When Wendell Murakawa retired from the Hawai‘i Department of Public Safety, he planned to “you know, take it easy, relax, hang out with my friends, drink, eat and enjoy life.” Then his doctor told him he had type 2 diabetes. “I knew I was overweight and began to watch my diet,” said Wendell. “But I noticed if you don’t exercise, the sugar number doesn’t go down — no matter what you eat.”
I first met Wendell two years ago at my fitness seminar at the Generations Magazine/KHON2 Aging in Place Workshop. My 94-year-old client, who had never exercised until she was 77, inspired him. Wendell thought, “Okay, I’m 66 — there is hope for me.” He was in bad shape; on medications for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, gout, irregular heartbeat and now, diabetes.
He told me, “Diane I want to learn to live a healthy lifestyle, free from pain and medications. I don’t want to be dependent on my family.”
But Wendell had no idea what a healthy lifestyle was. Little by little, he adopted all new habits — drinking more water and less alcohol; eating more fruits and vegetables. When he wasn’t reporting to me for weight, balance and flexibility training, he walked and stretched for an hour.
Because Wendell had never exercised, learning proper form, and how to breathe and stretch properly were a challenge. There were times he wanted to quit and I would have to remind him why he came to me in the first place — to get healthy.
Wendell began to see results working out with me three days a week and continues to move forward on his journey towards a healthy lifestyle. I am so proud of him!
Last month, his doctor took him off his diabetes medicine. At this year’s Aging in Place Workshop, Wendell told his story in his own words: “Diane showed me the way back to health. She pushed me and gave me the confidence to succeed. I had no idea how sick I was or how healthy I could be. All my friends are amazed—including me! One of them thought I had a facelift!”
Now Wendell is the one inspiring others! This is why I love my job!