Skip to main content

Nerdy April Needs YOU!

Wow. I have been stressed-to-the-max lately, mostly due to working my grad school capstone proposal through the widgets and attempting to get it approved. Ugh...its been exhausting!

But, I have some great news to report: my grad school capstone proposal has been APPROVED! And there's more to it than just that.

I had written a **very** rough draft of my proposal in a previous class and the instructor thought it was a viable project, so I decided to beef it up a bit and present it to my capstone professor. The title? EVALUATING THE FEASIBILITY AND SAFETY OF TYPE 1 DIABETIC ASTRONAUTS. Cool huh? I thought so. It turns out my professor also thought so, which was a bit of a shock to me. My degree will be in Aeronautical Science so I thought he might not understand the issue of certifying medically imperfect astronauts, but I tried anyway. It turns out his wife is a Type 1 and he became very interested in my project. During our phone interview he told me most students just do the minimum, they pick an easy topic, like the FAA’s NextGen program, UAVs, or advanced cockpit systems. “But,” he said, “this topic is new and different. You will be a pioneer in this area. This could turn into a big deal.” I was absolutely floored.

After my professor approved my proposal (it took about 5 re-writes), he had to send it to another professor in the UK for approval. In another twist of fate, the UK professor approved my proposal upon the first submittal and replied, “My son is a Type 1. If it is ok with you (meaning my professor), I would like to read April’s capstone once you have graded it. This is important, I would be willing to support independently if needed.”

My professor replied that the UK professor has never asked to read anyone’s project after it has been submitted and that he usually doesn’t approve proposals on the first submittal. Hurray! It also turns out the UK professor is a statistician and has published two papers on measurement of the hemoglobin A1c. AHHHHH!! How did this happen to me? I feel completely blessed, maybe this is the plan…maybe this is why I was diagnosed with Diabetes in the first place.

 I don’t have any research money, so I can’t really complete my own research studies, therefore I will be relying on previously collected data and expert interviews to prove Type 1 Diabetics can function in space and what testing will need to be completed prior to spaceflight.

This is how you can help!

If you, or a T1D you know has been able to control the A1c level below 6.0 for a period of time (3+ months) please send me a quick e-mail at: nerdyapril@gmail.com I won’t have a large enough population to actually send out a “survey” and complete statistics, so I am completing an e-mail “interview” (really, it’s going to be more like a survey). You can choose to be anonymous in my paper or not. The idea is trying to correlate these months of very tight control to the tight control a T1D astronaut would need to examine the psychological effects (if any) of maintaining this level of control. I could really, really use your help…and future T1D astronauts will thank you. I am working on a compressed timeline, so I am planning to send out the interview questions this weekend, and you can complete them by next weekend. Thank you in advance!

Comments

  1. Although I can't help you in the realm of lower-than-6.0-A1c (honestly it's never been lower than that) I am psyched about your project and would also like to read it when you're done. Biomedical engineer in training, I did once want to be the first person on Mars, I guess I could still make it...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow! WOW! Did the stars ever align for you or WHAT! *high-five* This has to feel good! The Big Guy has a plan for you, Mrs. April!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ooh! And another thought - I bet you can find a fair number of people who had super tight A1C's for a long time by reaching out to any diabetes & pregnancy resources!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'll double check with my endo next time I'm in, but I think Scott has the key. I'm pretty sure I was below 6.0 for a large part of my pregnancies. My name is Claire, and I can send you contact info if you'd like. What a brilliant idea, future astronauts thank you greatly!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I caught Scott's tweet today and spread the word as well via Twitter (@jeanne_eckman), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/FacingDiabetes) and on Facing Diabetes (http://facingdiabetes.blogspot.com/) itself. I am T2D so I can't help with your study but hope that helps a bit! Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I would also contact folks from Insulindependence and Team Type 1. I'm sure there are a few athletes under 6%.

    ReplyDelete
  7. This is totally awesome!!! btw, back when I was working out like a fiend and was a certified and bonafide "Brick House," my a1x was 6 .0 - And I looked like a 10!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Congrats!! My A1C was under 6 for about a year but that was 8 years ago. I can send you the data if you want it, please let me know, cherise@diabetessocmed.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi, I emailed you! I've had an A1c below 6 since Dec 2010. Hoping I can help with whatever you need :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Congrats! Way to go! Wish I could help, but the lowest I've ever gotten mine is 6.8%

    ReplyDelete
  11. This is awesome. I'm emailing you now!!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Best of luck April! Laura K

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Who has two thumbs and loves comments? Nerdy April!!! Type one out and hit publish!

Popular posts from this blog

The road to curing Type 1 Diabetes

From the moment of diagnosis, the road is rough, the learning curve is steep and the stakes are literally life or death. The map is less-than-helpful - paths originating from virtually every corner, coalescing at a center point (aka "diagnosis") and bursting back outwards - some paths cross and wrap around each other but others are isolated. And even with all of these roads, most of the territory is uncharted - how did we all get here and how will we all exit? Where are the obstacles we haven't found yet? Which passage holds the key to unlocking the solution? On any given day I feel pretty isolated with this disease - I'm the only T1D in my group at work, the only one in mission control, the only one in my family. I go through the logistics of calling insurance companies, ordering supplies, changing sites and troubleshooting malfunctions mostly on my own. Even those pesky carbs really only get counted in my brain, no group think for a meal bolus here. But there i

The Diabetes Transportation System DTS-T1

I was looking forward to the Space Shuttle launch on Monday, then it was pushed to Wednesday and now it is scheduled for Thursday due to several electrical issues from a main engine computer controller. Ironically, our little MH-47G (due to start testing on Monday originally) has been having it's own issues and it is still unclear exactly when we will start testing. And all of this uncertainty, schedule changes, and issue-working reminds me of my little friend Diabetes [come on, you knew that was coming :-)]. Even with hard work, super awesome bolusing skills [ check out Holly's blog today, the number crunching is very impressive] and constant blood sugar checks, Diabetes can still be unpredictable, necessitate schedule changes, and cause the carrier to work through the issues. I have been lucky today, even after a late-night cocktail last night, I woke up this morning at 112, and before lunch I was an amazing 113. I love being steady like that, cruising along with hardly an

What it's really like being a woman engineer in 2020

Today is International Women in Engineering Day (#INWED)! This year marks a full decade since earning an Aerospace Engineering degree, launching my journey as a woman engineer. So, what does it feel like as a woman engineer today, in 2020?  It probably comes as no surprise that women are still the minority in most engineering fields, mine included. The real statistics? At my first job out of college , women made up 10% of my group and that percentage came from only one woman: me. There were a handful of other women scattered throughout the rest of the organization but it was probably around 10% at best. I relied solely on men to teach me how to interact with military officers, when to speak up in meetings, how to don and doff flight gear and talk on the radio, how to avoid red-out during aerobatics, how to take engineering notes during night flights, how to setup and run data, how to run a pre-flight and post-flight briefing, how to conduct myself at customer sites, how to layer up an
01 09 10