FUDiabetes

Giving a presentation on "Life with T1" at work

So, as previously discussed a bit here, this summer I’m interning at a lab that is exploring one possible technique for protecting pancreatic islet cells from the immune system, and I am there through the JDRF internship program. My boss has asked me if I’d give a presentation about what it’s like to live with T1 at a lab meeting in a few weeks. In his words, though the researchers have been working on these projects (there are a few diabetes-related ones) for years, their exposure to what T1 really is is often limited to the introduction sections on the journal articles they read about related research, and it may be beneficial for them to hear about what it’s like from my perspective. I’ve agreed to this, and I am happy to do so, but I’m finding it a little challenging to decide how I actually want to design this talk.

My main point I’ve decided on so far is how freaking complicated everything can be, the wide variety of factors that can influence how blood glucose will behave like hormones, differing insulin resistance at different times of day, carb/fat/protein ratios in food, exercise, insulin absorption, etc. And generally how many treatment decisions have to be made throughout the day. Mainly because these are things that pretty much everyone underestimates and I don’t expect them to be different in that regard. I’m considering talking about how tricky things were for my mom managing my diabetes when I was young, as well as how difficult the adjustment period was for my brother when he was diagnosed. I’m also trying to decide how to add in positives like the sense of community among diabetics and the positive character traits diabetes instills without sounding overly cheesy :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m wondering whether you guys have any other ideas for what I could put in my talk. If you were tasked with giving researchers an idea of life with T1, what would you want them to know?

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How long does the talk need to be?

I think that’s a good idea. This is one of the major differences with other diseases. Unlike other diseases, T1D can’t be treated with some ‘take your medication x times a day’ scheme. T1 doesn’t obey such rules and can differ so much from person to person.

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Interesting request since we know that any of us could talk for literally days about diabetes and not run out of topics. With that being said, I think you could start a section with a blank CGM graph axes and ask the audience what the ideal range to try to maintain your blood sugar in. Once they deliver their idea of “ideal” I would use a shaded area and fill in your range that you try and aim for. After a bit of discussion about your personal range, I would fill in a “good” day in the CGM graph, then annotate all the decisions you made int he day, being sure to include when you checked, because it isn’t enough to just highlight the decisions but rather the decision points. Then I would include a tough day, iand talk them through that including what it feels like to go from very high to normal, while finally giving them an idea of how many good and bad days you have. i.e. rough percentage. This then gives you a launching off point for the much more difficult discussion of all of the variables.

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I’ve been given no specific guidelines for this, and based on the lengths of presentations I’ve seen so far anything in the range of 10-30 minutes would probably be fine, I’ll probably try to make it somewhere around 15 minutes

Yeah definitely, I have found that my main issue here is not so much a lack of ideas but more the challenge of organizing them into something or deciding which ones will actually be worthwhile to tell them haha :sweat_smile:

I definitely like these ideas, and I think you’re right in that discussing real good and bad/hard days will make it easier to transition to the variables. I had been thinking of including a few of my Nightscout graphs from when I religiously logged all my treatment decisions so I’ll have to sit down and decide what ones to put in.

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My son and I visited my PhD adviser who had literally created a glucose sensor technology and run a diabetes business from startup through acquisition, and freaked out (in a good way) when I sent him a week of actual CGM graphs that were lightly annotated. So I know the feeling of educating those that know a lot, but have never had to manage it in real life.

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I don’t have any additional suggestions for your presentation, but I like those already mentioned, since as said, most people have no idea the challenges a T1D goes through every minute of the day in attempting to prevent lows and highs! Good luck with disseminating all your experience down-to a single presentation!! :wink:

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@glitzabetes as an exit to your talk, you could mention that with all today’ s technology and knowledge you are able to lead an “unlimited” life and not the death sentence that those diagnosed prior to 1960 were given (and quickly forgot, because - why, right?).

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One suggestion is to start with a quick quiz. These articles might help with ideas.

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