Monday, October 29, 2012

Bad Diabetic?

A friend of mine has been struggling. His blood sugar has been higher than he likes. He called himself a "bad diabetic." That bothered me. Diabetes is hard to manage. Everything we do has an impact on our blood sugar numbers. Dealing with this all day every day is tough.

 That was my number on Sunday after eating breakfast. It wasn't what I wanted to see. Sometimes I feel like my best isn't good enough. Maybe if I dig deeper, push harder, try more, I can manage my diabetes perfectly. And I do better... for a while. I eat lower carbs. I eat more of the right things and less of the wrong things. My weight goes down. My energy goes up. I feel like I have a handle on things and then... And then I eat breakfast with a friend and munch on this and that.

I take my Dexcom out of my pocket. Dexcom buzzes 200 High. Mutter under my breath. Nudge Dexcom to alarm at 220, then 240, 260, 280, 300. Buzz! Buzz! Buzz! This is crazy. I 'm going to check my blood sugar. 305?!? Reach for my pump and enter my blood glucose number. Pump alarms, tells me my blood sugar is high, to check for ketones and monitor my blood glucose. As if I didn't know this. As if I didn't feel bad enough already. My technology beeps and buzzes the sounds of shame and failure.

But am I a bad diabetic?


I am a human. I am a human who is fallible and limited. Diabetes management requires an extraordinary commitment. An ordinary human being doing extraordinary things is going to struggle sometimes. Perfection is out of my grasp. There are too many variables that are out of my control. But, that doesn't mean I am doomed to fail. There are other grades between F and A, places between failure and perfection. Getting a B on a test is above average. It is good enough and then some. I can't attain perfection. I can reach for good enough and then some.

Most days my blood glucose is in target. Most days are good enough and then some. I don't believe there are bad diabetics. There are people who are struggling and vowing to do better. When I vow to do better, every setback becomes an invitation to shame and remorse. I promise to do better, fail to do better, kick myself for failing, and vow to try harder. This subtracts joy from my life and hope as well. Kicking myself for wrong choices has never helped me do better. Diabetes is painful enough. I don't need to knock myself down, too. 

Lately I have been traveling a different path. Vowing to pat myself on the back for every healthy choice adds joy to my life. Did I test before I ate? Good for me. Did I count my carbs accurately? Good for me. Did I bolus? Good for me. Did I take a walk? Good for me! Praising right choices leads to more right choices. This creates an atmosphere of celebration inside. Joy multiplies day by day. People wonder why I smile a lot. That is why!

So, to my dear friend who is kicking himself and promising to do better, stop. Be at peace. Look for the right choices you are already making and savor them. Then add another right choice. And another. Every step in the right direction deserves to be celebrated.You can heal and grow. I know you can. Your friendship is a treasure to me. Remember, I have your back. Always!


  1. This is so moving. We all need this kind of reminder to keep going. Thanks for the encouragement to work on mental health too...

  2. This is truly moving. Its so nice to be reminded that being good to yourself is okay. Thank you for the encouragement to work on mental health too...



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