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Good Aft & Thank you - lovely intro Honoured and Excited to be here. Thank you Event organisers & fellow panel members Theme Empowering the Patient, Information, Choice & Accountability. Decided to focus on Empowering ... Before I take you on my journey…, I’d like to explain a little about myself.
Stay at home mum 23 years at age 20. - Worked, Wife and Mother, Moved abroad, I’ve Volunteer with Diabetes Ire for 10 yrs, as’; Advocate, Facilitate, Organise D Events,, editor & PM of T1D Starter Kit, Fundraising. Blood Sugar Trampoline: blog -experiences living with t1d. Thriveabetes – Volunteers. Focuses on psychosocial. I’ll do anything to get out of cleaning my house! My journey didn’t happen overnight and it contains 2 core elements which are; Diabetes Ed & Support. Let’s go back to the beginning….
The Journey Began 23 yrs ago, dxd, in 1993. The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) was published. Diabetes Education was extremely basic – if it existed. My diabetes mgt involved; Fixed amt of insulin twice, Eating the same amt at the same time, Checking BG’s, Recognise & treat a hypo For those 1st 6 yrs - I blindly coasted through my diabetes care. I did what I was asked. No idea why I was doing any of it, except to stay alive. What changed? How did I get on the bus? Corny Love
I met this bloke. Notions. Asked 4 Info Stunned 3 reasons - 1st person - didn’t expect educate. Moving too fast I had nothing. What I did have was the internet. Websites; The Mayo, Joslin Centre, JRDF. Be a better way to live. This thinking Got Shelved b/c My bus was not on an express route. Couple of Transfers
Page 2 - 2003 - Married - moved - family. Dietitian - counting carbs, insulin dose adjusting and sliding scales. Thro this knowledge, I felt I actually had some control over this thing called diabetes. I felt supported; supported by my D team and supported with knowledge.
The 2nd transfer on my journey towards empowerment was finding peer support...
2007 - back to Ire- 2nd baby. increasingly frustrated - my lowest point Propelled into action - Newspaper -New branch of D Ire. Tel. Instantly connected. - Wanted to meet more people - set up D support groups. Continue to be a source of information, motivation and inspiration for me. This is where I feel my journey towards empowerment was completed. My destination was reached.
The scenic route The Core elements should be available to all PWD. To recap on those Core Elements. They are; Diabetes Education - Not university - lectures. Ongoing 2-way conversational style. My knowledge has to adapt to how my diabetes changes as I go through life’s changes and stages.
Support from 3 sources; At home - I may be the person with diabetes …. The more supported I am at …. Diabetes team – Listens, Acknowledges , Doesn’t focus my failings, Continues to teach. Continues to learn. Peers – undervalued, under used resource. Who else knows what it’s like to live with diabetes than other pwd. We learn so much from sharing our experiences….
My journey towards empowerment has been completed but life with diabetes journey still continues. And I hope to continue that journey for many, many decades.