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The DAFNE Diaries Part I: Introduction

THE DAFNE DIARIES

-The DAFNE Diaries Part I: Introduction-
The DAFNE Diaries Part II: Monday & Tuesday
The DAFNE Diaries Part III: Wednesday & Thursday
The DAFNE Diaries Part IV: Friday & Conclusions

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INTRODUCTION

Consider what you think you know about diabetes. What comes to mind exactly? Is it fat people stuffing their faces with cake? The lolcat with the miserable face and the rotund belly? Or perhaps the diabeetus man warning that your leg is going to be amputated if you sniff even leisurely at a chocolate biscuit? If it is indeed any of these things, then the chances are that you don’t really know anyone with diabetes, or maybe that you rather enjoy memes far too much, and of course for that you can be forgiven. But few people know that there are two types of diabetes; Type 1 and Type 2. If you stuff your face with cake and can’t see your feet, then you more than likely have Type 2. But Type 1 is an autoimmune disorder;

‘It happens when the insulin producing cells (beta cells) in the pancreas gland, can no longer produce enough insulin… A virus or some other trigger may start off this process. The insulin producing cells in the pancreas gland are eventually destroyed and the symptoms of diabetes occur.’

And boom! Even without a cake or large vat of melted, bubbling candyfloss ever having passed your lips, you can develop diabetes. The cause for it is currently unknown, a genetic predisposition however can mean that you are more likely to develop it, and a sudden illness or emergency operation can trigger the diabetes to develop. These types of triggers do not cause the condition, rather they simply cause the condition to emerge when it is likely this would have happened anyway, at some point in life.

And with regards to this it then becomes necessary to manage your condition with blood tests and injections. Once the beta cells have started to fail, insulin is no longer produced (or only very small amounts of it are produced towards the beginning of diagnosis- they fail entirely over several months). Insulin is used in the body to ‘unlock’ cells to allow energy (in the form of glucose) to enter. Without insulin the glucose stays in the bloodstream which then ‘spills’ into the urine as it has nowhere else to go. This is why people with diabetes will urinate more frequently when undiagnosed, and also this will cause them to be more thirsty (due to dehydration). As the cells cannot access the fuel (glucose) for energy, the body will begin to break down the muscle instead which is why Type 1 diabetes can commonly also cause severe weight loss (bet you didn’t know that, eh!). The breakdown of fat eventually produces the by-product of ketones which is a sure-fire sign that you are diabetic- it can cause you to become very ill and can be tested in your urine. If you are producing ketones, this is known as diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) and can be treated with insulin. DKA may also occur if you are diabetic and have been for a while, and you become very ill, not just at the beginning of diagnosis.

Where am I going with all of this, I hear you ask? Well, I have been largely away from the blogosphere over the past couple of weeks as I have been preparing for, and in this last week have been attending, the DAFNE Course. ‘DAFNE’ stands for Dosage Adjustment for Normal Eating and is a Diabetes management course which takes place over five days. I have had Type 1 diabetes for over 15 years and in the past few years I have constantly been asked if I wanted to go on this course- I have repeatedly declined for the reasons many of the other participants also raised- I thought it would be patronising, useless, and quite frankly, a waste of time. How much difference could it make exactly? I’d certainly lapsed in my diabetes control over the past few years; I’d miss injections (because doing five a day for the rest of my life was a crippling thought), I’d eat what I wanted and guess at the amount of insulin I needed either because of a lack of time or a constant presence of laziness, and the fact that it was going to be with me for my entire lifetime always made me push resolving my issues to tomorrow (never today).

If you are reading this as a general interest piece or as a diabetic considering attending the course, let me be perfectly clear about the fact that I was so sceptical about the whole process that I previously thought frequently to myself that I would have much rather been at work, as opposed to at the hospital. But then how much difference did it make? Honestly… more than I could have ever expected.

Oh, and you guessed it. This is going to be a long post. I hope you’re sitting comfortably.

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This entry was published on September 28, 2012 at 19:12. It’s filed under Medical Oddities and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

13 thoughts on “The DAFNE Diaries Part I: Introduction

  1. My Grandpa (Mom’s Dad) had Type 1 I believe… He passed away in 1970 because of a heart issue, but I believe it had partly to due with his Diabetes… What I mean by that is, I don’t think they could treat it as well in 1970… I know he was in the armed services, and was relieved of duty.

    My Dad on the other hand I believe Developed Type 2… I know he gives himself insulin, but I don’t think it was Type 1… He got his late in life, and I believe to a degree it can be managed with Diet… But he still needs Insulin.

