Nigel was first diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes over 20 years ago. His journey to a correct diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes and receiving the right kind of support has been a difficult one. Thankfully with determination and a week on a DAFNE course Nigel leads a safe and fulfilled life. This is his story.
In the early years Nigel was on medication, including metformin and insulin. During that time a specialist diabetes nurse recommended some lifestyle changes, but it was a near death experience behind the wheel of his treasured Audi that was the beginning of the turning point. Nigel suffered a serious hypo whilst driving and realising something was terribly wrong with his eyesight failing, he finally managed to steer his car off a major motorway before crashing across a main road. Thankfully avoiding other drivers and helped by the ambulance crew and police, who initially thought he was a drunk driver, Nigel’s blood sugar levels had reached a dangerously low level. As a result, Nigel lost his driving licence for 2 years but took up cycling to work – a round trip of 28 miles a day.
However, Nigel still struggled to manage adjusting his daily insulin injections. But then came the Type 1 diagnosis after Nigel revealed that his cousins also have T1 diabetes. Progress of sorts.
Nigel continued to try to manage his diabetes, this time trying out pump therapy but having regained his licence he lost it for a second time, and it was then that he and his wife decided that he really needed a new approach to managing his diabetes.
Then Nigel was referred to a DAFNE course at Kings. Nigel takes up the story.
“Everything changed – it just felt like a dream ticket. DAFNE is evidence based and helps you manage Diabetes yourself. You can eat what you want by learning about the relationship between carbs and insulin”
Nigel continues “during that week I could see the stabilising of my carbs and insulin – someone turned the light on and I could see the end of the tunnel!”
“I couldn’t believe it but within the week I woke up in target”
“Plus, I learnt how food labelling is so important”
“Don’t kid yourself that it’s a miracle cure as it isn’t, its hard work and you have to be diligent but DAFNE gives you the tools to manage the condition effectively then it’s up to you”
DAFNE courses are for people living with Type 1 diabetes. The courses teaches people to develop skills for insulin dose adjusting, based on their own body’s requirements. This gives people a systematic approach to their diabetes, allowing them to fit their diabetes around their life and enable them to eat what and when they want. It follows a nationally recognised curriculum and educator training programme. Courses run for 5 days in groups, either across 1 week or split over 5 weeks and friend and family are welcome to attend on one of the five days.
Nigel never thought a group session would be for him, but it’s proven to be invaluable. He says “I’m in a WhatsApp group with the other course attendees which is great for supporting and sharing education. It’s really the key to self-management”
Nigel visits the Diabetic Nurse every three months and sees his Consultant at Kings once a year.
Nigel truly is an evangelist and has recently become a patient member on the DAFNE board. Nigel’s journey is typical but now his experience and the positive change the DAFNE course made to his life is helping others. As a patient board member Nigel has oversight of the programme and future developments as well as Healthcare Professional training.
One week really did change his life!
With thanks to Nigel Gaynor