Robert was diagnosed in 2015 aged 20 but it didn’t come as a shock because his brother and a cousin also have type 1 diabetes. He participated in a Patient Education Programme similar to DAFNE. This course provided important information and advice on how to balance exercises with insulin and carbohydrates for effective management. Robert was also thrilled to learn more about the different types of technologies available to help manage the condition like glucose scans and those that are being planned for the future. Participants to the course set up a Facebook group and continue sharing tips and experiences about their condition. Robert is on Lantus and Novorapid.
Robert’s older brother and his cousin have type 1 diabetes so, when he developed an unquenched thirst his parents checked his blood sugar levels and finding it to be high, and took him to hospital for further tests. Robert was twenty when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Following his diagnosis, he had to rethink one of his life projects as he couldn’t join the Territorial Army Reserves on a part-time basis. His career plans, however, have not changed and he is currently doing an apprenticeship and he wants to go to university to study mechanical engineering at degree level.
Robert describes as exceptional’ the nurses and dieticians he saw in hospital at the time of his diagnosis because they took the time to explain type1 diabetes, its treatment and management with care and reassurance. Robert also feels that his diabetes health team has taken excellent care of him. He explains that these days he mostly sees his diabetes nurse and dietician and occasionally he catches up with the consultant as there are no medical concerns or problems with his management of the condition. After diagnosis, it took a few months to find the right dose of insulin, but injecting has never bothered him. He is on Lantus and Novorapid.
Robert tests his blood sugar levels frequently. He drives one hour each way to work and knows that the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) recommended blood sugar level must be 5 before driving. So his daily routine includes checking his blood sugars before and after breakfast; before leaving home for work and before driving back home from work. He knows the importance of avoiding having a hypo while driving. But he finds finger pricking bothersome and hopes the DVLA recognises soon the glucose monitoring meters already available. He added: just being able to swipe and get your blood sugar as opposed to pricking your finger every time would be huge for me’.
One year after diagnosis, Robert was invited by his diabetes team to take part in a patient education programme – similar to DAFNE. He found it useful for several reasons. The programme went into more detail about carbohydrate counting; it provided advice about exercise, on how to correct the insulin doses depending on the types of exercise routine, and what people need to eat more of, when exercising. The course provided him a clear understanding about balancing exercises with insulin and carbohydrates. The course also offered the chance to meet and shared experiences with other people diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. After the course finished, the participants created a closed Facebook group and kept in touch and continue posting and sharing tips and experiences. The course also provides valuable advice and information on carbohydrate counting apps for mobile phones. He describes it as brilliant’. He bought one and says that it’s the best ¬¨¬®¬¨¬£2.50 I ever spent’. Robert was also thrilled to learn more about the different types of technologies available to help manage the condition like glucose scans and those that are being planned for the future. He feels that rapid progress is taking place that will help improve the management of type1 diabetes.
Robert talks about his experience of living with type 1 diabetes quite openly, but feels that there is still much misconception about type 1 which generally is confused with type 2 diabetes. Robert’s friends and work colleagues have been really supportive and Robert has made the point of explaining a few of them what to do if he is having a hypo or a medical emergency.
When it comes to drinking alcohol, Robert follows the advice given by his dietician, which is basically to snacks at the end of the night to make sure his sugar levels don’t go low in the middle of the night. He tends to stick to beer and doesn’t have drinks with high sugar contents.