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I am Winston Joseph, 60, and was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes 20 years ago. When the doctor told me I wasn’t surprised. I was urinating frequently, and had an unquenchable thirst and blurry vision. I learned about diabetes when I was 6 or 7. A family friend had it and we went to visit him in the hospital when he lost a leg. My mother explained about “sugar” and what it could do to you.

How I Manage My Diabetes

I love Guyanan sweets so I ate a lot of desserts. I enjoyed starchy foods like rice, cassava, yams, and dasheen. In 2004, I finally took diabetes seriously and went to Kings County Hospital. Now I control starches and sugars. Instead, I’ll have protein, fruit, and vegetables like carrots, cabbage and squash seasoned with low or no sodium spices. Nutritionists teach you in a real kitchen to read labels, make food selections, prepare food and portion control. I bake or broil instead of frying.

I take insulin and test my blood sugar three times a day and go to the clinic every six weeks. My A1C stays between 7 and 8. What was most helpful was facing my condition, attending diabetes education classes and going to my support group. You share experiences, encourage one another and get helpful tips. Lots of literature is handed out and I get information off the Internet.

What motivates me was seeing a friend lose his limbs – I don't want any amputations or to go blind. I want a feeling of well being. I'd tell another diabetic to acknowledge there's a problem and get all the knowledge you can. Keep in touch with health professionals and take your medications. It's amazing how aware you become once you know what's happening and tap into all the resources available.

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