Education is key
Education is key to many things in life. A very wise old teacher of mine at school had a saying ” a little knowledge is a dangerous thing”
Now with a further 25 years experience I think he might have been right.
When diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as an adult there is a massive amount to learn. I was given about an hour with a DSN, a handful of leaflets and some insulin. That was it, off into the big world of blood sugar control.
I am an inquisitive person by nature so spent many many hours reading up on diabetes, insulin and all things related. I quickly found the DOC which was a massive help to me. It was here that I spoke with others about the DAFNE course. I called my DSN and got my name straight onto the waiting list. At the time I was told it could be up to a year wait for the course. I was very lucky and got on a course in just 8 weeks due to a cancellation.
Whats the point of DAFNE
From DAFNE I took :-
- The knowledge needed to safely change insulin doses
- An understanding of accurate carb counting
- Insight into how to change insulin doses to deal with exercise
- The rules to follow in times of illness
- Learnt about the different types of insulin’s and their onset and duration times
- A complete overview of diabetes in general, the difference between T1 and T2 etc
- The importance of monitoring blood sugars
- A logical approach to diabetes management
- Understanding of hypoglycemia, symptoms and causes
- Understanding of hyperglycemia, symptoms and causes
- Tips on travel abroad
- Rules for driving with diabetes
- Overview of tech and insulin pump therapy
- The opportunity to meet other type one diabetics and make new friends
This list is just the first things which I remembered from my course. I am sure if I got my paperwork out there are tons more I could put.
One of the biggest things to me was the chance to meet others with type one. It was attending the DAFNE course which has spurred me on to get so involved with the GBdoc. I guess it was also the first step in me being involved with arranging the T1D London Meetups, which are getting better and better with each event.
How do I get on the course
Step one is to speak with your diabetes team. My team had already briefly mentioned DAFNE to me when I was first diagnosed. Unfortunately DAFNE is not the easiest course to get on. Many hospitals do not run this course. Many more do offer it but the uptake is very low. This leads to courses being cancelled or postponed until enough people are attending.
If you are on the waiting list I would recommend having a look at a couple of books and a website in the meantime
➡ Think Like a pancreas – Great book for an all round understanding of diabetes
➡ Dr Bernstein’s Diabetes solution – great for tips on diet and carbs
Online resource for people wanting a head start before DAFNE
➡ BDEC Learning program – great resource, an online version of some DAFNE principals. Run by Bournemouth Diabetes and Endocrine Centre. Soon to be updated I believe.
I have had diabetes for xx years, is it worth it for me?
On Twitter there are always discussions going on over the worth of DAFNE. To me it was a great experience. You get out of this course what you put into it. If you turn up thinking you know all there is to know and that DAFNE wont teach you anything, then chances are you wont enjoy it. Just go along with an open mind. If you do know lots about diabetes already then it is a great opportunity to meet others and share your knowledge and experience. This is a life long condition, education is crucial for all.
Diabetes tech – Learn to walk before you try to run
A recent debate on Twitter about diabetes tech has lead me to write this blog.
It was about tech and CGM. Many people were of the opinion that tech is not being used to its best because of a lack of education. I must admit I do agree with this theory. If a person doesn’t have a very solid understanding of diabetes and many principles covered in DAFNE then tech will not help them. It is all well and good having a nice display of your current and past BG but without that knowledge, they wont know what to do to put things right.
Take care, educate everyhwere