NSI Stem Cell Aug 2017

August 2017


Spring Hill | Clearwater | Brandon | Weston

F rom A nxiety to A dvocacy Charles Mattocks’ Journey With Diabetes

I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes about seven years ago. At the time, I knew nothing about the disease. Though many people in the Latin and black communities struggle with diabetes, it wasn’t something I thought would affect me so personally. And then, my doctor gave me the diagnosis. It came out of left field. I was completely shocked, and, at one point, I thought I was going to die. I didn’t realize diabetes was a manageable condition and, in some cases, reversible. It didn’t help that I got off to a bad start with the doctor who diagnosed me. He had next to no information about the disease. He couldn’t give me the insight or reassurance I needed to move to the next step. I was left confused and uncertain about the future. And what’s worse is that doctor isn’t alone in the health care field. There are many others just like him who simply don’t understand the diagnoses they give their patients. As a result, there’s a lack of education. I had to take my diagnosis into my own hands and turn to the internet. I researched the disease and learned what I could to improve my outlook. With that information, my first step was to take a hard look in the mirror, both literally and figuratively. I told myself, “Man, you’ve got to lose some weight.” That became my first priority. I changed what I ate and drank, and I began an exercise routine. I cut out the junk and filled my diet with fruits, vegetables, and plenty of water. On top

of that, I started walking and jogging more. I lost about 15 pounds in that first month of making the change. As I was making changes to my lifestyle, I realized I was in a unique position as a celebrity chef. Before my diagnosis, I had established a career as “The Poor Chef” and had appeared on a number of television shows. I was in a place to take what I had learned and share it with others. I could put a face on the disease and become a voice for the community. One of my first initiatives was the documentary, “The Diabetic You.” My goal was to tell the stories of people who deal with diabetes every day — both Type 1 and Type 2. I went around the world and met with several people who live with the disease and gave them an outlet to share their journeys. “Reversed.” The first of its kind, the diabetes docu-series is airing on the Discovery Life Channel this month. It focuses on five people who live with diabetes who work (and work hard) to change their lives. All I can say is these five people surprised all of us in their journeys and their triumphs. It’s about being inspired to look at life differently. Inspiration is one of the keys to living with diabetes. From the day I was diagnosed to today, and through my experience with stem cell treatment, I’ve learned so much. I’ve learned a lot about the disease, how to manage it, and myself. When it comes to living with diabetes, and getting the most From there, I developed other initiatives, including and most recently,

out of life, inspiration may be key, but it’s equal to both discipline and education. These three aspects — education, discipline, and inspiration — go hand- in-hand. You can give people all the education in the world, by if they lack discipline, they won’t get the desired results to improve their situation. I learned this firsthand as I worked to change my lifestyle. I had to become disciplined to make it work, but I also had to have an education of the disease and find inspiration to overcome the obstacles that stood before me. It wasn’t easy — and it still isn’t easy — but it’s worth it. It’s worth it for myself, my family, and every person out there who doesn’t have the advocate they need to live a better, healthier life. ~ Charles Mattocks

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