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HUTT HOSPITAL

Published Thursday 14 Mar 2019

The life of a Hutt Valley marching enthusiast is back on track thanks to a free health programme that helped her manage the results of a 'shock' insulin diagnosis.

The life of a Hutt Valley marching enthusiast is back on track thanks to a free health programme that helped her manage the results of a 'shock' insulin diagnosis.

In 2017, the 70-year-old was brought to a standstill when chemotherapy for a rare blood disorder called cold agglutinin saw her HBA1C numbers rise which affected her pancreas.

After more than 25 years of managing type-two diabetes with a proper diet, she said it was “quite a shock” when she found out she would be on insulin. (File photo)

Being at times unable to stand was particularly tough after years of involvement in team marching.

But thanks to joining the Melon Health supported self-management system for people living with diabetes, pre-diabetes, cardiovascular risk factors or obesity, she has got her insulin needs under control and is back on her feet.

The woman, who preferred not to be named, was one of 390 Hutt Valley residents who along with 11 GP practices took part in a pilot programme last year. The programme has been extended and is now open for referrals.

After more than 25 years of managing type-two diabetes with a proper diet, she said it was “quite a shock” when she found out she would be on insulin.

“I couldn’t stand or walk. I was having hydro [therapy] at a public swimming pool.”

Her GP or a diabetes nurse referred her to Melon Health. A staff member contacted her early last year, which was followed up with a phone call to introduce her to her coach.

Information and on-going support was offered through a simple cellphone app, which she used on her tablet because it was easier to read.

Every day, she entered information such as what medication she had taken; exercise she had done; how she felt and what she had eaten into a log on the app.

Her designated coach monitored and guided her progress, and the app allowed for others using the programme to share tips and experience from their journeys.

“For me, it was going to slow steps because I was still healing from cold agglutinin.

“It helps me knowing somebody is there.”

A particular break-through came when she learned to be more careful of carbs, which can become sugar.

Now her problem has halved and she is back marching with the team.

“The initial course with Melon Health was for 16 weeks, but after that you can stay with the programme and keeping in touch with your coach just not as closely.

“I never found anything too difficult to ask - the people are very kind and caring.”

For more information about the Melon Health programme see melonhealth.com/our_solution or ask your GP.