Stewart explains the practical and emotional benefits he got from going on an diabetes education course. He is supporting Taking Control, a Diabetes UK campaign aiming to make sure people have the skills and knowledge to manage their diabetes.
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A course made life easier for Stewart.
"I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when I was 46. I was fortunate enough to know for a long time what it was like not having diabetes. And I didn't want my life to change significantly simply because I had it.
I'm now 62 and went on a DAFNE course eight years after being diagnosed.
Before the course I used to carb count and tried to match my insulin but it was through trial and error and I would often get it wrong and find myself yo-yoing. What DAFNE does is help you get a grip of that. It took the guesswork out of it.
A course gives you the toolkit to manage your diabetes.
Before the course I was really screwing my levels down as I was absolutely paranoid about my sight. One of my main interests is that I'm a birdwatcher and I didn't want that complication. I learned that if you keep your HbA1c at a reasonable level and you don't have to be hung up all the time. I spent years not realising that. I now know my hobbies aren't suddenly going to be taken away from me.
Going to DAFNE also had a huge impact on my family. I realised it was OK to have ice cream again and it was up to me if I wanted chocolate. As those things started to kick back in I realised how much my family had been managing themselves around my diabetes.
I think one of the most useful things about the course was spending time in the company of other people with diabetes. Previously I didn't know whether my experience of diabetes was a normal one, but sharing and learning from each other was a really important part of the course.
A course gives you the toolkit to manage your diabetes. It gives you confidence. By and large I now know that if I have a hypo or find myself with a very high reading I can work out what has happened.
Having diabetes is low down on the list of things that I am because it doesn't have an impact on what I can or can't do anymore.
It has given me my life back.