This post is a part of a series “Watching My Blood Sugar Levels”. I intend to use short posts in this series to walk the readers through the initiative of using data to manage my Type I Diabetes condition. The content in this series is not expert opinion, it’s more of a documentation of my personal journey with this condition in the way how I understand it - Data.

In February 2021, I had to be admitted to the hospital on a case of Diabetic Ketoacidosis(DKA), a serious complication associated with Type I Diabetes. However I had never known I was diabetic prior to this. Enter chaos! To be very honest, it was very hard to come to terms with the diagnosis. I first blamed myself, then shifted the blame to “fate”. Stability was something my mind had lost all contact with and negativity engulfed my every thought.

Fast forward to a couple of days, I was much better than before. It is useless to fight the truth, so I was better off accepting the condition and opening my thoughts to the useful suggestions from the absolutely amazing nurses and doctors of the NHS, UK. The support provided by my family and friends too was extremely important to help me get over the melancholy I had withdrawn into.

The Challenges A Newly-diagnosed Type I Diabetic Faces

I can’t generalize this for all newly-diagnosed diabetics. But based on the conversations with my doctors and my own experience, I understand a few main challenges we face are

  • Accepting the condition
  • Deciding on dietary alterations
  • Understanding how blood sugar levels change
  • Understanding insulin administration

The last three challenges can effectively be understood with the help of “data”. So, these are the topics that interest the analyst in me.

Towards An Analytical Solution

In order to know more about how to live well with diabetes, I need a system that will help me track my blood sugar levels as well as what I am eating. Turns out there is medical software that can help achieve this goal.

I would love such software, but not now. Here is the thing - I don’t want to rely too much on software before I completely understand what I am dealing with here. I rather build my own little system to achieve my purpose. Building my own system can also offer me the benefit of learning, both about diabetes as well as product building.

So, here is what I decided I wanted - A system that automates analysis on my blood sugar level data, meal data and help me see what’s working and what’s not and thus help me slay the type I life

A Methodology To Initiate Work On The Project

I am a BIG FAN of methodologies. I personally believe in the idea that having a good methodology in place ensures that you get at least one thing correct in your project - reproducibility even if your outcome is not what you expected.

For this project, I decided to use a methodology characterised by the following steps:

  1. Framing my problem
  2. Eliciting requirements
  3. Deciding on what the MVP will include
  4. Making a rule book for data collection with a focus on maintaining quality
  5. Building a (simple)design document
  6. Designing the architecture of the system and on how data will flow through each component
  7. Choosing the tech stack
  8. Build a prototype
  9. Test
  10. Iterate till I am happy

That’s it for the first post in this series. Stay tuned for the next update!