Mike Krueger’s life began to change before he even knew it. With twin grandchildren soon to be born, Krueger’s wife, Bev, urged her husband to go in for his Tdap vaccination and a physical back in March. At that appointment, Kelsey Nylander, D.O., Mayo Clinic Health System in Springfield family physician, conducted some regular blood tests. One of those tests indicated Krueger’s blood sugar was elevated. In fact, he had type 2 diabetes.
“It was semi-traumatic for me,” recollects Krueger, 62, a longtime farmer in the Springfield area.
After his diagnosis, he met with Teresa Hensch, Mayo Clinic Health System in Springfield registered nurse and certified diabetes educator, and Linda Carruthers, Mayo Clinic Health System in Springfield registered dietitian nutritionist. The two provided their patient with thorough education and a plan to achieve better health.
Krueger brought with him an unmatched determination to manage his newly identified condition without medication. He was committed to improving his situation with healthy lifestyle choices.
“He caught on easily, and we knew he was ready to change,” says Hensch of Krueger’s first visit with her and Carruthers. “He took the initiative to take control of his health.”
Taking control was exactly what Krueger did — with the help of his wife and the Mayo team, of course. The biggest immediate change was his diet.
“Our first trip to the store (after the diagnosis) took hours,” Bev Krueger says with a laugh. “He wasn’t a big fruit eater or vegetable eater. Now, he’s been eating better, and we started reading labels.”
Krueger has also been exercising more. The combination of increased physical activity and a portion-controlled, nutritious diet has resulted in him losing more than 50 pounds, having more energy and managing his type 2 diabetes without the use of any medications.
“He knew from day one he didn’t want pills,” says Dr. Nylander. “He serves as a good example that you can be successful if you want to be successful.”
Krueger’s self-control and willpower have been instrumental in his continued success. His previous snacking staples, soda and candy bars, are no longer part of his diet. He and Bev note that he now paces himself at meals, which is essential when practicing good eating habits.
“People think lifestyle changes aren’t obtainable,” says Carruthers. “But Mike is an example that lifestyle changes are obtainable.”
Mike and Bev Krueger have learned the foundation of a diabetic diet, which is carbohydrate counting, according to Carruthers. They eat healthy, move more and are more cognizant of their overall well-being. Carruthers, Hensch and Dr. Nylander all agree his story is encouraging to them as health care professionals, but Krueger sees his improvements through a pragmatic lens.
“You don’t know in the beginning if you can succeed or not,” says Krueger. “It’s not a miracle; you have to work at it.”
He plans to keep working to be healthier every day. And his wife, four children and 16 grandkids offer an extra bit of motivation.