Sherri Shepherd Opens Up About Her Life With Diabetes

"The View" star shares: "It can open a world to eat differently, start exercising, change things and feel great."

Sherri Shepherd Opens Up About Her Life With Diabetes
Diabetes Care | Nov. 22, 2021

In some parallel world, there's a half-roundtable discussion going right now covering the hot topics from Sherri Shepherd's life, and you can bet panelists include 2007 Sherri, her two sisters, her mother and good ole Uncle Earl. Don't sleep on Uncle Earl.

The moderator: This Sherri we have now, the 2021 edition.

The issue: Their varied views of and experiences with diabetes.

Each has something to offer. All have something they've lost.

And our moderator? She's got all of the above plus the perspective of having lived and learned how caring for her diabetes is a crucial part of caring for herself. That's what comes when you're breaking free of the generational grip of diabetes.

"I always tell people: Don't look at diabetes as a death sentence," Shepherd said. "You just have to open up your eyes and do certain things. Diabetes can open a world for you to eat differently, start exercising, change things and feel great."

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The Family Ties That Bind
Sherri Shepherd's wisdom comes from a place of the very realest and most painful of experiences. Diabetes has cost her family dearly.

She lost her mother to complications from type 2.

Both of her sisters have type 2.

And Uncle Earl? His type 2 cost him one of his feet.

"Everyone just said, 'Oh, it's Uncle Earl, no foot,'" the comedienne said. "But no one ever thought it was off or, like, this isn't OK. Nobody said, 'Wait a minute. Uncle Earl shouldn't be missing a foot.'"

"The Sugar," as it's known in her family, was looming for her too.

The Family Ties That Bind

Sherri Finds Her "Why"
Her journey from 2007 Sherri — just before she began co-hosting daytime television juggernaut "The View" following an iconic turn on "Friends" as Rhonda (I shared my puddin' with you, man! I gave you my snack pack!") — to 2021 Sherri, well, it winds and twists and turns.

When she arrived in New York for her turn with Barbara, Whoopi, Joy and Elisabeth, she had already been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes after battling high blood glucose levels for some time.

Still, for at least a couple of years, she didn't make any changes. Eating was coping. She had a hard time talking about it because she felt she didn't know enough. It wasn't shame. She was scared and in denial. Figuratively, she was running from her truth. For a person who makes her living making people laugh, she had to find her way to not be so doom and gloom about her condition.

And then … it started to click. Funny what good can come from a bad breakup.

She wasn't there immediately. But she was on her way to becoming the Sherri she is today.

From Shepherd's point of view, sugar numbs. She wants to be present — in every way — for her life and for her son Jeffery, 16, who snapped his mother to attention with a simple question: "If you die, who is going to be my bodyguard?"

Said Shepherd: "My son is my 'why' for getting healthy."

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Continuous Glucose Shepherding
In March 2018, Shepherd went off sugar completely, but before then? She admits to gargling with diet soda when she brushed her teeth and you know what, we're pretty sure this is one of the few times she's not kidding around. While she initially found success cutting sugar from her diet, COVID presented challenges well past March 2020.

The struggle is real.

But as she has learned more about diabetes and its specific effects on her body, she adapted and grew. She stopped eating pork and beef because too much protein made her glucose rise. She tried a vegan diet but that didn't work as well she'd hoped. She's given up dairy. Through her experience and with help from her team of doctors (endocrinologist, general practitioner and ophthalmologist), she's finding the right combination for her body.

Learning more meant wanting to know more, even if that involved wearing a piece of tiny technology that might as well have been "some alien contraption on her arm," as she describes it. Anything so long as it helped her manage her diabetes and saved her the pain of pricking her fingers.1

And so, the FreeStyle Libre 2 continuous glucose monitoring system* joined her entourage. It's perhaps that rarest of Hollywood phenomena: A true friend.

Shepherd knows: "Libre don't lie."

She counts on its accuracy.2

She appreciates how its immediacy keeps her present in the moment, how that control has restored dignity and replaced whatever embarrassment used to live there.

