I’ve been working with Alex for the better half of the last 3 years. Alex has come a long way and I believe his story can inspire others and therefore I’m highlighting his experience with you.
Alex, introduce yourself:
Alex: I was born in Kiev, Ukraine. I was diagnosed wit type 1 diabetes in 1992, at 14. Shortly after the diagnosis, my family and I immigrated to Chicago. After decades of unsuccessful health management, I am finally happy where I am and manage my type 1 with multiple daily injections.
What lead you to work with Kelly?
Alex: After unsuccessful endocrinologist appointments, I was very unhappy with the level of service I was receiving. My wife did some research and found Kelly, whose approach was holistic and realistic and seemed to align very closely to our way of life.
Stacie: When Alex and I were first married, we ate pizza and pasta and didn’t think twice about it. With time his A1c was 8% or close to, and so I took to the internet to find a health coach who could help him (and us) through an early generation of new diabetes tech, including CGMs. I didn’t know that coaching over FaceTime would be a thing but it worked and works really well.
Kelly has been keeping Alex in the 6’s% for his A1C, but focusing on overall blood sugar control and not just a lab. Kelly is the perfect recipe of holistic/modern/realistic while being as understanding as she is data-aware and willing to share the latest news. I think health coaching is THE WAY to maintain optimal health, especially with the roller coaster of diabetes.
Alex, what was your health status when you first began working together?
Alex: My A1c prior to working with Kelly has always been around 8%. Working with Kelly, I was able to get my A1c down to 6.5. I am able to enjoy foods I really love, such as apples, and still maintain good blood glucose average.
What are your biggest senses of accomplishment with type 1?
Alex: My A1c is by far the biggest accomplishment, as it is the lowest it has ever been. I am a lot more connected to my body’s reaction to elevated or low blood sugar. I am able to explain the number on my blood glucose monitor and understand the reasons for what it is. High and low blood sugar, as I now know, involves much more than what we eat. Kelly has taught me 40+ variables to keep in mind as I manage my diabetes day-to-day.
Stacie: I am proud that I have used all of our available resources to optimize my husband’s health, and that desire to grow has carried over into my own health goals (I will share more next week!). I’m proud Alex and I are working together for each others health, and for our girls’ health. Working in tandem toward achieving our health goals sets a solid example for our daughters which gives me the ultimate parental joy.
Alex, what are some of the biggest health challenges you face, and what solutions have been strategized to overcome them?
Alex: My biggest challenge is controlling urges to eat things I am not supposed to, i.e. granola bars, etc without taking insulin far enough in advance (pre-bolus), and thinking that I’ll be able to recover from the carb intake. One solution, which has been very successful, is to be prepared: I have approved foods on hand that can replace foods that have not approved or have not worked well for my blood sugar (everyone is different). I am in the process of getting a CGM which will help in controlling the spikes and learning my type 1 diabetes more intimately.
Stacie: As a wife of a t1d, my biggest challenge is owning meals that we ALL can love—my husband, baby, 3-year-old and 5 years old, and I.
What are a few of the top tips you’ve learned from your work with Kelly?
Alex: Every meal should consist of combo of carbs (varying from the time of the day), fats, and protein. A good alcoholic beverage to consume is tequila and I am more resistant to insulin at night.
Be aware of your hormones, give yourself grace and, “Be bold with insulin” says Kelly and I repeat.
What is next for you in your health?
Alex: Getting Dexcom 6, going through another 10-Day Cleanse with Kelly, and finding ways to be more connected to my body. Kelly has been a life-changer for me. More than just a dietitian, she has become a true life coach. Her help has been tremendous and she’s amazing to work with. Anytime I hear that someone is struggling with controlling their blood sugar or their diet, I always refer them to Kelly.
Stacie: Aww. I love that my husband said he wanted to be connected to his body. Alex is an inspiration for me to get MOVING!
Same. Kelly is THE BEST. THE. BEST. And Kelly would know best— diabetes is a cross-country trek without a break. You hit rainstorms and drizzle and golf ball-sized hail and spring rain after trying to control a bobsled down the dry side of a mountain. I am overwhelmed just thinking about it— but my husband manages a soft pad landing for his fickle blood sugar every day while working a full-time job, parenting, husbanding, cycling, soccering and so on. With Kelly on our team, I feel like we have a fighting chance of the wheels not coming off during this wild ride called life.