We had the pleasure of speaking with Rodney on his 16th wedding anniversary. The 72-year-old has grown children and grandchildren who live in Austin, Texas, while he resides in rural southeastern Ohio where the largest town has a population of 2,500. Rodney and his wife rent a nice house outside of town, on top of a little hill with big trees, where they enjoy retirement. This is his story.
Can you tell us about your diagnosis?
I was first diagnosed in 2003. I took it quite seriously. I weighed 305 pounds at the time. I went to the doctor, I took my meds, I exercised. Actually, I eliminated almost every carb in my diet. I ate meat and vegetables and salad and exercised daily. Within about 6 months, I went to the doctor and he said, “You’re getting along really well. How about your meds? Are you all right on that?” and I told him that I was down to taking one instead of four. He then told me, “If you’re only taking one, you don’t have to take any.” So, I was down to not taking any meds for about 4 or 5 years.
I don’t know what exactly happened, but I had sugar in my urine. I guess you would call it a relapse, I don’t know. But I got back on the meds again and watched things. After I retired, it got costly for supplies and I made them stretch out. I only tested once every 3 to 4 days. It was only when I felt bad that I tested to see where I was.
In this case now with Livongo, I’m testing twice a day, am in better control, and I don’t have to worry about buying supplies or getting them shipped. It’s just really comfortable and easy and not costly to manage things now.
What keeps you motivated?
I looked forward to retirement all my life — the fact that I don’t have to work, my wife doesn’t have to work, we live in a nice house, have money to pay our bills and enjoy life as much as we can. If you let diabetes get out of control, you get limited. I’m limited already, but I’m still motivated to get up every day and see the sun shine.
I’m around a lot of people with diabetes that really don’t treat it as a disease. It’s just something they take pills for and that’s that. One of my doctors told me that you have to be really aware when you have diabetes because it weakens your immune system and makes you susceptible to other illnesses. I took that to heart and tried to stay out of situations that can make me sick. If I’m feeling bad, even if it’s just a bad day or whatever it is, I rest. I keep rested. That’s how I head it off at the pass, so to speak.
What were your initial thoughts when hearing about Livongo?
Being retired and on a limited income, I was buying $20 testing kits from a discount store that did 50 tests. When I read the information about Livongo, I thought, this isn’t only free, but you get monitored with help and support — it wasn’t just to test. I thought, well, I better try this, here’s the opportunity. And it eases your mind a lot, let me put it that way.
What helps you the most from Livongo?
I use Livongo for the testing. What helps me the most is my meter. I have a 7-day, 14-day, 30-day, and 90-day summary where I can keep track of my sugar, not just a one-day viewpoint but back 90 days. I can see my averages and my tests. And if I get off the bubble a little bit, I have to straighten up. That’s the most valuable to me, seeing what my average is and relating that to my A1c.
My doctor knows about Livongo. I took my meter with me and showed it to him and he was quite impressed with it. He said it was a great tool to manage my diabetes.