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Peter's journey

With the support of his wife Gabi and Diabetes SA, Peter is well on his way to managing his diabetes effectively.

My name is Peter and I've recently retired from working as a bus driver for many years. My level of physical activity was very low. I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in March 2015.

I'd received warnings from my doctor for a few years that my glucose levels were on the rise.

He advised me to "lose weight, get more active and change my diet". Unfortunately, I didn't heed his warnings but fortunately, I don't need medication to manage it.

My journey with diabetes at present involves learning as much as I can and more importantly applying what I have learnt. My wife Gabi has helped me along the way and attended information sessions when I was unable to attend. She obtained the information and passed it on to me. We're in this together — if we're both focused on our health we're going to get better results with fewer complications.

Diabetes SA was known to me before my diagnosis and when my Care Plan was prepared, the nurse informed me of the support and assistance they could provide. From my first contact with staff in the shop to attending education sessions everyone has been friendly, helpful and encouraging. This has made our experience with the organisation extremely positive as we were treated as friends and not customers.

We have attended many education sessions including ShopSmart, Market Tour, CarbSmart and the full-day program DESMOND (Diabetes Education and Self-Management for Ongoing and Newly Diagnosed).

At the end of each session we came away with new knowledge and practical tips for managing diabetes.

The market tour had the extra bonus of walking around the Central Market and increasing our activity level for the morning. The sights and smells were enticing.

The DESMOND program was inspiring and involved a partner/support person also attending. This was very beneficial. The group size was small and the facilitators helped us explore our common and individual issues. The learning materials we received allowed us to set personal goals to work on after the session. We continue to make better choices around food and activity as a result of attending the DESMOND program and in fact all the education sessions.

It would be helpful if everyone knew how beneficial these programs are.

You may have some knowledge on a topic however you will learn more about diabetes and how to manage it.

It's useful to come prepared for the sessions so you can have your questions answered.

The programs are delivered by health professionals who focus on the needs of the group while covering the material in an easy to understand manner. I always felt they respected me and others as individuals.

If I was speaking with someone newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes I'd happily share my experiences however would never give advice as every person's situation is unique. I'd recommend they contact Diabetes SA and seek the professional advice they need. I'd suggest it's useful to "know your numbers" in relation to blood glucose levels and HbA1c and to seek quality information rather than from family and friends or the internet.

It would be wonderful if more people understood that diabetes is a manageable condition.

We all need to show people with diabetes respect – they didn't choose to have diabetes.

We've both learnt a lot about diabetes over the past few years. We didn't know much about it or anyone who had diabetes. We now have more knowledge and understanding so we can make better choices each day.

Since attending the education sessions we've increased our level of activity both structured and incidental, we now park further away in the carpark when shopping, we've replaced certain foods with lower GI options and used recipes from the Living magazine.

My glucose levels are at an acceptable level and I know the reason for any occasional spike in those readings and how to adjust accordingly.

We are far more aware of what we eat, how much we eat and how often we eat certain foods. Our lifestyle has changed and it's all for the better. 

Read the original article 

Click here to read the original article. Published in Diabetes SA Living Magazine – November 2017, page 16.

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