By Kathryn Rice

Sharon Hopper, 71, Maryville, has overcome diabetes type 2 with a regiment of diet and exercise.

Hopper, like many people, only go to the doctors when they feel like they had to. When she had the symptoms of blurry vision and uncontrollable sweating she went in to see Dr. Pat Dawson. After doing bloodwork, Dawson returned with a shot of insulin because her blood sugar had tested at almost 500.

Shortly after this, Hopper had a heart attack and had to have three stints implanted. After recovery, Hopper started her regiment of four insulin shots and two metformin tablets daily to control the diabetes.

She was overweight for her body structure at 178 pounds. She examined her black and blue stomach from the insulin shots one morning and decided she had to do something. She took Debra Hull’s LiveWell Diabetes Prevention class for the second time. She cut out bread, rice, white potatoes and all baked goods at Hull’s encouragement to change her diet.

“It was really hard to change my diet but carrying the insulin in an insulated bag and figuring the timing of shots was harder,” she asserted.

She got a membership at the Maryville Community Center in January 2021 and started walking two to nine miles a day.

“I drafted everyone and their dog to walk with me,” she said.

She and her husband computed she had walked a 1,000 miles by March 2022. She was also taking tai chi at the Nodaway County Senior Center, an exercise routine she had done for 10 years. Through the diet changes, walking and tai chi she had lost enough to weigh in at 133 pounds. She had also controlled her blood sugars to the point she had not had to have insulin or pills the last six months. Her go-to snack is a boiled egg.

She still monitors what she eats, “if I want something sweet, I eat it at noon, and then I walk to bring my blood sugar down.”

“If you’re not taking you’re blood sugar seriously, a heart attack will,” she explained. “I’m trying to maintain my weight. I have more energy than I’ve had in years.”