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Barbara Barton

Barbara Barton was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 1992 following surgery for gallstone pancreatitis. She had been treated by a number of doctors over the years for her diabetes, however her A1c spiraled out of control. Her blood glucose levels would spike very high and fall very low. She felt lethargic and sick all the time. 

Barbara moved her care to the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence in November, 2011.  It wasn't until a long talk with Dr. David Harlan, that something clicked. He said, “I suggest you decide that you will get [your diabetes] under control, not that you will try.”  She made changes to her eating habits and began to experience positive results. Starting with an A1c above 10%, Barbara saw that number drop with every follow-up appointment with Dr. Harlan, until she eventually lowered her A1c to 6.7%! 

Changing her eating habits and nutrition was difficult for Barbara. At first, she didn’t think she could do it. Changing her mindset and thinking about her new way of eating as a “lifestyle change” as opposed to a “diet” made it easier as time went on. Now it's a part of her “new life.”

As Barbara's A1c dropped, her insulin doses were reduced and she had more consistent blood sugar levels. She gained more energy and began feeling better overall, which inspired her to continue this new healthy lifestyle. Barbara lost 30 pounds.  "I recently joined a gym and I'm committed to going 3 to 4 days a week and am already feeling results."   

She credits her success to Dr. Harlan, adding “his gentle way and caring nature is one of a kind.” Barbara found his suggestion helpful to remove temptation by not purchasing food she shouldn’t eat, so that it’s not in the house. She now follows a regimented eating schedule and checks her blood glucose levels 8 to 10 times each day. That, in addition to administering her own insulin shots, helps her to feel in control of her diabetes.

Her advice to others with diabetes is to take it seriously, make necessary lifestyle changes and stick with them. Barbara hopes to inspire others by letting them know that better blood glucose control will result in overall improved health and wellbeing.     

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