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DAFNE course attendance 26/04/2009

Pete and Simon have attended a one-week DAFNE (Dose Adjustment For Normal Eating) course. The course is intended to help people living with type 1 diabetes improve their self-management – monitoring blood glucose levels and adjusting insulin injections according to what they eat, what exercise they do and how much alcohol they drink. The nutritionist and diabetes specialist nurse who ran the course were clear that the course was about helping people better understand how their body deals with food rather than being a ‘healthy eating’ course.

Listening and talking to people on the course gave us plenty of insights into what it is like living with type 1 diabetes.

Some participants felt oppressed by their diabetes and described difficulties fitting self-management into their busy lives. Others discussed the stigma attached to having diabetes, how some people thought of them as being sick or disabled, and how this could create tensions at work.

Participants saw the course as providing knowledge that made them feel more in control. It also would allow them to correct some of the incorrect views of others, such as “you go to the toilet a lot/look flushed/ are hot/cold because you’re diabetic”.

Becoming a good ‘self-manager’ seems to require becoming an expert in your diabetes, such as knowing all the medical acronyms and jargon (BGL, HbA1c, key tones etc.).

Finally, being on the course was also a lot of fun. And we’d like to thank all the new “DAFNE Graduates” for sharing their experiences with us.

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