In Tuesday's post I wrote a little bit about the DAFNE course. Now that the week-long course is over, I thought I'd give some more info. on the ins and outs of the programme. I won't lie, I'm also here to sing its praises because it is fantastic.
The set up of a typical DAFNE course day consists of a group of type 1 diabetics (8 maximum, although there were 6 of us), a diabetes nurse, a dietitian and often either one or two observers. We spent the first day introducing ourselves and getting to know more about each others' lives with diabetes. It was fascinating to hear about everyone's experiences and to discover how many similarities and differences we have.
Throughout the rest of the week we covered:
- carbohydrate counting
- what diabetes is
- how diabetes may be caused
- the differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes
- what causes and how to treat hypoglycemia effectively without over treating
- what causes and how to treat hyperglycemia
- insulin:carb ratios
- general healthy eating
- practicals (e.g. weighing food)
- checking for ketones
- different insulin types and how they work in the body
- different blood testing monitors
- different insulin injection pens
- the pump
- how to manage our blood sugar levels in certain situations (e.g. sickness, exercise, drinking alcohol, eating out, pregnancy, travelling etc.)
Before turning up to the hospital on Monday morning, I must admit that I was feeling a little sceptical. I've lived with diabetes for 14 years - what on earth could anyone possibly tell me about it that I don't already know? Looking at that list of topics, you may be thinking exactly the same thing. Well, you'd be surprised (as I was) about how many things you don't know because you were never told or because they're new ideas, or how many things you've forgotten over the years.
Overall, I found DAFNE to be an unbelievably positive and enjoyable experience. Not only was it an opportunity to gain more knowledge about how to treat my diabetes, but it was also one to meet some truly lovely people with the same pain-in-the-backside 'disease' (although I hate to call it that) as I have. Although it may sound odd, I can't even begin to explain how nice it was to be pricking my fingertips and injecting my insulin with others who are doing exactly the same thing!
I feel that DAFNE has provided me with the skills and knowledge to gain control of my blood glucose levels with confidence. My diabetes nurse told me that it is an internationally-run course, so wherever you are on earth, ask about DAFNE! I thoroughly recommend it :)