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Occupation: Unemployed, former school principal, teacher
Diagnosed: 13 years ago
Weight then: 242 pounds
Height: 5 feet 2
Background: When first diagnosed, Valenciana got serious about her weight and lost 45 pounds. She put her diabetes on the back burner, however, after a bout of cancer -- a stage 2 tumor in her leg that required surgery and 10 months of chemotherapy -- followed by a heart scare that resulted in doctors putting in two stents. In 2004, when her doctors saw that her blood sugar was 416 and her A1C was more than 13, they put her on insulin and metformin. "I was a mess -- cancer, diabetes, heart disease. I finally stopped telling myself I would deal with this later." In February, she started seeing a new doctor, who put her on a 600-calorie diet. She learned to like fruits and vegetables and stopped skipping meals. Her reward came one month later: She got to go to McDonald's, where she can still go, but only if she orders as prescribed -- 3 ounces of chicken, and a green salad. And she started walking every day.
Today: She weighs 189 pounds, and is off insulin. She still takes metformin and medication for high blood pressure, which she hopes to wean herself from as she loses more weight. She also still checks her blood sugar several times a day, and it's usually less than 100. She tries to maintain a 1,000-calorie diet and walk 40 minutes most days a week, shooting for 6,000 steps a day. And her cancer has been in remission 10 years. "I feel as if a huge weight has been lifted -- literally and figuratively."
Advice: "Find someone who will help you truly understand your illness. I have two college degrees and didn't understand how damaging my diet was."
What keeps her on track: "I didn't survive cancer to die of diabetes."
"This isn't hard. Being on insulin is hard."
Diagnosed: Shortly after his much-publicized liver transplant in 1995, the former "Dallas" TV star developed diabetes.
Weight then: 216 pounds
Height: 6 feet 1
Background: People who have organ transplants often develop diabetes as a response to anti-rejection medications. Hagman was giving himself five insulin shots a day. When he realized insulin didn't have to be part of his life, he made some changes.
Lifestyle changes: He lost 20 pounds, and now weighs 196. He continues his daily diet of eggs, bacon and coffee for breakfast. A Glucerna shake for lunch, and a light dinner of typically either soup and an open-faced ham-and-cheese sandwich, or fish and salad. No alcohol, not after he got his new liver. "Why push it?" He exercises one to two hours a day in his home gym doing free weights, and cardio on the elliptical, or he walks along the ocean. And he gets to bed at a reasonable hour: "As you get older, going to bed is the most fun thing you do all day."
Today: He takes no insulin and only one pill (Januvia, an incretin that boosts gut hormones) a day. His blood sugar stays in the low 100s and his A1C is 6.4.
Advice: Lose weight. Eat right.
What keeps him on track: "I can't believe the freedom from not taking shots all the time. I don't know what to do with all my time."