Walking allows Polly Emery to manage her Diabetes and cut ties with Insulin.
As this is being written, I am in week 70 and have logged 5,150 kms (3,200 miles) of a virtual walk across Canada. More importantly, I have lost 23 kilos (50 pounds) and no longer need to use insulin, which was costing over $9000 a year! While I am so grateful to have made it to this stage, I know that I must continue to fight to remain insulin free and manage my diabetes. My journey continues, and I humbly hope it inspires others to believe that it is possible to make changes in their lives.
My entire life I have struggled with being overweight. I was hoping to lose some of it after the birth of my twins. Instead, I started gaining and soon after I was diagnosed with type-2 diabetes. As the years passed, and my weight gain kept going, the diabetes progressed to a point that I was forced to start injecting insulin. I could no longer pretend my diabetes was going to go away, I was allowing the very disease that took my father to take me too. My dad was from small town Nova Scotia. He taught me anything is possible if you believe in yourself. Diabetes took him from me 7 years ago; he was only 55. Now, at the age of 39, as I fight to manage my diabetes, I think about him and my own future.
Diabetic clinics, doctors, nurses, and specialists all told me to diet and exercise. In my heart I knew they were right, but I simply couldn’t find the will to follow a diet or their advice. My situation got so bad that I was faced with gastric bypass surgery. But before I could even be considered for the surgery, I needed to prove to my doctors that I was developing healthy eating and exercise patterns. I kept food journals and wrote my goals down, but I unhappily continued to fall into old patterns. Then it struck me, I need feedback and encouragement daily, not once a month, if I am going to break my habits to better manage my diabetes. By chance a friend who knew me well and who worked with the Canadian Diabetes Association told me about Tractivity.
Now, with a small sensor that I wear on my shoes, I am accountable to me — everyday I can see my progress; I can track my exercise and set my new goals. It is incredibly exciting to transfer my walking activity from the Tractivity sensor to my online account and see that I have beaten yesterdays “calories burned!” Miraculously, with Tractivity I was able to develop healthy eating and exercise patterns, which allowed me to undergo a successful bariatric surgery. In the hospital, I was informed that due to my new healthy lifestyle, I would no longer need to use insulin; something I truly never thought I would hear.
For the first time in my life I am enjoying exercise and am able to find the time to reflect and plan for my future. I finally believe that I can control my weight, my diet, and manage my diabetes. My Dad would be so proud, and in honor of his memory I will be completing the final 12 km of my walk across Canada in his hometown of New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. My husband and both our families will walk with me as I spread my father’s ashes and find peace in the fact that if you believe in yourself, it is possible to change, one step at a time. With only 12 weeks left on my journey across Canada, I want to thank my wonderful doctors and friends who have tirelessly encouraged me, and to Tractivity who gave me the tools to improve my health.