Education benefits health and wellbeing Sylivia shares her experiences with us and explains how attending a Type 2 Diabetes Education Course has made positive change to her and her families life. “Well it all started on a cold miserable day in January 2014. I was slowly coming out of a long bout of depression (which I now know is often linked with diabetes). I had also had spinal surgery which had reduced my mobility greatly and my weight had gone up significantly adding to my low self-esteem and feeling out of control. My HbA1c at this point was 8. The phone rang and I was politely asked if I would like to attend a Diabetes X-pert course. I was very abrupt to the point of rudeness, saying I felt that this course was not really for me and that I felt I knew all there was to know about my own disease. I agreed to attend week one but made no promises to continue with the course. I entered the hall on week one with my husband in tow in case I wanted to get out quickly. Although the educators Ian and Suzanne were welcoming and friendly I still made it clear that I probably would not stay the course. I sat next to a lovely lady and we were asked to discuss with each other our concerns and fears about living with diabetes. I was amazed at how many others in the group felt the same way I did. Suzanne went on to explain what diabetes was in a way that was clear and engaging. I had spent 25 years in the N.H.S. as a Health Care Assistant and thought I knew all there was to know about diabetes. I was so wrong and I was hooked! The second week I attended alone and the two and a half hours flew by, as did the next four weeks. When on week 6 the evaluation form asked if I thought I would like to share my experience with others, how could I refuse? I had already put into place many lifestyle changes. I bought a smaller plate for my meals and reduced my portion size. I parked further from the Supermarket door so I had to walk those few extra steps. I even banned myself from the downstairs loo, so I had to go upstairs every time the need arose. Then I had a phone call asking me if I would like to train as an educator. Oh yes please! I needed to share this. “Surely I don't qualify" I said, my old self-doubt coming back. "You have been on a course haven't you and you have diabetes yourself, of course you qualify" O.k. where do I go to get trained. Hebden Bridge, I was told. Where? Thinking I had never heard of that in Hampshire. Hebden Bridge, on the Yorkshire/Lancashire border I was told. This was testing the new me to a whole new level. "When" I asked "three weeks’ time" was the answer. "Ok" I said. My husband and I travelled up to Hebden Bridge. The course was very intense, but so informative and encouraging. I do admit that I felt completely out of my depth amongst, doctors, dieticians, physiotherapists and other health care professionals. Doctor Trudi Deakin's confidence in me was so encouraging and gave me the confidence I needed. My journey carries on from here. I am delivering my seventh and eighth courses on the Isle of Wight at the moment. I am forty pounds lighter, much more mobile, my HbA1c has dropped to 6.1 and I have reduced my diabetes medication. I love delivering the courses and seeing the surprise and the light dawn on participants faces as they learn the same things I learned about diabetes. Because my husband saw the massive impact the X-pert course had on me and my lifestyle he has gone off to the wilds of Hebden Bridge and trained himself to be an educator and now we often work together; quite a formidable team. I can't thank Suzanne and Ian enough for getting me to take those first steps and introducing me to the new me. Trudi for her fantastic course and continued support and Joan, the first educator I worked with whose gentle guidance and encouragement gave me the confidence to stand alone.” More success stories from the Type 2 Diabetes Education Course commissioned by the CCG from Self-Management UK Mrs D was diagnosed with Diabetes in January 2014 and was referred to an X-Pert course. She only came along to keep her diabetic nurse happy! Mrs D told us that the course was just fantastic and how wonderful she now feels. Mrs D has lost over 2 stone to date and continues on the path of healthy living. Mr G came along to the Ventnor course under duress, but said the course had opened his eyes and was truly amazed. Mr G has lost a few stone and his whole family have now altered their diet. Mr G now walks 10 miles a week, feels fitter and healthier. His blood pressure is down and he takes less medication. Mrs P was in a diabetic coma a year ago and was referred to the course by her diabetic nurse. Mrs P has now been off insulin for 3 months and this is all through exercise and diet. Mrs P joined a walking group and she said that she has never felt better. She cannot thank X-Pert enough for all the support and encouragement that was given to her and would recommend the course to others. Mrs R was diagnosed 18 months ago and joined an X-Pert group a year ago. Mrs R has lost 2 ½ stone and is now only taking one metformin tablet a day as opposed to 4. Her sugar levels are down and she is enjoying life again. Mr T was diagnosed with diabetes 18 years ago and was registered disabled 2 years ago as he couldn’t walk and put on huge amounts of weight. Mr T attended the XPert course a year ago and has since lost 3 ½ stone in weight, doesn’t use his inhaler anymore and walks without the aid of a stick. His metformin is down and also his others medication has been reduced. The X-Pert course changed my life. At a reunion people reported how they have lost weight, their blood pressure is down, their medication has been reduced; they are fitter and healthier and one lady has not had insulin now for 3 months and this is down to exercise and diet alone – what an achievement.