A Silent Disease? Not Exactly.

Over the past couple of decades, I’ve heard people refer to Diabetes as a “silent disease”, or some such nonsense. I’ve also heard the same phrase attributed to high blood pressure, but this is a diabetes blog, so that’s what I’m talking about here.

It’s strange how our minds get warped by numbers, and then by what those numbers mean, real or imagined. Our lives are consumed by it because our lives depend on it.

Our minds are constantly filled with numbers: Blood glucose, insulin on board, grams of carbohydrates, insulin to carb ratios, hemoglobin A1c, and oh yeah, our weight.

We calculate and pre-bolus and super bolus and correct and exercise and try to eat healthy to keep our numbers in a good range. To be “compliant” (don’t get me started). Heck, just to feel good.

When those numbers aren’t so great, we feel that too. We feel sluggish, thirsty, ready to run off to the loo at a moment’s notice. We also feel concern, worry that we’ll develop complications because we had a bad diabetes day today, and a bad day a couple of days ago, and another one last week. Still, we have to ignore it. Close the box. Turn off the noise. Forget about it. Because another day is here to be lived, and if we want to live it well, we have to concentrate on the here and now and try our damndest to avoid the issues that tripped us up yesterday.

If we do that, and we put a few good days together, maybe a week, what do we have? A week’s worth of good numbers. And absolutely no guarantee that last week’s efforts will help us this week. Still, the numbers and what they represent pound inside our heads, invading the silence. Always with us.

Some PWDs have doctors who look at all of the data and pontificate, prescribe, and prognosticate. They want us to maintain tight glycemic control for 90 days, then explain in 15 seconds or less why we were unable to do so since the last appointment. Even if there’s no explanation. Or a really good one that proves that sudden spike last week wasn’t our fault. More to listen to.

There are good numbers sometimes, to be sure, but the feeling I get from a well-earned 98 mg/dL is always counterbalanced by the knowledge that my endocrine system will require at least the same amount of effort to keep that number in the same place tomorrow. There is no Bank of Blood Glucose to draw from when the same efforts fall short and result in an undeserved 198. We don’t have diabetes batteries to charge up so we can use them to power us when we’re diagnosed with complications.

I’ll admit that because I write and post here, I think more than I should about what it looks like if everything isn’t great with my BG or my A1c or my weight. On the surface, that may sound crazy– why worry about what someone else thinks about something so personal to me? But, in a way, I like holding myself accountable to my readers (both of you). If I can’t always be successful, I want to be sure that at least you know I’m trying hard and not making excuses. More to think about. More noise.

In the final analysis, I try to live the best I can with diabetes every day, on a day by day basis. Regardless of how things are today… when tomorrow comes, I do what I can to forget about the past. Yesterday is only a reference point. I will do everything I can today to live well, by whatever definition that is on that day. By doing so, I enjoy what I have without worrying too much about things I can’t change anymore.

And it’s the only way I can drown out the diabetes noise.
 
 
 

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Comments

  • Scott K. Johnson  On July 2, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    Brilliant post, Stephen.

    Like

  • Scott E  On July 3, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Agreed. I’ve heard diabetes referred to as “The Silent Killer” (sorry to use that last word in there) — it was even in a rap video I saw not too long ago. It didn’t make sense to me for so many reasons. Once you know it’s there, it makes its presence known all the time.

    Like

  • xxlovelylizxx  On July 3, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    This is a very encouraging post! I think I’ve only ever referred to Diabetes as an invisible disease when it comes to others (Non-Diabetics) They don’t see all that this entails sometimes. Your words were spot on though. Thank you.

    Like

  • Laddie  On July 4, 2013 at 11:16 am

    Great post, Stephen, and reminder to all of us to live each day to the fullest and to quit using our numbers as a measure of the day.

    Like

  • Laddie  On July 26, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    Once again a great post, Stephen.

    Like

  • Reva  On July 30, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    “Yesterday is only a reference point. I will do everything I can today to live well, by whatever definition that is on that day.”

    I love that. It’s so easy to get caught up in what happened yesterday that I sometimes forget to focus on what I can do right now, today. Thanks for that reminder.

    Like

    • StephenS  On July 30, 2013 at 8:01 pm

      Reva, I get the same way. So I have to remind myself of that line over and over sometimes. Thanks for the comment!

      Like

  • Katie  On July 30, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    This is wonderful, very much enjoying your posts.

    Like

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