We are more than halfway there! Our Type 2 Diabetes Simulation has been a challenging and eye opening experience. We have struggled through managing medications, changing our diet, and (trying) to change our lifestyle. Even though we are not finished with the simulation, we have gained a tremendous appreciation for the time, dedication, and plain old hard work it takes to manage diabetes on a day to day basis.
Throughout the simulation, we ran into several challenges, realizations and surprises. Here are some thoughts we had in the first week of our simulation:
Not all fingers are created equally when it comes to blood glucose testing. My middle fingers bleed stronger and longer. My first finger hurts more than the rest, and there’s just no chance for my pinky fingers.
Quinoa has how many carbs??
Certified diabetes educators are the bomb.com. They are mystical creatures full of patience, determination, and hope. I will sing their praises until I die.
I get cranky when I try and completely change my diet in one day. Incorporating salad into every meal was a real struggle, and definitely didn't help the mood.
Peanut butter is still a lifesaver! Much like in college it can still be the only thing to get me through a day.
Second dinner is much better for taking meds than first dinner, hobbit-like meal schedules are good but you need to make sure to take your meds at the same time every day.
Why do only 10 test strips come in a bottle?!... Oh, great, I got a misreading. I can't afford to waste these!
Logging your food can go one of two ways- it can be very empowering, or very embarrassing.
The first time you prick your finger it is the most anti-climatic event. I was holding the lancet to my finger, crying, for about ten minutes before I mustered up the courage to prick myself. Turns out, it wasn’t that bad.
Starting and stopping a new behavior is extremely difficult. For me, stopping running everyday was next to impossible for me. I can imagine that getting a patient to start exercising everyday is equally challenging.
My persona has type 2 diabetes along with chronic kidney disease, a prior coronary bypass surgery, vision problems, and neurological problems. Several of these came with dietary restrictions so I had to limit my intake of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, salt, phosphate, and potassium. As calories are primarily derived from carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, this resulted in a painful reduction in my caloric intake and made adherence challenging.
While limiting macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, and protein) was not easy, what made my diet particularly challenging was the constraints on potassium and phosphate that came from my persona's chronic kidney disease. This meant that I had to limit how much salad I could eat, as well as what I could put in my salad. I also had to cut out nut-based products (peanut butter, almonds, etc.) and chickpea-based products (hummus and falafel). Oatmeal and whole grain breads were removed as well in favor of white bread. As vitamin and mineral content aren't extensively documented on food labels, it was hard to know at times how much I was consuming, without resorting to Google search.