Noongar man Peter Farmer was diagnosed with diabetes in his early 20s.
Thinking he had time, Peter let the condition go unmanaged. It took a near-death experience for him to get his health back on track.
He wants other Indigenous Australians to learn from his experiences, and understand how family medical history, food and exercise can impact their health before it's too late.
I grew up in regional Western Australia, on a mission at Katanning about three hours south west of Perth.
While I was living in the country I was having veggies, fresh kangaroo out of the bush — so eating pretty healthy. Going to school I was involved in a lot of sport — whatever sport there was in the country we played. I would say I was pretty fit.
I met my now wife Miranda at the age of 23 and moved to Perth shortly after.
In the country, you didn't have any fast-food choices, but when you get to the city how many fast-food shops do you have around?
I was doing brick labouring at the time, hard physical work, and at the end of the day I just wanted to sit back, have a few beers and enjoy myself. I pretty much lived off fast food and I put a lot of weight on.
My lifestyle wasn't on track.
My wife and I were educated — I have two degrees and Miranda has a Masters — but we weren't educated on food. We didn't realise how what we were eating was impacting our health.
In my mid-20s I went to the doctor and they said I was a diabetic. I didn't really take that information in, and just kept doing what I was doing.
What they tell you, is type 2 diabetes will fall into line if you lose the weight and do the right thing. I thought: "we'll just let it go, take tablets" and it will fix it up.
Source: Diabetes Australia
At the same time I was watching my father struggle with diabetes and heart problems. It was horrible. Towards the end he had really poor quality of life. Basically what he said to me was: "See what I got, you gonna get".
I should've listened to my elders. I knew the background because my grandmother was diabetic. My father was diabetic. And they would often tell me: "stop doing what you're doing." He encouraged me to try and lose weight.
But being young and silly you think: "Oh well, I can get past this". 
By the time I got to my late 30s I was so big I couldn't bend down to tie up my shoelaces, I thought what's wrong here? It didn't feel good. I was tired a lot.
The turning point for me was when little things started to go wrong in my body.
What really scared me was when I got a bleed in the back of my eyes. I had to have surgery and you start having needles.
Then, after going to the dentist for the first time in 20 years to fix a rotten tooth, I had my first heart attack in 2015. 
I was 44-years-old, at my heaviest, stressed and my diabetes was out of control.
A few years later my kidneys hit rock bottom, with function only at about 7 per cent. I was going to have to start dialysis.
The medical team really stressed the weight control and said if you need surgery, or a kidney transplant, we want you well under 100 kilograms.
A health check to help you live well and stay healthy.
In 2019 I had another heart attack and needed a quadruple bypass. The doctors told me I had a very low chance of survival. With the help of the hospital staff I dropped 12 kilograms and went in for surgery.
I was told I almost didn't make it through, I am lucky to still be here.
When these events happen we basically have to change. All of my old grand uncles died around their 40s, I didn't want to die in my 40s too.
I started to learn from the dietitians and diabetes educators — what's good to go in your body and what's not as healthy. I started eating right, exercising — all that sort of stuff.
Source: Diabetes Australia
In the beginning the medical team got me to ride 15 minutes on an exercise bike and 15 minutes walking. You start slow and work your way up.
I'm at around 73 kilograms now and I can power walk for an hour without breaking a sweat.
In 2020 I had a successful kidney transplant at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
I feel healthier, but I'm still on a journey. I see my renal specialists a couple of times a month to monitor how everything is going.
It was hard because pretty much everyday I had to drive past KFC, Maccas, and I wanted to get a little box of chips, but I couldn't have it.
Now we steam all sorts of veggies and meat that we can eat. Doctors said I shouldn't have processed meat, I can't have cheese, I can't have mayonnaise, raw eggs, a lot of stuff.
The new diet is something I must live with now. 
It's a small price to pay to still be here. Now I know my health is on me.
For more information about living with diabetes see your doctor or visit the Diabetes Australia website.
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