When Yves was diagnosed with diabetes, he worried he wouldn’t live to meet his grandchildren — but thanks to great support, that’s changed.
At the age of 40, Yves R. was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. By far the most common form of diabetes, type 2 is caused by several factors, but scientists think both lifestyle factors and genes play a role. A lack of exercise, poor dietary habits, and excess body fat are thought to contribute to an individual’s likelihood of developing diabetes. Yves is a shift worker, and thus even more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, since an irregular sleep schedule can disrupt the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar. Like many Canadians, diabetes snuck up on Yves — symptoms can take several years to appear, and for this busy family man, healthy lifestyle habits had long taken a backseat to the demands of his job.
Putting health on the backburner
Yves was active as a younger man. His daughter Samsara credits him with her love of sports, recalling how he patiently and lovingly taught her every sport she knows. But as time went on and the financial pressure of having a family caught up to him, Yves gradually stopped taking care of his health. As Yves’ health worsened, his relationship with his family did too, as he became moody and withdrawn. In today’s increasingly busy world, maintaining a healthy lifestyle — getting regular exercise, eating healthy foods, and managing stress — can be a tall order, and Yves was certainly feeling the effects of his choices.
When he was diagnosed, Yves tried to lose weight, but his blood sugar continued to spike. He started losing feeling in his feet, a common but frightening diabetes symptom. High blood sugar can cause nerve damage, and left unchecked, nerve damage in the extremities can even lead to amputation. He couldn’t sleep through the night without getting up to go the bathroom, and even started suffering blurred vision, a sign that rapidly changing blood sugar levels were causing swelling in the eyes. Besides taking 40 units of insulin per day, Yves took the maximum dose of multiple medications, but still felt helpless watching his diabetes spiral out of control.
Taking small, positive steps
Many people try and fail to make lifestyle changes because they attempt to make big changes all at once. Drastic shifts can be exhausting, which is why physicians often recommend taking small steps and building on them over time. Trying a healthy recipe each week, parking your car a street away from your destination, switching white rice out for cauliflower rice, or even putting on music during your chores for a mini dance party are just a few ways to help manage diabetes.*
Small changes are effective over time, but it can take patience to see results, which can frustrate the best of us. Yves was worried he would have to “live like a monk” to manage his blood glucose. That’s why his doctor suggested he try the CONTOUR®NEXT ONE meter, an innovative blood glucose monitor from Ascensia Diabetes Care. Busy Yves needed something simple and reliable to keep track of his blood sugar, so he loved the meter’s colour-coded range indicator. With green, yellow, and red lights, it let him see, at a glance, whether his blood sugar was within a healthy range. Best of all, the Bluetooth-enabled monitor connected to the CONTOUR®DIABETES app on his phone, allowing him to keep track of small wins. The app monitors trends in blood sugar, making it easier to see when small lifestyle changes are having a positive effect.
Samsara, determined to see her father get healthy, played a huge role in helping keep Yves on track. Yves and Samsara started playing sports and going on walks together, rebuilding their relationship alongside Yves’ health. Yves had never tried boxing, but with Samsara’s encouragement, he learned to love the sport. Because his blood glucose monitor and the CONTOUR®DIABETES app were so easy to use, Yves was able to keep careful track of his blood glucose throughout the process. And since every glucose reading automatically uploaded to the app, Yves could see small changes stacking up in real time.
When Yves first started using the CONTOUR®DIABETES app, his doctor asked him to consider what motivates him to improve his health. Having a clear “why” can make the process that much easier. If Samsara had children, he said, he wanted to be around to play with them — with both feet intact, no less. It wasn’t long before it looked like Yves would fulfill his wish.
The power of data and support
It took a long series of small steps, but Yves’ health dramatically improved. Encouraged by the trends he saw on the CONTOUR®DIABETES app as his blood sugar slowly normalized, Yves kept himself motivated by celebrating small wins and leaning on his family. His systolic blood pressure dropped from 150 to 120, and his doctor decided to start weaning him off insulin — a step he never would have thought possible before he began his health journey in earnest. Gradually, Yves was able to completely stop using insulin, dropping from 40 to zero units per day. Today, Yves can sleep through the night without using the bathroom, and he’s no longer in danger of losing his feet to diabetic neuropathy.*
The most significant change, according to his family, has been Yves’ personality. The once-withdrawn family man started laughing and smiling again. His relationship with his daughter has never been stronger, and she can rest easy in the knowledge that her father will be there to help raise any potential grandchildren.
Every day, scientific advances, including innovative glucose monitoring technology, are helping decrease the toll that diabetes takes on the five million Canadians who live with it.
Yves’ story is inspiring, but it’s not miraculous. The small steps that led to his eventual withdrawal from insulin are realistic, attainable changes that can be made with good data and the right support.* Every day, scienific advances, including innovative glucose monitoring technology, are helping decrease the toll that diabetes takes on the five million Canadians who live with it.
To learn more about Yves’ inspiring story, visit ascensiadiabetes.ca.
*Always consult your health care professional before making lifestyle changes. Do not change your diabetes management plan unless in consultation with your health care provider. Individual results may vary.