What I Had to Learn About Living with Diabetes

I may not look like it today, but I have to admit that I used to be obsessive about a lot of things in my life. I mean obsessive.

Whether it was something I was trying to master for work, or while I was competing in an athletic endeavor (something I still do occasionally), I was pretty intense in trying to perfect everything I did, and criticizing myself endlessly when things didn’t go my way.

Part of the reason for that is probably the fact that I’m at the tail end of the baby boomer generation, the group of kids who all grew up being told we could be the greatest at anything we tried, as long as we beat the other guy doing it.

But then, a funny thing happened. Diabetes happened.

Diabetes is not egalitarian. It doesn’t care how hard you work at it, and it certainly doesn’t care how much you care about being healthy. It’s ready to disappoint you when you least expect it… middle of the night, on your weekend away, right at the beginning of that big presentation at work.

Even when I obsess over everything having to do with my blood sugar, sometimes diabetes won’t cooperate anyway. I can be “compliant” as hell, but the numbers won’t always reflect it. And there’s nothing I can do about that.

That’s one of the biggest things I’ve learned about living with diabetes for almost 28 years. There are no absolutes. No guarantees. Nothing is certain, except that tomorrow, I’ll still be living with diabetes, and I will still be a slave to my numbers.

Diabetes has taught me not to trade in absolutes. It’s taught me that there are no perfect days. It’s taught me that if I work harder today, I’ll still have to work harder tomorrow. And the next day. There are no rest breaks.

It hasn’t been easy. My brain is hard-wired to find a solution and implement that solution whenever possible. But through age, experience, or a combination of the two, the synapses of my brain are being re-wired to look for solutions, work on those solutions, and sometimes be okay with a less than satisfactory result.

Of course, being a slave to my numbers means I have a better chance at diabetes success from day to day. At the same time, I’ve also learned that at any given moment, I may have to remind myself that I’m just doing the best I can.

And that’s good enough.

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  • Rick Phillips  On January 15, 2019 at 9:22 pm

    I agree 100%. I love winning when I do something. Set my mind to it, work until I get it done and go on. Diabetes is not that thing. No matter how hard I try, guess what, I cannot get this 100% right. Diabetes is the great equalizer.

    Liked by 1 person

  • n1iwr  On January 31, 2019 at 1:12 pm

    I’m a baby at this D game, as I call it, compared to all of you veterans!! I call it a game or a dance cuz that’s what “managing” feels like to me!! U describe it perfectly Steve!! It seems no matter how hard I try at “managing” this beast, it has a mind of its own & will throw me a curve ball especially when I feel like maybe I’ve gotten a handle on it!! Keep up your hard work even when the results aren’t what you’d expect!!

    Liked by 1 person

  • n1iwr  On January 31, 2019 at 1:16 pm

    I’m a baby at this D game or dance, as I call it, compared to you veterans!! U described it perfectly!! It seems no matter how hard I try to “manage” this beast, it throws me a curve ball at every opportunity it gets, esywhen i think that maybe I’ve got a handle on my numbers!! Keep up your hard work!!! We need u around to help us navigate this crazy D world!!

    Liked by 1 person

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