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Beating the Diabetes Odds

Julia Groom  | Published on 5/28/2019

 

In 2000, Daryl Gillespie, a 24 year Navy Veteran, had a routine check-up with is primary care provider. Much to his dismay, his blood sugar numbers were beyond the normal, healthy range. Due to the fact that Daryl was hovering around 300 pounds, his PCP recommended a dietary program. Daryl agreed but after two years on the dietary program, he had little success. Taking 14 medications a day he said “I had a plate of food for dinner, and a plate of pills.”

 

And then, about two and a half years ago, Daryl just lost it. He got mad. “I was locked in at 285 pounds, my knees and legs hurt, I was sick of taking all the oral medications, and I had no motivation. I was mad about carrying around all the weight. It was time to bite the bullet.”

 

Wanting both medial supervision due to a number of health issues, he consulted a bariatric clinic. Working under the supervision of a doctor, and enrolled in a three day class at the Virginia Beach Diabetes Clinic. The three day intensive training was followed up with a class once a month.

 

“The clinic was my lifesaver” Daryl says “they got me on the straight and narrow.” Every week, attendees would turn in an exercise log, and he didn’t want to be the one not participating. So, he started to exercise. Today, he is doing 45 minutes of walking, and goes to the gym to lift weights. In the summer, he rides his bike around the neighborhood “fourteen miles isn’t really that far, it takes just over an hour” he says. ‘The classes kept me motivated, and accountable for my actions.”

 

“Exercising is me time”, Daryl reflected. “I have to set aside time for me. It an opportunity to clear my head. When I’m walking, riding my bike, or going to the gym, no cell phone!”

 

Today, at 220 pounds, and taking only 4 medications a day, Daryl says “I feel great! My wife and I celebrated our fiftieth wedding anniversary nine months ago, and some of my kids didn’t recognize me!”

 

I asked Daryl what advice he would give others facing a similar situation. “You have to move around. Bend over and give yourself a kick in the butt! And set reasonable goals. It took me 71 years to become 300 pounds, so I wasn’t going to change that overnight. When I got mad, and started attending the classes, that’s when things changed.”

 

Daryl’s only regret is that he didn’t get mad, and start the process, sooner. But he hopes that by sharing his story, someone will be encouraged to make a change. Sign up for a class. Get mad. Start moving. Whatever it takes.