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Woolloongabba client shares type 2 diabetes experience

Aunty Lesley is a proud Aboriginal woman, regular Gabba clinic client and one of the 7.9% of Indigenous Australians living with diabetes. Diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, Aunty Lesley has spent the past decade managing her condition and trying not to let it stop her from living her life to the fullest. For National Diabetes Week, we sat down with Aunty Lesley to discuss her experience, how she manages the chronic condition and what she wish mob knew about diabetes.

How do you manage your condition?

I currently take a medication called Metformin and receive a needle once a week to help manage my blood sugar levels.

How does having diabetes affect the way you live your life?

Thankfully, it does not have a lot of effect on my life unless I don’t take my medication. If I don’t take my medication, my feet can swell, I feel cranky and I sometimes binge eat.

How has ATSICHS Brisbane assisted you with your management plan?

The Woolloongabba clinic has been fantastic. I come in weekly to check in to make sure I’m okay and to receive my injectables. I’ve formed a great connection with nurse Simon. He has taught me how to use my injectable and keeps me on schedule with my medication. The clinic drivers have also been wonderful. For a period of time, I didn’t take my medication regularly, which resulted in me being hospitalised and missing some of my clinic appointments. When the drivers arrived to pick me up for my appointment and I wasn’t there, the team knew to check in to see if I was okay.

What advice would you give to mob who are struggling with managing their insulin levels?

Start a relationship with your local clinic and get to know someone in particular who can help keep you on track. Don’t be frightened if you mess up! There’s nothing wrong with asking for help and admitting if you’ve done something wrong. It’s also important to remember that not all medication works for everyone, so make sure to let someone know if you’re experiencing any issues. If you’re struggling with the lifestyle side of managing your diabetes, I recommend exercise and finding a hobby. I enjoy gardening and crafts. Also, don’t be afraid to have a small amount of sweets sometimes as long as you keep it in moderation.

What do you wish others knew about diabetes?

How bad it can be for your body. It affects your entire body, from your feet to your mental health. Don’t be afraid to ask the clinic if something seems off or if you’re at risk of type 2 diabetes. I also want community to know that it can be hereditary and get tested regularly if there is family history.

Learn more about diabetes

To learn more about diabetes, visit our diabetes education page or visit Diabetes Queensland. If you’re after assistance with managing your diagnosis or want to get tested, make an appointment at your local clinic by phoning (07) 3240 8900 (press 4).

A special thanks to Aunty Lesley for being so open and sharing her diabetes experience with us.


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