Actor James Earl Jones says his 20-year battle with diabetes is his most “challenging job” ever
By Victor Ochieng
Award winning actor James Earl Jones has come out to publicly talk about his two decades-long struggle with diabetes. The actor, who’s an internationally reputed artist with a signature voice, stage presence and screen acting prowess, says he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes back in the mid-1990s, coming at the height of his acting career.
According to the now 85-year-old, the main reason he’s coming out to talk about his condition is to raise awareness about the disease.
According to statistics, more than 1.4 million new cases of diabetes are reported each year, yet many people still live in denial.
When Jones learned he was suffering from diabetes, it came to him as a shock.
“I fell asleep on the bench in the middle of the gymnasium,” he said. “The doctor who happened to be there told me, ‘That’s not normal.’ I took the test, and there it was. Type 2 diabetes. And it hit me like a thunderbolt.”
Managing the process hasn’t been easy for him.
“It is the most challenging job that I’ve ever had for a while… living well with type 2 diabetes,” Jones said during an interview with theGrio.com. “If I can get control of it, that means I can continue working, for instance. I love working.”
According to Jones, he was living a good life, and was exercising, a fact that gave him a sense of invincibility. It made him feel he was on top form and couldn’t catch such a disease, which is why he was quite shocked to learn he had the dis-ease.
“I’d been fit, climbing up mountains and skiing uphill and all that. I thought I was invincible, as the army teaches you to think of yourself, so it was a shock. There’s a lot of denial,” he said. “I’m still grappling with ways to live with it.”
Jones, together with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., is on a mission to inspire the millions of Americans who’re suffering from type 2 diabetes and their families who’re affected by the disease.
Because of his condition, the actor was compelled to develop a close working relationship with doctors towards finding the best approach to managing the disease. In the process, Jones discovered a workable treatment plan that enables him to significantly cut down on his blood sugar. The approach also provides him with the motivation to stick to healthier lifestyle.