Nicolas is 81 years old, lives in Houston, Texas, and is a retired federal investigator. He’s been married to his wife for 56 years, and they have three children, four grandchildren, and a lot of friends. He likes to garden, hunt and fish, and exercise in his pool on hot days. This is his story.
Can you tell us about your diagnosis?
From a healthcare standpoint, I was probably in excellent shape up until about 12 or 15 years ago. I had open heart surgery, and as a result of the surgery they gave me a medication that I had a bad reaction to and it gave me pulmonary fibrosis in my lungs. I was fortunate, though, I had excellent doctors. I got all of that out of the way.
I did have a bout of prostate cancer and I’m going into my fourth year in remission. I was able to get through all this and I’m still able to do physical activities. Two years ago, when I was having a yearly physical exam, my doctor said my A1c was higher than it should be. He said that I was really close to having Type 2 diabetes. He put me on Metformin. I was officially diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in January of 2019.
When did you join Livongo?
My cardiologist asked me how I was doing, and he asked if I was testing my blood glucose. And I said no. In the meantime, I was talking to Blue Cross and Blue Shield and they told me that they just started a program with Livongo and that I should sign up. I did and I started it. It’s been really helpful. I’ve been able to control and bring my A1c down. The last test I took was at 6.3. I currently have a problem because they put me on a corticosteroid, which spikes your blood sugar readings. So I’ve been trying to change my eating to compensate for the steroid.
What about Livongo do you find helpful?
Right now, I’m testing four times a day and I look at that religiously and share it with my wife so we adjust our meal plans. It’s so helpful to have those numbers and have them instantly. I can go back and look at what my average was. I’m a very compliant type of person, and for me it’s been really helpful to try to develop my diet and exercise to keep my blood glucose down. I did hook up my Fitbit so that it gets shared over. I feel it’s been a very helpful program. I had no idea that you could get all of this information.
How would you describe Livongo to someone who’s never heard of it?
It’s a real high-tech system for getting your blood glucose readings and getting the information to tell you what’s causing changes in your blood glucose. I don’t know what I’d do with just a reading and not being able to look at my meals. When I have a spike or high reading, I use the note feature to write down what I ate or if it’s normal.
I’m really impressed with the program. If I didn’t have the cardiologist asking if I was checking my blood sugar, I’d be fat, dumb, and happy. It really is good. Personally, I feel physically better when I control my blood sugar like that. I don’t have the fatigue; I don’t have the grogginess. I have a lot more energy.