The hawker knew he had diabetes about 20 years ago but reckoned that it was a genetic condition as his parents were diabetics too.
So, Mr Jimmy Lim, 57, left it alone, not realising that his lifestyle was the biggest culprit.
“I drank a lot of brandy and I ate a lot, especially seafood like crabs and prawns,” he said.
The disease ate at him slowly. He started feeling perpetually tired and thirsty.
Then a scare last year proved to be a turning point. The wound from a cut on the last toe on his left foot started to fester.
“The doctors said they may have to cut it off,” he recalled. His limb was saved after months of antibiotics and regular visits to a podiatrist to keep his wound clean.
He stopped drinking and now watches his diet, avoiding oily food like char kway teow.
He has to continue taking diabetes medicine and, two months ago, started on daily insulin jabs because the medication alone did not work as well.
Mr Lim, who used to weigh 80kg at his heaviest, has managed to reduce his weight to 70kg. His sugar levels before meals have dropped from 13mmol/L to an acceptable 7.3mmol/L.
As for exercise, he feels being a hawker is enough of a workout. “I’m on my feet and moving about all the time,” he said.