Tom lives in Morrisville, North Carolina, and has lived there for 10 years. He is married and has two adult children. About 12 years ago, Tom wrote a historical novel about New York in the ’70s and enjoys his retirement reading, writing, and watching old movies. This is his story.
Tell us about your Type 2 diabetes diagnosis.
I was diagnosed 14 years ago. Back then, I preferred Italian food. I feel like that may have added to the onset of diabetes.
The first clue was the thirst in the morning. I would wake up in the morning and have an unquenchable thirst. A friend of mine said he read about it being a symptom of diabetes. I would drink three glasses of water, a glass of orange juice, and two cups of coffee and I was still thirsty. It was strange.
I went to the doctor and they checked my sugar and it was 280. He said I was definitely showing signs. My eyesight started getting blurry about a week later, but we got that under control once I changed my diet and they put me on medication.
What did you do differently once you found out you had Type 2 diabetes?
Since I worked behind a desk, it was hard getting exercise in, so I started eating less carbs. Over time the amount of carbs I was eating was starting to creep back up, and I realized that my sugar was going back up, so I had to change it again. I learned from experience what would make my sugar spike.
As I was getting closer to retirement, I really had to crack down and keep myself on a steady diet and not give into these urges. I would gain weight and then lose it. It was like a yo-yo effect.
Tell us about how you learned about Livongo.
So I got something in the mail about the Livongo meter and test strips and thought it was neat that it recorded all your numbers. It sounded pretty good. I was still testing my sugar and writing my numbers down. I’ve been a part of Livongo for less than a year.
What’s your favorite part about Livongo?
Besides recording your readings, I enjoy the nudges I get after I check myself. I kind of know where my numbers should be, but seeing those little messages when I’m in range is great.
How have your behaviors changed?
Because I’m retired, I have more time, so when I’m not reading or watching a movie, I go out for a walk. I have a stationary bicycle in my house as well. I know sitting still isn’t good for you, so I try to exercise.
I’m more conscious about the kind of carbs I’m consuming. I used to have rice, a baked potato, or macaroni, but I’ve knocked it out of my diet. I have made changes in that regard because I know what makes my blood sugar spike.
Fortunately, my A1c has come down.
What is your motivation to be healthy?
The motivation for me is, now that I’m retired, the desire to be in fairly good health. I said to myself that diabetes can affect my health long term, so I have to make sure I get that under control. In a few years, my wife is going to retire and I want to be able to travel and enjoy that time with her.
What would you tell someone about Livongo who hasn’t heard of it?
I just tell them that it records your blood sugar reading and it uploads to the website and you don’t have to do anything. You get the strips and the lancets and it’s simple. My kids tease me, telling me that I’m finally joining modern technology.