We had an opportunity to connect with Aliska. She’s a 53-year-old data analyst in Delta’s Reservations division, a wife, a mother of eight adult kids, and a grandmother of 28 (ages 19 months to 21 years old). Her greatest delight is to spend time with her family, but she is also very involved in church activities and volunteering in the community. This is her story.
Livongo: Tell us a bit about your diabetes journey.
Aliska: I was diagnosed in 1999. I had a lot of the common symptoms — frequent urination, thirst — I had frequent headaches, and I would feel warm and then jittery. I was just not feeling well. My blood glucose was high, but I didn’t know it. I set up an appointment with my doctor and he confirmed I had Type 2 diabetes. Since my numbers weren’t too far out of range, for several years we managed it with diet and exercise.
Eventually, it became a bit more challenging, so I started on oral medications. Since I have allergies and other health conditions, we went through a series of medications. Today, I’m on a combination of two oral meds and one injectable that I take once a week.
When I was diagnosed, I didn’t have as much personal knowledge about diabetes, and I wasn’t tracking my glucose readings then. For the past 10 years, I’ve been seeing the same doctor and we’ve been very rigorous about monitoring my numbers, what causes them to fluctuate, times of day that I have my medication and meals, etc.
The past few months were very challenging on the family front: My mother, who was sick in the hospital for a year and a half, passed away last October, and my brother-in-law passed away last weekend. This resulted in me neglecting my care as I dealt with everything that was going on. In spite of this, at my physical last week, my A1c was 7.1%.
Livongo: How did you find out about Livongo? What appealed to you about the program?
Aliska: I signed up for Livongo almost 2 years ago. Once a year, Delta does a Men’s Health Symposium. I signed up my husband to attend, and I came along as a guest. I learned about the program at the Livongo booth during one of the breaks.
Initially, I registered for Livongo because it was an opportunity to get a new meter, and the service would take care of sending me new strips when I was low on supplies, which was one less thing I had to keep up with. But that was just the initial motivation.
I am the type of person that tries to do everything I can do to help me be healthier. In my first year with Livongo, I was able to track how many days in a row my blood glucose was in range. To me, it was a challenge to see how long I could do it. Eventually, I was able to get 30 straight days in range. I am a reformed perfectionist. I try to understand that there are going to be good times and bad times, but I still keep working to try to do my best at staying in range.
I tell people about the Livongo program all the time! Just a couple of weeks ago, I was telling a nurse at a health fair in my church that she should look into it for her company. Livongo is the best thing to happen to me. I have used other systems where you check your glucose and you are done, but none motivated me — with easy access to my numbers, charts, and summaries — and helped me stay on track as well as Livongo.
Livongo: How’s life today? Where do you see things going from here?
Aliska: After losing two people that were extremely close to me and key parts of my life, I am still trying to regain a sense of normalcy. It’s challenging right now, but I am sure I will get through because I always do.
My goal in 2020 is to make the most of all the resources available to me to minimize the amount of medication that I take. I am not aiming to be medication-free, but just not have to take as many meds. In addition to diabetes, I also have hypertension.
Until today, I didn’t know Livongo also had a hypertension program. Delta offers a different program for it, and while I currently use both, it would make life easier if I could have my diabetes and my hypertension data in one place.
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.