Today, we are featuring Eileen. Her husband works at a large retail company through which she has access to Livongo. She stays at home, taking care of her dogs and her mother, who lives with stage 4 COPD. She loves to read and write, and she is into music — "all music," she said to us, but she clarified that her favorite band was Jane's Addiction. This is her story.
Livongo: When were you diagnosed? What crossed your mind when you were told about it?
Eileen: About 2 years ago, a week after my mom was also diagnosed with diabetes. I kind of knew it was coming, and I got really depressed. I was down for a couple of weeks. The diagnosis was like getting a HUGE bucket of ice-cold water dumped on my head.
Then, I started to realize that this was the best thing that could happen to me. Today, I count carbs every day. I am responsible for what I eat and how much I eat. In a way, getting the diagnosis saved my life.
Livongo: What is the hardest thing about living with your condition?
Eileen: The hardest thing is people not understanding what diabetes means. If they see me with a treat of some kind, they jump in and say, “Are you supposed to eat that?” I think a small treat here and there keeps me from overeating other things. Also, people judge me because I am obese. They assume that I did this to myself, when it’s not the case.
Diabetes will never go away: I will always be counting my carbs and checking my blood sugar. Diabetes is always going to be with me and that is hard.
Livongo: Was there a moment when you decided things needed to change? Describe this point in time.
Eileen: About 3 weeks after being diagnosed, I was talking with my mom. I realized that I had diabetes, but it doesn’t have to mean I am sick all the time. I have consistently lost weight since I was diagnosed. My life changed when I decided to take things seriously.
Livongo: When you first heard of the Livongo program, what appealed to you about it?
Eileen: I have been a Livongo member almost since I got diagnosed. You guys contacted me and let me know that it was covered by our insurance. “Right on!” I said. Livongo took away a lot of my fear to make a mistake, to do something wrong. It became a part of my daily routine. It helps me take better care of myself, not just diabetes, but an active part of my personal life.
Livongo: What are your favorite things about the Livongo program and why?
Eileen: I love the fact that there are coaches: Someone is there when I need them. In healthcare, you don’t usually get that direct help when you need it. It makes me unafraid to share things I am experiencing, very much like having a coach in your pocket. Livongo also gives me little bits of “good job!” and “way to go!” Though it may sound silly, it motivates me. I also love how, if my blood glucose is high, it gives me a few reasons for what it could be due to. It makes me aware of what’s going on immediately. It makes me feel not alone.
Livongo: What do you wish the Livongo program did that it currently doesn’t do for you?
Eileen: Tracking my food in the app … wait, that’s been added! [This functionality was recently added to the Livongo app.] I had been using two other apps to do this, now that means I don’t have to use more apps.
Livongo: What is life like today? Where do you see your life going from here?
Eileen: Livongo has taken the fear out of my disease. Life today is good: My A1c is 6.2%, I have been losing weight nice and slowly, learning to eat things I hadn’t tried before, and learning how to combat dry skin. I am happy. I have taken ownership of my diabetes. My dream: Keep on making better food choices to get my A1c to the point where my doctor agrees to take me off Metformin.
The testimonials, statements, and opinions presented are applicable to the individuals depicted or quoted. Each member’s exact results and experience will be unique and individual to each member. The testimonials are voluntarily provided and are not paid.