Diagnosed in 1995 with Type 2 diabetes, Rob eventually needed a kidney transplant as a result of not managing his condition. Two years ago, he received word that he was eligible to receive a kidney transplant and was gifted a kidney from a close family friend. After being given a second chance, Rob is now determined to live the healthiest life he can. This is his story.
Tell us about your path to use Livongo.
Two years ago, on July 30, I had a kidney transplant. I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 1995. My numbers were literally 400-500. My A1c was as high as 13. My kidneys started failing quickly and I started freaking out. My whole life, I’ve been good to people, I’ve taken care of people, and with this happening so suddenly, I really thought I was going to die.
I went to the hospital to see if I qualified for a kidney transplant. I got a call and they said I qualified, and they put me on the waiting list. Easter Sunday, after going to the movies because I’m Jewish and that’s what we do, I told my wife that we should visit a friend of ours. Our friend’s sister Dawn was in from North Carolina and I had known her for about 15 years. When she hugged me, it was one of those long, goodbye, it’s the last time I’m going to see her hug[s].
While we’re in the process of leaving, my wife and Dawn started a conversation and ended up crying. I went to see what was going on and Dawn said to me that she wanted to donate a kidney to me. I told her she had to think it through and talk to her family.
On the way home, I told my wife that it wasn’t going to happen. I was pessimistic about it because she was leaving that night and didn’t even live [in Florida]. She called me at 8 AM the next morning and said, “Did you call [the hospital] yet?”
So I flew her down to take tests. For a kidney transplant, you have to match and any situations that may affect the kidneys will disqualify you from being a donor. Dawn matched perfectly across the board. She called me again in the morning and said to me, “Do you have a date for July 30?” and I said, “Are you saying what I think you’re saying?” and she said, “Yeah.”
A sort of peace came over me that day. I wasn’t scared. If something should happen, I thought, I have the best kids in the world, I have the greatest wife in the world.
When did you start using Livongo?
During the first few months after the transplant, my sugars were erratic — terribly erratic from the anti-rejection medication. I got an email from United Healthcare about Livongo and I thought, “This is a scam. They’re really going to send me free strips?” I signed up for it and it came within days.
I see everything is going to get recorded and into the system and now I’m saying, “This is my chance.” My A1c was at an 8.4 at the time. Then COVID hit and I couldn’t do anything. I had to go for my kidney appointments, but they wouldn’t do an A1c on me since it’s a separate thing. I begged them to do an A1c reading and it came back at a 6.4.
I don’t like Livongo, I love Livongo.
What do you like best about Livongo?
I took a reading and my sugar was low. I had just finished working out and was about to eat. I knew I was going to get a call from Livongo. When I get the call I say, “What took you so long?” It’s like seconds. My settings are 80-240. They always check on me. They’re always sweet, wonderful, nice, courteous.
I said I have to be an advocate for this company. I credit this company with being a huge part of my life. Now, my average is about 150. A big credit goes to your company.
What is one thing you’ve learned from the program?
Livongo equals lifestyle change. I’m just so appreciative.
What’s your motivation in caring for yourself and managing your diabetes?
Every time my sugar is too high, I’m not just hurting myself and my family, but the person who risked herself for me.
How would you describe Livongo to someone who’s never heard of it?
I would describe Livongo as a company that follows your diabetes journey in order to get you to commit to challenging yourself to believe that you can change and trust the process.