Amy Reeder, MS, RD, CDE is a dietitian and certified diabetes educator and is currently working as a Clinical Services Manager for Insulet Corporation, the makers of OmniPod. I worked with Amy at an endocrinology several years ago and still kept in touch through common patients. When I approached Amy about the Fakebetes Challenge she was game, fully interested in learning what it was like to live with diabetes for a week. Her only request was that she be able to wear an insulin pump during the challenge. She was paired with Allison Nimlos. Allison picked the day that Amy was diagnosed with “saline dependent fakebetes” (since in real life you can’t pick your diagnosis date).Throughout the challenge Amy and Allison kept frequent contact through text, exchanging blood sugar levels, food choices, exercise, etc. You learn about Allison’s experience being paired with Amy during the Fakebetes Challenge here. Below are Amy’s thoughts.
What was your overall impression about the Fakebetes Challenge?
My overall impression about the Fakebetes Challenge was that it was a wonderfully beneficial experience. While I could not experience the symptoms of low, high and in-target blood sugars, I was able to get a good sense of the amount of time it takes each day to be a person with diabetes – checking blood sugars, programming bolus delivery, counting carbs, measuring food, etc., etc. Those of us who do not have diabetes, but work with people with diabetes take for granted just what is involved in the day to day care of diabetes if we don’t try to immerse ourselves in it.
What did your friends/family/co-workers think about your participating in the Fakebetes Challenge?
My friends, family and co-workers thought it was a “cool” idea to try to live in the shoes of someone with diabetes to get a better sense of how to provide care to diabetes patients. And it gave me the opportunity to talk in greater detail about diabetes to friends, family and co-workers. It prompted questions from them and I think they gained a broader understanding of the disease as well!
What was the most challenging and most rewarding part of the Fakebetes Challenge?
The most challenging part of the challenge was treating my “lows” and taking the time necessary to do it right! The other challenge revolved around “highs” from a restaurant meal – waking at 4 a.m. to check my blood sugar is not something I am used to. But I know many patients face this challenge even daily. Another challenge was having all of the necessary supplies in the right place at the right time! You have to be very diligent and organized to have everything you need to manage diabetes at ALL times. Another challenge was trying to get the fingerstick for BG checks to hurt LESS. 🙂 I was grateful to be able to wear an Omnipod insulin pump because I think multiple daily injections would present even more challenges.
Who else should take the Fakebetes Challenge?
In my opinion, everyone who works with people with diabetes should take part in this challenge (MDs, NPs, PAs, educators, etc.)! One healthcare provider I work with said, “why would you do that?” when I mentioned what I was doing. I was shocked by that response – I can’t imagine not understanding why it would be important to walk in the shoes of a person with diabetes when you work with these patients every day. We need more empathy in this field, and this challenge is a way to instill it!
Thank you Amy and Allison for participating in the Fakebetes Challenge! If you are a healthcare provider or are a person living with diabetes and would like to participate in the Fakebetes Challenge please contact me.