After finally getting a place on the DAFNE course I was super excited to start and meet some other T1D’s in order to compare life notes! The course was run by one of the DSN’s from the department and a dietician so there were 10 of us in the room in total.
The first thing that struck me was that on arrival when we went round introducing ourselves, everyone else in the room was A LOT newer to the diabetes game than I was. We ranged in age from 22 – 47 and apart from me, everyone else in the room had only had T1D for between 1 and 11 years. I was last to introduce myself and when I said I was 24 years diagnosed an audiable gasp went around the room. Ironically, although I had been living with it the longest, due to reasons mentioned in my previous post, I was probably the least educated when it came to carb counting and dose adjustment. It got me thinking, I don’t really remember life without diabetes but imagine having lived life up until your teenage years without having to worry about carb portions in every meal and then suddenly having your happy little sugary world flipped upside down by the arrival of the diabetes beast. A musing for another time but I am still not sure which scenario I think is preferable…
Back to our friend DAFNE…we were all provided with a thick, orange course handbook, a carb counting book and an old fashioned blood monitoring diary. It quickly became clear that we were going to have to record everything in these books and twice daily, the contents would be projected on to the wall for everyone to see and for us to discuss as a group. This made me feel uneasy as I didn’t want to feel judged or that I was a failure if I went outside of target range – I guess it served as additional motivation to really nail this carb counting shizzle!
I’m not going to go in to huge detail on the contents of the course however, we were told that the weeks timetable would cover the following:
- What is diabetes? (just in case we had forgotten!)
- Carb contents of certain foods
- Ratios of insulin to carbs
- Exercise and diabetes
- Illness and diabetes
- Low carb and pros/cons
- Pregnancy and diabetes
- Insulin pumps
- Meters and pens – advances and updates
- Q&A – anything specific we wanted to know
We were told that we would all be eating lunch together very much as part of the course and we would assist each other in calculating doses and adjustments according to what we were eating.
After initial introductions we set straight to it. Everyone in the group was super nice and I was looking forward to a fun and informative week. It was good to get a reminder of the basics and to learn how many carb portions were in many common foods. The structure of the course was a mixture of lecture style teaching, group discussions and interactive activities. The first analysis of our diaries wasn’t half as scary as I had anticipated and it was really interesting to see how different foods and doses affected different people as well as to learn what levels everyone felt comfortable at. We had one member of the group with extreme hypo unawareness therefore aiming for slightly higher levels and one person who freaked out if her levels were over 7. It just goes to show how different we all are and how HCP’s have to look at everyone as an individual without generalising or tarring everyone with the same brush.
Final DAFNEpost to follow…