First Nations Story

My name is Gary, I am a 52 year first nations man and I live in Neyaashiinigmiing, Ontario. My adult daughter recently moved back home with her two young children so life is very busy around our house these days. I have Type 2 diabetes and I have been taking insulin for about 20 years now and my numbers were always high.  I just figured that is the way it will always be. Eating healthy has always been a challenge even more now with the extra mouths to feed. We use the Good Food Box which is great for having some vegetables around all month such as onions, potatoes and carrots.

My life changed dramatically when I noticed two toes turning black. It did not hurt and I don’t know how long they were this colour. My doctor told me it was an infection caused by my diabetes. My doctor told me I was likely going to lose my foot and possibly the whole leg and I needed to start taking care of my diabetes. He told me I had to stop smoking as well.

I had an appointment to see the diabetes team at the health center in my community and I did not want to go, they were just going to tell me to stop eating all the food I enjoy, and my blood sugars were never going to be where they wanted them.

Visit to the diabetes clinic

I agreed to give it another chance and went to the diabetes clinic. I met with a Dietitian and a Nurse. They suggested a different night time insulin and now I don’t have any low blood sugars in the middle of the night, and I am eating less. My blood sugars took some time to improve, but the nurse kept helping me with adjusting my insulin to get things lower.  I had to test my blood sugars more often which was not easy but testing told me very quickly if we were on the right path.

I had to have surgery and they removed two toes. I am grateful that it was only my toes, and not my entire foot or leg. I am thankful for my doctor and the diabetes team who helped me through this.

I test my blood sugars now every day and feel good about my results. Before I would avoid testing because I knew it would be high. The tingling in my feet has even gone away, and I have so much more energy and doing more now then I did before the surgery.

All these changes started to happen when I started going to the diabetes team at our Health Centre, they really took the time to listen to my concerns and help provide some solutions. I now know that keeping in touch with the diabetes team helps me to live well with diabetes.