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Jeannie now loves spending active time with her family outdoors. Her daughter and grandchildren are pictured here at the Brookview Elementary School playground in Irondequoit.

Jeannie pushing her grandson Clarence, 7,
on the swingset.

Back in college, I thought I had the flu. When I went to the doctor, I was diagnosed with diabetes. It was a shock – I was overwhelmed. I didn't want to know much about diabetes. Actually, I ignored it and went into denial. I neglected myself, gained weight, and rarely tested my blood sugar.

With diabetes, you don't see what it's doing to your body for a long time. In the early stages, you don't feel that bad. If you do get sick, it's easy to blame something other than the diabetes.

I finally realized that I was being dishonest with myself. I needed to make some changes or I was going to die. I went to my family doctor for a physical and asked about the Unity Diabetes Center.

I went for an initial visit, and my sugars were bad. I felt like a failure, but Dr. Rajamani reassured me. I started doing a little better, but it wasn’t enough. Within a few months, I was really sick, emotionally and physically. Everything in my body was out of control. I knew that I had to get serious.

My doctors encouraged me, especially Dr. Rajamani. He said, “We can do this,” and I knew he meant it. From the first time I met him, I felt like we had a real partnership and that I could do what needed to be done.

Now I've lost over 40 pounds. Without the support I got from the Diabetes Center, I don't know if I would have been able to turn it around. I took it day by day, meal by meal. The pounds came off and my HBA1C numbers got better. Dr. Rajamani and the staff celebrated my progress– and I could see the results.

With the help of Dr. Rajamani and the Unity Diabetes Center, I’ve actually cut down on my medications, and I'm feeling better than ever. I have six grandchildren and I look forward to going to the playground now! And I know I have to stay as healthy as possible if I'm going to see them grow up.