We recently chatted with Linda. She and her husband of 50 years are in their 70s and have three kids and 13 grandchildren. When she’s not doing something with her family or reading, she’s sewing pillowcases by hand to give to women in a local shelter and to friends and family with cancer.
Livongo: Tell us about the story of your diagnosis.
Linda: I have had Type 2 diabetes for 18 years as a result of chemotherapy. After the treatment, I started feeling worse, until one of my doctors ordered bloodwork. As it turns out, the chemo had damaged my pancreas, and as a result I developed diabetes. I was actually thankful that I had to face diabetes and the chemo had not impacted my liver, because that would have likely resulted in the need for a transplant.
I didn’t get much of a formal diabetes education at first, so I started reading everything I could about the condition. When I learned about the complications that can result from not managing your diabetes, I took it upon myself to be proactive, exercise regularly, and eat healthy. To be fair, something happened to me that made it easier to eat healthy: In my 30s I found out I was allergic to gluten, so since then I have been a Nutrition Facts label reader.
Until not too long ago, my A1c was around 6%. I used to walk a lot until I got injured midyear, and since then my fasting glucose numbers have been running higher than usual. So I am getting ready to have a procedure to address my injury.
Livongo: How did you first hear about Livongo for Diabetes, and what appealed to you about it?
Linda: We received a communication from my husband’s former employer informing us about Livongo. I immediately signed up for it. Before, my doctor had asked me to check my blood glucose at least twice per day. He also said if I felt low or high, I should check, not guess. However, when Medicare became my primary insurance, I was restricted to one glucose check per day.
With Livongo, I am able to check my blood glucose as often as I need or want, which is fabulous. I also get a kick out of the little messages that come up on the glucose meter after you check — they are very informative. Last, I like being able to track my numbers in a graph, the way you can on the Livongo meter: I had never had a meter that could do that.
Livongo: How has life changed for you thanks to Livongo?
Linda: I feel more secure in my diabetes management using Livongo, because I know it’s there, I can test any time I need to and not count strips. With Livongo, I don’t have to guess: I know! I also love being able to call to talk to a dietitian. She helped me clarify questions I had about carb counting, and how protein and fiber impact my blood glucose, even after living with Type 2 diabetes for nearly two decades.
Livongo: Do you have any advice for others who are living with diabetes?
Linda: Manage what you eat. You don’t have to restrict everything. I don’t do it, either — I still indulge once in a while. But you do have to regularly control the size of your portions, and you have to WANT to do it.
I ask people with diabetes: How much do you care about your body? For your loved ones? Do you love them enough to help yourself be as healthy as you can? Clearly, there’s going to be days when things are out of control, you eat the wrong thing and your blood sugar is going to go high. But you can’t let that rule the whole thing.
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.