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Barbara Barton

Type 2 Diabetes Success Story

Barbara Barton was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 1992 following surgery for gallstone pancreatitis.  She had been to many doctors over the years to try to manage her blood sugars, 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 of 2011.  It wasn't until a long talk with Dr. David Harlan, that something clicked.  He told her “I suggest you decide that you will get [your diabetes] under control, not that you'll 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 at every follow-up appointment with Dr. Harlan, until she eventually lowered her A1c to 6.7%! 

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

As Barbara's A1c dropped, her insulin doses were reduced and she experienced more consistent blood sugar levels.  She gained more energy and began feeling better overall, which inspired her to continue the 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 that “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.  Now she 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.

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

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