When Gregg was diagnosed with diabetes more than three decades ago, he never knew the detrimental impact it would have on his health.
Sadly, when Gregg was first told he had diabetes, he had no idea there was a connection between the condition and an array of other health problems such as loss of vision and foot ulcers which if left untreated, can lead to amputation.
“The doctor didn’t tell me anything. He just said I have to watch my diet, I’ve got to watch my sugar intake and drink plenty of fluids,” Gregg recalls.
“So basically, my world fell in and I thought, what do I do now? Luckily my wife is a nurse…so we went ahead and started doing things, but still didn’t take it seriously.
“I thought, I’m 30 years old, I’ve got my whole life ahead of me. And then things started to go wrong, my eyesight started to get worse and I started getting little sores on my feet.”
At age 65, Gregg faced the possibility of losing his left foot, having already had three toes on each foot amputated, with recurring ulcers that have not properly healed continuing to cause ongoing problems.
Greg checks his feet daily, administers insulin four times a day and Gregg can only get around in a custom-made boot on his left foot with the assistance of a walking stick.
“The biggest challenge for me is my inability to do simple things like do the gardening or make a cup of tea,” he said.
“Without this boot or a cast, I can’t walk. I stand up and I fall over. Because of the mobility problems with the left leg, I put more pressure on the right leg. So, I’m now waiting for a knee replacement, but I can’t until the ulcers are healed, so my knee gets worse and worse.”
Despite his shortcomings, Gregg wants to share his story in the hope that it will encourage people to take their diabetes seriously.
“You’re not invincible,” he says. This thing is not just a ‘I’ve got sugar in my blood’ – it can kill you.”
80% of diabetes related amputations are preventable with the right help, at the right time. Ring our HELPLINE on 1300 001 880 or email [email protected] and our credentialed diabetes educators can point you in the right direction. We have a number of free programs that can assist you and can talk through your concerns.