    I haven’t researched it thoroughly… I will say I used to sell Orthopedic Products, and I was the number one sales rep of selling something called the DH Walker… It was a boot for Diabetics with Ulcers… It relieved the pressure under the ulcers, which allowed the ulcer/wounds to heal.

    I myself had high blood sugar to a degree a couple of years ago, bordering on Diabetes (Type 2 I believe), but changed my eating, and brought it below the Diabetic number.

    Hopefully it’s still under, haven’t gotten blood taken in a few months… But my change of diet caused me to lose like 22 pounds, which hopefully reduced my triglycerides as well, which were also a bit high.

    It definitely runs in my family on both sides… Though I believe Type 1 comes from my Mom’s Side, and maybe Type 2 comes from my Dads, unless Type 2 isn’t hereditary, like I say, I haven’t researched it. I just know My Dad, and his Sister both got Type 2 I believe.

    I shall now read your other Posts, Lol

    DJ-

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    • Hi DarkJade, I honestly don’t know much about Type 2, I’m probably just as ignorant about Type 2 as I think people are about Type 1. I do know that it is controlled with diet and exercise mostly, but they can also take insulin for it if the insulin they produce isn’t as effective for some reason. I’m glad yours didn’t progress any further!

      Again, I don’t know about Type 2, but for Type 1 these are the inheritance factors:

      If neither parent has Type 1 = 1 in 250 chance
      If mother has Type 1 = 1 in 50-100 chance
      If father has Type 1 – = 1 in 20 chance
      If 1 sibling has Type 1 = 1 in 15-30 chance
      If 1 sibling + 1 parent has Type 1 = 1 in 10 chance

      EDIT: I’ve just found in my DAFNE workbook the following about Type 2. It comes under the title of ‘Inheritance’ but doesn’t give as much information, as the course is primarily focused on Type 1:

      ‘… we know the risk of developing the condition is greatly increased by unhealthy eating, being overweight and the lack of exercise. We could prevent much of this type… if we ate healthy food and took more exercise’

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    • Yeah, exercise improves just about every aspect of a person’s health… The trick is not letting these brains of ours drag us around, which they often do, Lol… I take walks, and lift light weights… Nothing to rigorous.

      DJ-

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    • That’s really great that you do regular exercise! I need to start doing more. Some of the participants on this course actually really inspired me with the amount of exercise they do even though they have diabetes. It’s all about tight blood glucose control and knowing how certain exercises affect your body.

      I might need to do some experimenting!

      Like

    • If you want to do an Exercise that actually gives you energy, you should try Qigong http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qigong

      YouTube probably has some Videos, unless you pick one up

      For me, it actually gives me so much energy, that sometimes I can’t sleep at night because of it, Lol… But that’s because I work at home… If I was out and about using more Energy, I would imagine that I wouldn’t have the surplus at the end of the day.

      But if you battle with lethargy, it might be perfect for you… I’m tellen you, it totally gives you more energy throughout the day.

      It’s also extremely Meditative, and Bad A$$, but that’s just an extra benefit… The actual Physical Effects are just awesome

      DJ-

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    • That does look really interesting, but I will have to take your word for it as that type of exercise isn’t really my kind of thing 🙂 I think I might just start walking more and hopefully start getting into badminton again. I would love to at least try something like Qigong at some point but it isn’t really the kind of thing that is available around near where I live- for starters I might do something that I’m used to 🙂

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  2. Nay mind all that, where the fuck have you been?

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    • My excitement was premature.

      ” I have been largely away from the blogosphere over the past couple of weeks as I have been preparing for, and in this last week have been attending, the DAFNE Course.” 😀

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    • I’ll be back next week, I promise! I just need to spend the next few days putting the theory into practice, normal blogging services should be resumed next week 😀 How are you anyway?

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    • Not too bad, I started my new job last Monday, standard call centre work, service desking it for Royal Mail but I get paid more than I did at Yeomans and it’s a nicer atmosphere (and my manager is well tasty) 🙂

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    • Pete, that’s awesome! I can’t wait to read about it all! My Dad works for Royal Mail, he’s the regional airport manager at East Midlands Airport. He’s repeatedly told me that the one great thing about working there is job security- I hope it works out well for you. More money is always pretty amazeballs 🙂

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    • Ah Royal Mail outsource their help desk, so I don’t actually work for Royal Mail I help them with shizz and I’m only an agency staff but they seem to like to keep their staff so long as I behave haha.

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    • Ah, that still sounds pretty awesome though. I do really hope it works out well for you 🙂

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