Con Leontsinis (centre) loves his life, and he's not going to
let type 2 diabetes cast a shadow over it.
As with most contented people, Con is grateful to those who have
made his life good.
Kathy, his wife of 50 years, gets a special mention: "My wife
cooks good meals. She makes sure the house is sparkling and Kathy
always does the right thing to look after me. Our son Nicholas
always keeps an eye out for both me and his mum.
"My family doctor is very good, too. He takes good care of
The fit and slim 74-year-old, who was diagnosed with type 2
diabetes in 2016, calls himself a "fruitologist".
He gets up at 2am every day and starts work at the Brisbane
Markets in Rocklea by 3am. Con, together with his brother-in-law
Vasili and his son Nicholas, own a fruit and vegetable wholesale
business that provides restaurants, cafes, and other catering
businesses with fresh produce.
"I've always been very active," he said. "I've worked in the
fruit and vegetable business since 1968."
Among other shops, he owned "Con the Fruiterer" shop in Albany
Creek, a well-loved Brisbane landmark for many years before selling
and buying into the Brisbane Markets.
Con has always had a healthy diet, rich in vegetables and fish,
even as a young man in Kythera, Greece.
He developed type 2 diabetes after he underwent a triple heart
bypass in March 2016.
"All the time I was in hospital if people asked what I did, I'd
say I was a specialist," Con said with an easy laugh. "A
fruitologist. It's like a gastroenterologist, only fresher!" The
heart surgeon was thoroughly amused.
Con measures his blood glucose levels (BGLs) every morning and
his last HbA1c was 6.7%.
Con's big challenge in managing his diabetes is if he gets
upset, his BGLs spike to 9mmol/L and more. He tries to stay calm,
but there's only so much that willpower can control.
His family recently endured a shock upset, and his BGLs went sky
"People came up to me at the markets and said they knew how
upset I was, but they admired the way I tried to stay cheerful and
"'Good on you, Con', they'd say."
[From the Diabetes Queensland Health Team: Despite best efforts
with food, exercise and medication, many people living with type 2
diabetes will experience changes to their BGLs during times of
stress. This is normal, but if these changes become the norm, talk
to your GP or diabetes educator. Latest research shows that
fishing, card games or other social activities can be helpful for
men during times of emotional upset or