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Utah Business

Diabetes, AdvancedMD

Diabetes Transformed My Job Into My Passion

I’ll never forget the phone call I received on March 14, 2017 from my father. After a productive day in the office, I sat in my car stunned. Completely unable to muster a response to his message. What do you say to someone when they tell you they’re going to die? After a 58-year battle with Type I diabetes, which included more than 600 dialysis appointments in his last four years, my dad was raising the white flag. Three days later, I watched him take his final breath as he slipped away. He was 60 years old.

Having a diabetic dad, insulin, blood sugar levels, test strips, and sometimes even a glucagon were frequent topics of conversation in my family. We knew the external signs of low blood sugar and always kept orange juice on hand. Diabetes was an unwanted part of me. In the years leading up to his death and especially since then, a disease I still loathe has morphed into my passion, igniting a fire within.

What I Learned From Watching My Dad Fight Diabetes

Little was known about Type I diabetes when my dad received his diagnosis as an infant. His parents were told that he likely wouldn’t live past his 20’s. After 70,000+ insulin shots, two kidney transplants, two attempted pancreas transplants–with the latter successful, completely losing his vision and a few amputations, my dad defied the odds. Though, what was perhaps the most admirable was the way he tackled the challenges.

“Why me?” was a phrase I never heard him utter. Considering his history of poor health, it would have been easy for him to get angry or question why he was continually dealt trials and illness. Instead, my dad lived by the mantra, “why not me?” This humble, non-entitled mindset should serve as a reminder to all of us, while we cannot control each thing that happens to us, we can certainly dictate the way we respond. Bad things will happen but it’s how we respond to the hardship that truly defines us.

Managing diabetes is more than a daily job. It’s a disease managed minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour. My dad tested his blood sugar five to seven times per day. His rigor and dedication to being healthy taught me about success. When we want to be great at something, it takes persistence and self-discipline. It’s not okay to be inconsistently great. While perfection is unattainable, persistence pays off. With this mantra, I believe we can improve the experience of the estimated 30 million people in the United States who suffer from all types of diabetes.   

Where My Passion Lies

Without any hesitation, the best outcome for those who suffer from Type I diabetes is a biological cure. With time, investment and research, I’m hopeful that will happen. Until then, we have opportunities to ease the burden of those who suffer in various ways. We can raise awareness, donate to research initiatives, and promote technological advances. Through healthcare IT, patient access to data can be increased and education materials can be distributed. It was an arduous chore each time my dad had to see a new physician. He would need to bring a book of his patient history, medications and procedures with him because of the lack of portability of his health record. It was a burden for him and for his healthcare providers. We can fix this.

Steve Jobs said, “If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.” While I am still saddened by the loss of my father, I’ll always admire him for his resilient fight against diabetes. I am and will continue to be grateful for my opportunity to honor him through my job. 

Amanda Hansen is the vice-president of strategy and business development for AdvancedMD. She is passionate about increasing operational effectiveness and profitability and driving continual growth while improving patient care and access to healthcare through innovative software solutions. During Amanda’s 12-year tenure at AdvancedMD, she has held multiple positions in sales, service, finance and strategy which have yielded a host of professional accomplishments that can be seen in her job history. Hansen’s competitive edge, positive outlook and solution-oriented approach have made a noticeable impact on the vision, direction and achievements of the organization. She played a critical role in Global Payments’ recent $700 million acquisition of AdvancedMD from Marlin Equity Partners. Amanda is fluent in Mongolian and enjoys mountain biking, snowboarding, observing and playing all sports, and spending time with her three children. Amanda has bachelor’s degree in communication from Brigham Young University.

Comments (5)

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    Norma Sharp

    I am so proud of you. Your article is super spectacular and so well written. Thank you for honoring your dad this way. You are certainly correct. He never complained about his health problems. Not ever!!! He could have especially during his teenage years but he didn’t. We are so grateful for the full life he was able to live. Thank you Amanda for this special article! You are certainly one of his special daughters. He was always very proud of your accomplishments and would also love this article.

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    Wow. I’m a father of a teenage son that is fairily new to diabetes. Thank you for this article.

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    Amanda, you gave me the words to explain how I feel about having type 1 diabetes. Why not me? Thank you for finding better ways for all of us to communicate with our doctors.

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    Sandra Woodwell

    Amanda! Outstanding article. What a diligent, talented individual you are!

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    Rita Ferland

    So proud of you!!!! Your Dad was one of a kind..So proud to call you my niece..Your very talented..

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