with diabetes head-on

Gonzales suspected there was a problem before he received an official diagnosis.

“I started waking up with a dry mouth every morning, and the constant urge to drink water and urinate minutes apart,” he said. “I also felt drained or sluggish, even after getting a good amount of sleep.”

To have a game plan in place for his treatment, the father turned to Elena N. Zamora, MD, family medicine expert with UT Physicians. During their first meeting, Gonzales was admittedly terrified but Zamora reassured him right away.

“Jordan was the type of patient that had insight into his diagnosis and was ready to make a change,” said the physician. “At the time, his diabetes was very uncontrolled but he had started to initiate some diet and lifestyle modifications.”

His treatment plan consisted of what Zamora refers to as medical management. In addition to two medications and one supplement, he also met with Carol J. Henderson, certified diabetes care and education specialist, to work on his diet and nutrition needs.

To take his health journey one step further, Gonzales also incorporated a few lifestyle changes.

“I did a complete three-sixty on my everyday eating habits — switching to almond milk, organic products when possible, and stopped eating processed meats,” he shared. “I also got a gym membership and pushed myself to go every day.”

This positive change thrilled his family and health care team and it lead to some serious results.

Speedy recovery

In six short months after following Zamora’s guidance and keeping up with his new healthy habits, Gonzales got shocking news — it was time to stop all his medication.

Elena N. Zamora, MD
Elena N. Zamora, MD

“When I told him the news, his kids were in the room and I looked at both of them and said how proud they should be of their dad,” said Zamora, assistant professor in the Department of Family & Community Medicine at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston. “I said that because he didn’t do all this work for just himself — he’s doing it to be around for them. He set an amazing example for his children to learn the importance of caring for one’s body and health.”

At the start of this journey, Gonzales had an A1C of 10.9% and today he’s at 5.2%. A normal A1C level is anything below 5.7%.

Going forward, Zamora and the rest of his team at UT Physicians will continue to support him on his current goal of maintenance and weight management.

Zamora is extremely proud of her patient and the progress he made.

Jordan Gonzales with his three children: Aiden (left), Gissel (right), and Joaquin (middle) (Photo provided by patient
Jordan Gonzales with his three children: Aiden (left), Gissel (right), and Joaquin (middle) (Photo provided by patient)

“All the times he didn’t miss taking his medicine, checked his blood glucose, made the right choices with food, moved his body — it all came together for him and it was so rewarding to see,” she said. “This is a perfect example of when you receive a diagnosis of prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes, it should be looked at as an opportunity to make changes in your life.”

Gonzales is grateful to Zamora and his family throughout this process — for their support and encouragement.

“I can say that I beat diabetes and that’s something I never thought I would have the chance to say,” he shared. “My kids gave me the strength and the reason to invoke change for the better and I’m so thankful for that.”

For those who have received a similar diagnosis, the father of three acknowledges how easy it is to give up.

“Even when you’re at your lowest, find the strength inside and keep pushing,” encouraged Gonzales. “The road to recovery starts with you believing in yourself. There are moments when you think you can’t win this fight, and that’s when you should fight even harder to become a better you.”

As the clinical practice of McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston, UT Physicians has locations across the Greater Houston area to serve the community. To schedule an appointment, call 888-4UT-DOCS.