Emil Backofen didn’t have any relatives with Type 2 diabetes so he wasn’t keenly aware of it. When he was traveling in Europe 29 years ago, he felt very thirsty and didn’t know why. He went from fast food place to fast food place getting some extra-large cold drinks and they still weren’t satisfying his thirst.
It was during a hospitalization on that trip to Europe that the doctors ran some blood tests. Discovering that his blood sugar level was 700, Emil was shocked but at least he had an explanation for his symptoms.
The physicians started him on oral medications and insulin but after his hospitalization he was able to stop the insulin. He was 57 then.
Now 86, Emil says that he manages his Type 2 diabetes by taking his medicine which includes oral medications and injecting Victoza once a day, by watching what he eats and by doing a good amount of exercise each day.
“I play tennis three out of the four months of the year. I don’t play during the cold winter months. It’s much nicer to play when the weather is warm and balmy.”
He adds, “When not playing tennis I walk a lot. I’m known as the walker in the neighborhood. These days my A1C is under 7 so that pleases my doctors and me. It’s been consistently good so I know I’m doing the right things each day.
Emil, a widower who is the father of four children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, divides his time between Long Island and Florida.
He enjoys spending time visiting with family and friends and he also likes to watch TV, read some good books and follow the stock market. “Whether it’s on the cable business news channels or in the newspapers, I tune in to the stock market every day,” Emil notes. “It’s been a long-time interest of mine.”
A 30-year employee of Xerox Corp., Emil started working for them as a messenger. “I worked my way up to being a production manager. Now that I’m retired, I get to spend my time as I please.
“When you’ve got a sport or a hobby that keeps you active, exercising isn’t a chore at all,” Emil says. “It’s fun and it’s a good way to stay healthy.”