Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Week 2 at EVMS!

Monday(07/09)- It was a busy day but I loved it! My morning was spent with the certified diabetes educator meeting with diabetics who were having trouble managing their diabetes.  During the one on one meetings with the patients we discussed their blood sugars, eating habits, and lifestyle. For a diabetic, everything affects their diabetes and diabetes affects every aspect of their life. Eating a balanced diet with right sized portions can make managing diabetes much easier. For instance, when a diabetic eats something high in carbohydrates (cake,cookies,bread) if they pair it with a lean protein it will help balance their blood sugar. Therefore, they have fewer spikes in blood sugars. However, not only diabetics should eat like this. When a non-diabetic eats a lean protein with a carbohydrate in prolongs digestion and will keep them full longer.

In the afternoon, I went to maternal-fetal medicine to work with Dr. de Veciana. She was fantastic she taught me so much about how to communicate and learn from patients. She spoke to me about becoming a doctor and made me realize that maybe becoming a doctor rather than a nurse would be a better choice for me. I loved working with her because she was joyful and it allowed the patients to really loosen up and speak to her about their worries. I  enjoyed being able to hear so many stories some good and some bad. Although Dr. de Veciana taught me a lot, one thing she said that stood out to me is when she said that her patients teach her something everyday. This is so true, I feel as though I have learned more during these couple of weeks then I would have ever learned in a classroom. There is more to being successful than good grades it's being able to listen, understand and experience things from others. No one knows everything no matter how much education they have. "Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty."- Henry Ford

Thursday(07/11)- It was such an amazing day! I had the opportunity to talk to diabetic patients about their struggle with diabetes. I met with a patient who was having a hard time because she went into the hospital healthy and came out ill with a lot of new information about how to maintain her health. We both shared the same view on health. For instance, realizing that health is not guaranteed. Diabetes has made me realize that I must live the best possible life now, with good diet and exercise, so that I can prevent illness in the future. Everyday that I feel good and I am in good health is a good day because you never know what tomorrow will bring. The patient was feeling down about her health but she said seeing me in great spirits about living with this illness made her hopeful for her future. Another patient I met was fairly new to diabetes. She was a type 1 and having a hard time coping. The patient told me that after seeing her family live with type 2 she made sure to live a healthy lifestyle to avoid diabetes. However, as many know type 1 cannot be prevented like type 2 diabetes. Therefore, despite her best efforts she was diagnosed with T1D. She, like majority of us diabetics, stressed about her A1C and blood sugars. The patient was having a hard time bringing her A1C down and just wanted to give up. Hearing her stress reminded me of a time when I too was having a difficult time stabilizing my blood sugar and just wanted to give up. I felt this way until recently after speaking to other T1D's who made me realize that the number on the glucometer is there to help guide me to better manage my diabetes; it is not telling me that I am failing at taking care of my diabetes.  The only way we can fail at checking our blood sugar is when we do not check at all because then I would not learn how to keep more stable blood sugars. Blood sugars do not have to be perfect 100% of the time. If our blood sugars were perfect, while it would be nice, we would not learn. Having the expectation of perfect blood sugars is unrealistic and will only cause more stress. If you're a diabetic then you know stress will only hurt you more than help you. This is because stress raises blood sugars for those who do not know. Therefore, sit back take a breather and think what can I do differently next time. It may not work next time either, but it just allows us diabetics to learn what not to do. I like to think of diabetics as scientist we are constantly experimenting with our blood sugar trying to figure out what method of treatment best suits our diabetes. Everyday living with T1D is different and brings new experiences and life lessons. "Don't be afraid to fail. Don't waste energy trying to cover up failure. Learn from your failures and go on to the next challenge. It's okay to fail. If you're not failing, you're not growing." - H. Stanley Judge While I don't like the word fail because I do not think bad blood sugars means we are failing I do like the underlying meaning to this quote. This quote can really help those who struggle with blood sugar relax and realize it's okay for their blood sugars to not be perfect. Meeting with patients and hearing such positive feedback made my day amazing. I had the best day and it made me realize just how much I want and would enjoy a career in diabetes education. Now I have the decision of becoming either a certified diabetes educator (CDE) or an endocrinologist.

Friday(07/12)- Casual Friday! I got to wear jeans and sandals which is always nice. I worked with Jen and Sam the two girls who work in research. We started getting ready for RAM (Remote Area Medical) which is next weekend (very exciting!). For lunch we went out to a local restaurant called Bardo. They serve tapas so we  all ordered 2 or 3 things and shared. Luckily we are all vegetarian/vegan (what a coincidence!)  so sharing was easy.  Everything was very delicious and we had a great time relaxing away from the office. The waiter even told me as I was leaving, "I don't normally fraternize with customers but you are very cute." which is always a nice thing to hear!  Friday was a very fun and relaxing day before the weekend. :)

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