She relies on the simple swipes over her arm to see how the choices she makes have measurable impacts on her health.

She loves that the MyFreeStyle program is for free for anyone† who wants to try it, the epitome of making our best technology accessible and affordable.

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No Substitute for Living Her Best Life
The transformation of Sherri Shepherd is not yet complete. (Are any of us ever really done figuring out who we are and what we want to be?) But for Shepherd, there's an undeniable upside to how she's living her life with diabetes.

Exhibit A and B: She's certain she'd never look at a food label otherwise. Or stop to consider how the food she eats changes how she feels because her "vegetables would normally be McDonald's French fries."

She's passionate about being healthy, especially for those living with diabetes. People like her loved ones holding court at the half-roundtable in our minds. There, Sherri 2021 is leading the conversation with a previous version of herself and her immediate family (past and present) and, of course, Uncle Earl. It's just the kind of family gathering that in the past would have caused Shepherd to struggle against her family's deep emotional attachment to sugar.

Something terrible happened? Moms gonna bake an apple pie.

Bad breakup? Man, who wants to eat a plate of steamed broccoli?

But she's here today to tell you she's found her healthy substitute for that life.

She's eating well and eating differently, and that's helping her live well by living differently.

For all that's been lost, that's what she's gained. That and everything else that her life can offer.

References
1Fingersticks are required if your glucose alarms and readings do not match symptoms or when you see Check Blood Glucose symbol during the first 12 hours.
2FreeStyle Libre 2 User's Manual.

*Sherri Shepherd is a paid ambassador for FreeStyle Libre portfolio. The views expressed are not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice. Individual symptoms, situations and circumstances may vary.

†Eligible patients will receive one (1) FreeStyle Libre 14 day sensor or (1) FreeStyle Libre 2 sensor (for users with a compatible mobile phone operating system) or one (1) FreeStyle Libre 2 sensor and reader at $0 copay. The expiration date of the voucher is 60 days from the issue date. This program is not available for patients with gestational diabetes. Only patients 18 and older are eligible to receive an offer for the FreeStyle Libre 14 day sensor, and patients 4 and older are eligible to receive an offer for the FreeStyle Libre 2 sensor and reader through their parent or guardian. This offer is void where prohibited by law. Abbott may modify or rescind this offer at any time without notice. The discounts are not available to beneficiaries of Medicare, Medicaid or other federal or state healthcare programs or residents of Massachusetts, Puerto Rico and other US territories. The free FreeStyle Libre 14 day sensor, FreeStyle Libre 2 sensor or reader is provided as a sample and is limited to one NDC per eligible person. The FreeStyle Libre 14 day sensor, FreeStyle Libre 2 sensor or FreeStyle Libre 2 reader cannot be re-sold, traded nor submitted to any third party payer for reimbursement and is not provided as any inducement for future purchases. The free sample card is not health insurance.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

FREESTYLE LIBRE 2

FREESTYLE LIBRE 14 DAY

FREESTYLE LIBRE 14 DAY
Important Safety Information
FreeStyle Libre 14 day system: 
Failure to use FreeStyle Libre 14 day system as instructed in labeling may result in missing a severe low or high glucose event and/or making a treatment decision, resulting in injury. If readings do not match symptoms or expectations, use a fingerstick value from a blood glucose meter for treatment decisions. Seek medical attention when appropriate or contact Abbott at 855-632-8658 or https://www.FreeStyle.abbott/us-en/safety-information.html for safety info.

FREESTYLE LIBRE 2

FREESTYLE LIBRE 2
Important Safety Information
FreeStyle Libre 2 system: 
Failure to use FreeStyle Libre 2 system as instructed in labeling may result in missing a severe low or high glucose event and/or making a treatment decision, resulting in injury. If glucose alarms and readings do not match symptoms or expectations, use a fingerstick value from a blood glucose meter for treatment decisions. Seek medical attention when appropriate or contact Abbott at 855-632-8658 or https://www.FreeStyle.abbott/us-en/safety-information.html for safety info.

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