I am a 28 yr old nursing student that was just diagnosed with Type 1 a month ago. Prior to my diagnosis I had been selected to undertake a voluntary 'nursing/health' placement in Ghana for 4 weeks in January, 2011.
So being diagnosed with diabetes has kind of thrown me a curveball ... I am still very keen to go (despite every 2nd person telling me it's now a bad idea) I just have lots more to think about now ... meals, keeping insulin cool, etc, etc.
I am currently taking 21 units of Lantus at night and 6 units of novorapid at breakfast and lunch, and 8 units at dinner. I have not seen an endo yet (huge waiting list).
My diabetic educator isn't very helpful at all, she just told me to take my ordered insulin amounts and eat 45g of carbs at meals and 20g for snacks and supper ... and i'll see you again in December before you go! I have been leaving messages for her to call me for over a week to try and arrange to learn a little about carb counting and matching my insulin to what I eat as in Ghana it may be a little bit harder to eat my 'designated' carb quantities, anyway she has yet to return my calls.
So long story short, I am wondering if anyone else has been to Ghana or another similar country that can give me some advice?
Oh and this is actually the first time I've ever left Australia, lol.
You should ABSOLUTELY go! When I was a junior in college I decided to spend a semester in Kenya. Almost everyone told me (and my parents) that I was out of my mind and that it was too dangerous. I went anyways and it was hands down the best thing I've ever done in my entire life. If you wants tips or specific ideas feel free to email me directly. Good luck!
You definitely can't pass this up. I passed up my first opportunity to travel when I was first diagnosed but ended up going it 6 years later. I lived in South East Asia for almost 4 years. It was awesome.
This is what I did for my first year; packed with me in my carry on enough insulin and test strips for 1 year. Look at the websites for Lantus and Novorapid and see if they are available in Ghanda and if they are comparable in strength. See what health care is available to you (buy from home before you go?). I got lucky and found an English speaking doc that provided me with insulin & test strips for my final 3 years. Watch the foods you eat, I had a lovely incident with severe food poisoning that hospitalized me! Test very frequently and keep a record of your BS, this will help you figure out if your unit per meal are enough or not.
As for Carb counting, I've been doing it from the get go. Here is a PDF file you'll want to keep on your laptop or print and take with you. http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/alt_formats/pdf/nutrition/fiche-nutri-... . It will help you guesstimate some of the foods you'll encounter. Just remember to subtract your fiber from the Carbohydrates for your final carb count.
As for your educator telling you that you need to eat 45g of carbs at each meal, how nice of her to be sooo helpful. Each meal can be different and I use to calculate my unit based on a rate me and my educator worked out which can vary. For example, at breakfast I would inject 1.6 unit for every 10g of carbs so if my breakfast was 30 g of carbs I would inject 5 units (30 X 0.16 = 4.8). At lunch it was 1.5/10g so a 40 g meal was 6 units (40 X 0.15 = 6). Basically, find another diabetic educator that will teach you to properly carb count! Just remember, test frequently (before & 2 hrs after each meal) and whenever you feel a little off.
Thanks for the replies everyone, lots of helpful information...you guys are awesome! Only a week left until I leave for Ghana! Sorry I haven't been online in awhile, been busy finishing off the semester with exams, etc. So for the last month or so I have been on a clinical placement, the increased activity along with the 'honeymoon' phase resulted in me having hypo after hypo so I ended up temporarily stopping my bolus insulin. Over the last couple of days I have started needing more novorapid than ever and my BGL's are still going sky high...so i'm guessing the honeymoon is over, great timing huh! :( But with a bit of luck it could just be the christmas/new year season and a drop in activity levels.
I'm sure i'll figure things out though, hopefully when I get over there and increase my activity level again, my BGL's will settle down. I was lucky enough to be refered to an awesome dietician that specialises in Type 1 diabetes, so at least I have a bit more understanding of carb counting, etc...she even researched Ghanaian food for me, as well as locating me a 'western' supermarket where I can stock up on some 'everyday' food if my BGL's go the other way and drop.
I have set up a blog for my trip that I will hopefully be able to update periodically, if anyone would like to check it out here's the link ...there isn't much on there now, but hopefully it'll get more interesting when I get to Ghana.
Anyway thanks again for all your great advice, and I wish you all happy new year!