Full of energy and ready to go after beating diabetes
I FEEL like I'm a completely new person.
I have so much energy and zest for life that sometimes I feel like I just want to run - I feel like Forrest Gump. What's happening for me on the inside of my body is almost like a miracle."
These are the words of Grant Appo, a Bundjalung Minjungbal man from Tweed Heads now living in Bundaberg, after learning he had reversed his Type 2 diabetes.
"Exercise, good diet, connecting back into spirituality, the land, the sea - all these things coming together found my whole body being transformed into this new person that I am today" Mr Appo said.
Today you can find him just before dawn on the beach at Bargara, a place where he has found a spiritual connection to the land and a renewed vigour and love of life.
The transformation started a few months ago. After losing two relatives to the chronic disease, Mr Appo decided he wanted to be there for his six children, and took ownership of his GP Care Plan. He admitted he only half committed to the recommendations until recently.
Mr Appo started going for morning walks before dawn at Bargara beach. Through this, he found a spiritual connection to country.
This connection was deepened through his involvement with the IWC Men's Group, in the IWC Health & Wellbeing Centre's Communities Programs. Mr Appo now engages with the group every week.
Mr Appo also sought advice from an dietitian and switched from fast foods to healthy smoothies, lean meat and salads.
He says his energy improved and his morning walks became longer as a result.
Mr Appo's hard work paid off for him at his latest health check in August, which confirmed his blood sugar level was sitting steady about 4.2, the normal range, and that his diabetes was in remission. For the first time in decades, he could stop taking medication.
"I'm extremely proud not just of myself, but of the people down at the IWC who continued to stick by me and encourage me all the way through this journey to where I am today," he said.
"A bit of steel in your backbone goes a long way but the thing is that IWC has been a wonderful support base for me, constantly encouraging me and wanting to see me get better."
IWC delivers a holistic whole-of-person model of care in physical, emotional, spiritual and cultural wellbeing. It offers health and wellbeing services for all people, indigenous and non-indigenous.
"Words are quite hard to put together to express how I feel overall with my personal, mental and spiritual health … I actually feel like I'm a completely new person," Mr Appo said.
He is encouraging others struggling to embrace a healthy lifestyle to seek help from their GP, their community and family, and to focus on the positive.
"Because at the end of the day, we can fight this Type 2 diabetes disease, to be there for our children and pass on a legacy of a happy, healthy life," he said.
IWC director Aunty Cheri Yingaa Yavu-Kama-Harathunian commended Mr Appo on his efforts to connect with health and wellbeing for the right reasons.
"Grant's commitment to taking personal responsibility for his health management, development of his spirituality and showing his love for his family is wonderful to see. By doing this we can all choose a pathway to emotional wellbeing," Aunty Cheri said.