Frank Greene*, a carpenter and avid outdoorsman, shares his experiences as a participant in a type 2 diabetes trial with Clinical Trials Canada magazine editor Saaqshi Sharma.
*Identity has been altered to protect patient anonymity
Saaqshi Sharma: When did you first know you had diabetes? What key symptoms did you notice?
Frank Greene: Now that I think about it, I didn’t really notice any symptoms besides some fatigue. I actually didn’t get a diagnosis right away; apparently I had been living with it for a while.
Saaqshi Sharma: After the diagnosis, how did your life change?
Frank Greene: Life didn’t change too drastically, I mean I am more cautious about my diet-no more sugar in my coffee, stuff like that. I have a Polish and German background, and I also have gout so I can’t indulge in foods like liver and sausage as much. I work in the film industry and sometimes we get gourmet catering and I get tempted to try everything, or they can’t always accommodate their menus. Besides that, not much has changed, I still canoe, ski, cycle and play darts. My biggest concern would have to be amputations with uncontrolled diabetes.
Saaqshi Sharma: So you seem to have coped with your condition quite well. Why the decision to participate in a trial?
Frank Greene: I actually think they’re really cool. I’ve always been interested in clinical research, drug companies, drug patents and things like that. I am really interested in medical science, and the compensation is also a plus. I saw an ad in the paper so I gave the clinic a call.
Saaqshi Sharma: That’s a very interesting answer. So this wasn’t the first trial you’ve participated in?
Frank Greene: No. I’ve participated in some phase I trials in the past that included some overnight stays. It was a good experience, aside from helping advance medical science I got to meet some interesting people.
Saaqshi Sharma: Has this current trial benefited your medical condition at all?
Frank Greene: Oh yes, I’ve learned a lot about diabetes. I have to say I am more attentive to my health. Before I started I was only checking my blood sugars 2-3 times a month. After joining the study, not only did I get my own monitoring device, but I also check my sugars much more often. I also keep a journal of the foods and snacks I eat and any exercise. I am more conscious now.
Saaqshi Sharma: So you would participate in another trial?
Frank Greene: Yes. I’m thinking about participating in a gout trial if I can make the time.
Saaqshi Sharma: Would you recommend clinical trials for other individuals with diabetes?
Frank Greene: If you can make the time, why not? The clinic has good people. It was a very good experience for me.