Diabetes Dialogues

Meet Martin E.C.

Meet Martin

The Importance of Learning and Understanding Your Health Care Journey

When I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2008, I found myself unsure of how to move forward — how to make the necessary changes in my diet and lifestyle in order to confidently manage this condition. In the last 15 years, I’ve experienced amputations of both my legs below the knee as well as the loss of 5 fingers to diabetes; I’ve received shots and laser treatments to try and address swelling in my retinas due to diabetes, and now regularly receive dialysis.  

My A1C has gone down to 6 because of careful diet management and regular doctor’s visits, which include regular eye exams. Thanks to the hard work of providers like Dr. Daum with Alabama Lions Sight and the support from the American Diabetes Association and Genentech, I’ve been able to lose weight, reduce the amount of medications I need to take, and take an active part in my health. But it didn’t have to be this way, I wish someone had caught me when I was younger so I could make necessary lifestyle changes that I’d benefit from now.  

There are a lot of challenges that come with living with diabetes. Navigating insurance and Medicare, accessing the right doctors that will work for your health and your needs, and maintaining healthy patterns of diet and exercise are difficult, but it’s something we must do in order to stay healthy and avoid complications that can affect our quality of life, ability to work, and wellbeing.  

I can’t stress enough the importance of learning and understanding your health care journey — knowing what’s in your food, how carbohydrates convert to sugar, your sleeping habits, your exercise levels, getting screened for diabetes and receiving regular eye exams — all of these play a critical role in your health. I want to see people avoid what I’m going through and access the care they need to take an active role in their health.  

Regular eye exams can prevent vision complications due to diabetes; diet changes can have a lasting impact on your health and ability to produce insulin, and don’t take a backseat when it comes to your health. Living with diabetes and its complications is not easy, but it’s not impossible. You can do it, you just have to take the first step.