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Everything changed when I was given a place on a DAFNE course

I was 20 and studying at university in the USA. Over the course of a couple of months I lost a lot of weight, seemed to be constantly thirsty and lethargic. When I arrived back home in the UK my family and friends couldn't believe how unwell I looked and barely recognised me (I'd hardly noticed the change as to me it was fairly gradual). My Mum made me go to the local pharmacy to have a diabetes test and my reading was too high for the blood test meter to read so I was sent straight to the doctors, the rest is history....

It took me a long time to come to terms with being diabetic and I think it was a few years before it really hit me that it was not a temporary thing. I rebelled a bit at first, didn't always take my insulin when I should, rarely tested my blood sugar etc and this poor control was reflected in poor hba1c results.

Everything changed

Everything changed about 18 months ago when I was given a place on a DAFNE course in Norwich.

I've probably bored all my friends and family with how much I have raved about the course but I can genuinely say that it changed my course. The first thing I loved was that it gave me the chance to meet other people in my area with Type 1, previously I only vaguely knew a few other diabetics, all much older with Type 2. It's difficult to describe the freedom (and a certain degree of amusement) I felt when we broke for lunch and the whole room got out their test kits and insulin!

Taking control

The course really took things back to basics, stripping away any bad habits or false information we may have about diabetes. It taught us to take control of the condition and make it fit in with our lives rather than our lives needing to adapt to the diabetes.

Since doing the DAFNE course I can honestly say my life has changed beyond recognition. I have taken up running (recently running 10k for Diabetes UK), something I'd never managed to do before as exercise always left me with hypos.

A lot happier

My friends and family have noticed a real difference in me, I can be a lot more spontaneous now, not having to plan everything with military precision to ensure I know when I'll be eating etc! Perhaps most importantly my health has improved and I am a lot happier. I cannot thank the nurses who gave me the chance to do DAFNE enough and I really feel it should be available to everyone who has Type 1.

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