Local Impact - California


Alberta Manuel -Round Valley Indian Tribes
Sonoma County Indian Health

I have been living with diabetes for 35 years. I am thankful for the support from the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) staff who educated me on how to control my diabetes. The Sonoma County Indian Health, in Santa Rosa, Ca, have been and continue to be my diabetes support team. I have attended classes; diabetic awareness, foot inspection training, diet management, food group understanding, exercise "walking", insulation injection training and eye care.

I was motivated to join the program by my fear of the consequences for not taking "individual management" of my disease. I started feeling the early stage effects of this disease, such has numbness in my feet, sugar lows followed by confusion. I saw my friends undergo limb amputation, first a toe, then a foot, then the legs. I saw the burden it took on the family members, who were their care takers, not only physically, but mentally also.

I really like that there are Native staff members performing some of the diabetes care training programs. They know our foods and how much we enjoy them, so when they are training they honor our culture by recognizing our struggles in changing these eating behaviors, then they remind us of our foods that we ate as "our culture" and how healthy our people were – it just makes sense.

I completely cleaned out my cupboards of snacks and bad foods, after attending some of the SDPI classes. I must confess, I fell back during the holidays, however, most of the goodies I made, I gave away. I have also developed my own workout schedule. I walk a mile every other day, do workout exercises indoors, and swim once a week. I do that for my diabetic control. I also participated in the Alzhiemers walk. I formed a team, and I did it a mile, next year I will do the three mile route! The team members at Sonoma County Indian Health, my traditional healer and the diabetic program team provided spiritual and positive support to me, which helped me attain my goals.

I would like to see even more Native American staff. I would also advocate for a cooking program for diabetics. Our current program focuses on prevention. I know there are plenty of Native diabetics who would attend a program that offered cooking classes for those with diabetes. I have asked for this, however, I am told the funding does not allow for this. Also, I think our food distribution program, needs to listen to their Elders, and provide foods consistent with our diabetic food needs. Frozen foods like vegetables and boxed meals, are not what our people should be eating. We need fresh veggies, or canned is preferred.

Thank you for asking our inputs regarding the SDPI. I hope it continues, our people of all ages need this program!



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