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How to win the battle against diabetes

Patti Rose Smith was shocked and frightened when she was diagnosed with diabetes during a routine blood test.

Now, 18 months and 63lbs later, she says she has never felt better.

“When they tell you, immediately you go into shock,” she said. “You think you are going to lose a limb, you're going to die, you go into denial. I did all of these things.

“But if I hadn't been diagnosed, it would have gotten worse. It would have been harder to get it under control.”

Speaking out about her condition this week in an effort to raise awareness of diabetes, Ms Smith, said she was diagnosed with type two diabetes last Spring during an annual checkup.

“The only symptom I had was blurry vision,” she said. “I wear glasses anyway so I figured I just needed to upgrade them.

“After I was diagnosed, my doctor sat down with me and told me that Type Two Diabetes was manageable, and you could eventually get off all medication. I also went to my pastor for spiritual advice, who told me through God, all things are possible.

“Then and there I made up in my mind that this was going to be the first step of my journey.”

Ms Smith said she followed the advice of her doctors, cutting back on calories and sugary foods while exercising more.

“I walked four times a week, approximately 30 to 45 minutes,” she said. “If it was raining outside, I would put on a DVD and exercise in my house.

“I knew one of my problems was the sugary drinks, the sodas and the fruit juices which have an alarming amount of sugar in them. If you look at the back of a soda can, most of them have 35g of sugar, which is 35 of those packages. Imagine what that is doing to your kidneys.”

While she admitted she would occasionally have something sweet, she said she was careful to do so in moderation. Three months after being diagnosed, Ms Smith had lost 20lbs. Since then, she has lost another 43lbs and dropped four sizes.

“You can imagine how many times I have had to buy new clothes,” she said. “I need another new wardrobe now.

“In January of this year I took more blood work, and the reading was that I was non-diabetic. I took more blood work three weeks ago and I'm still under the level.

“I feel great. I have more energy, my metabolism has sped up. I went to the eye doctor in July and my eyes have improved to the point where they have changed the lenses.”

She said that while her road to recovery was not always an easy one, she said the journey was more than worthwhile, urging anyone with diabetes to take control of the condition. “I want everybody to be aware because more and more people are being diagnosed in Bermuda,” she said. “I think it's because of the eating habits on the Island. Macaroni and cheese and potato salad. You go to a picnic on the beach and that's what you see, and most of it will be on your plate.

“This time of year, getting closer to the holidays is particularly hard because you're going to want to have that big Christmas plate. The secret is moderation. It's all about eating sensibly.

“I think you should look at the possible end results. If you don't control your diabetes, you should look up the consequences and see what could happen. I did, and it put a fire under me.”

Happy and healthy: Patti Smith lost 63lbs in her battle against diabetes. (Photo by Akil Simmons)

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Published November 01, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated November 01, 2013 at 12:18 am)

How to win the battle against diabetes

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