At the age of 10, Matthew was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. A few days after his diagnosis, Matthew was quickly transferred to Mater Hospital .
For Matthew, being a type 1 diabetic has impacted his life and for the first few years he found it very difficult to manage. He spent his teenage years in denial, not fully accepting the reality of his diagnosis.
As he’s matured, Matthew has begun to take his diagnosis more seriously, and has been living with type 1 diabetes for 14 years.
Matthew originally used an insulin pump, which is an alternative way to administer insulin instead of multiple daily injections. It is the size of a small pager and delivers a continuous infusion of rapid acting insulin. Sadly, however, Matthew’s insulin pump was stolen while he was at work and he is now manually injecting his insulin.
“This is going okay, but I wish I had my pump back,” Matthew said.
Matthew has twice participated in Mater’s DAFNE program (Dose Adjustment For Normal Eating), run by Clinical Nurse Consultant Marina Noud at Mater’s Queensland Diabetes and Endocrine Centre (QDEC).
“The DAFNE program was very helpful to learn how to manage my meals and adjust my insulin accordingly,” he said.
“As the name suggests, the course has a strong focus on insulin dosing for carbohydrate intake, where our patients are able to consult directly with dieticians and educators learning how to adjust their insulin depending on what they are eating, how to keep their blood sugar levels in target and emphasis is placed on a healthy diet,” Mater Clinical Nurse Consultant Marina Noud said.
The group also provides a safe space where people can discuss any personal problems they are having with their diabetes and the multidisciplinary team works with them to problem solve and find a solution.
When Matthew moved into young adulthood, he participated in Mater’s transition clinic, where patients are welcome to give themselves a fresh start on their healthcare journey.
The transition clinic is a comfortable and supportive environment where young people can learn about their diabetes and how to manage it as their life changes around them.
“This program has improved my confidence and given me the tools I need to manage my condition,” Matthew said.
“I never liked injecting insulin but now with the help of the clinic I have more confidence to manage my own condition.”
Mater has also given Matthew the tools to cope with the stress and anxiety of living with type 1 diabetes. Throughout his life, Matthew has struggled with stress and anxiety and he has found Mater to be very supportive.
Matthew loves to play rugby league and works closely with his care team on how to exercise and manage his blood sugar appropriately.
Eating out in restaurants used to be a problem for Matthew, as he did not know how to manage his blood sugar, but now he finds it very easy to do.
Matthew encourages anyone else with type 1 diabetes to take advantage of all the additional services Mater has to offer, as “they are so rewarding”.
Making the transition from child to young adult can be a stressful and daunting experience, but for young people living with chronic illnesses, this time can be particularly difficult to navigate and understand as they find their independence and learn to manage their condition.
Further, moving from a team of health care professionals that you have grown to know and trust over many years, can also be difficult.
For young adults aged 16 to 25 living with diabetes, a transition service at the Mater Queensland Diabetes and Endocrine Clinic offers a safe and welcoming space for people to meet some of their new team in a relaxed environment.
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