Bobby Brooks – Diabetes Success Story

Taking back control

undefinedHow one former NFL star reclaimed his diet and his life through diabetes education.

“I love life,” says Bobby Brooks, 61. So when his weight threatened the quality of his life, the former NFL player sought the help of Saleemah Fahmi, MD, medical director of diabetes education and independently practicing diabetologist on the medical staff at Methodist Charlton Medical Center.

“I wanted to learn about diet and weight loss, but what came out of that meeting was learning about my diabetes,” says Brooks, who’d had the disease for 10 years. He was taking a combination of oral medications to manage it, but his A1C was still too high.

Dr. Fahmi referred Brooks to the American Diabetes Association–recognized Diabetes Self-Management Program at Methodist Charlton. There, he realized that diabetes was not only something he couldn’t ignore, but it was also something he could control.

Empowered by the truth

In the Diabetes Self-Management Program, Brooks met one-on-one with a dietitian to create a personal diet plan. He also attended group health education sessions, where he was surprised to learn that foods he’d been eating were to blame for adverse effects he’d experienced, such as sweating, throbbing eyes, and raised blood pressure.

“I started eliminating a lot of these foods from my diet and eating leafy vegetables and fruits and noticed an immediate difference,” Brooks says. “I thought, ‘This really works. If I get really serious about it, I might be able to lose some weight also.’”

And he was right. Better eating combined with his exercise routine has him halfway to his weight-loss goal. And even better: It also improved his diabetes.

“His A1C is down two points, and he’s off of most of his medications,” Dr. Fahmi says.

Words of the wise

undefinedLooking back on his life, including his athletic career, Brooks knows he’s made some bad health choices. He credits the Diabetes Self-Management Program with helping him turn his health around and recommends the program to anyone with diabetes.

“It’s a disease that doesn’t have to happen,” Brooks says. “I just wish I knew then what I know now.”

Dr. Fahmi points to Brooks as an example of how a motivated person can gain control of diabetes.

“People feel diabetes is out of their control, but it really isn’t,” she says. “Lifestyle management controls it more than any medicines can.”

Take control of your diabetes in the Diabetes Self-Management Program.

From the winter 2012 edition of Shine magazine.