Two years ago, when his doctor told him he had type 2 diabetes, Andy wasn't surprised or even that worried. His blood sugar had been creeping up for the past few years. His doctor had even warned him to make some changes-to lose some weight and get more active. But he felt okay. If he was sick, he couldn't tell.
"I just couldn't take it seriously," Andy says. "Even after I found out I had it, diabetes just didn't seem that big of a deal. I didn't think it was something I had to worry about."
But he admits that it did nag at him a little bit. So when the doctor's office called to remind him to take a diabetes education class, he finally signed up. At the class, he heard about the kinds of foot and nerve problems that can happen if blood sugar isn't controlled.
As a grocery manager, Andy is on his feet all day. He also likes to bowl and play basketball with his buddies. He started thinking about what he would do if he couldn't walk, work, or play.
He decided it was time to do something about managing his diabetes. Andy asked his doctor for help.
"It finally just hit me how serious this disease is," he says. "I couldn't keep ignoring it."
Andy worked with a diabetes educator to create a plan for healthy meals and snacks that he could make himself, instead of bringing home some fried chicken or macaroni and cheese from the store deli. He learned how to count carbs. But he struggled to get his blood sugar under control.
"I tried to eat better, but my levels just didn't come down. It's hard, because everyone who has diabetes is different. You just have to find out what works for you, and stay with it."
Test, don't guess
He started using his blood sugar tests to learn more about how his body was using the food he ate. Writing everything in a food log also helped.
"Probably the biggest thing I've learned is to test, don't guess," Andy says. "That's something my doctor told me, and it's really true. You can't know what your numbers are unless you test."