The December topic for the DSMA blog Carnival is Out with the Old, In with the New – Diabetes Style. With this topic, anything goes. Maybe you have a diabetes habit you want to break and replace with a new habit. Perhaps you are going to revamp your exercise plan and trade in an old workout routine for a new one. It could be time to put a new focus on yourself, such as limiting some online advocacy in favor devoting time to things you need to stay healthy and happy. You might be thinking of changing up some current tools (meters, pumps, diabetes apps) for a new version. Or maybe you have plans to make some food swaps or try a new eating plan. What ever it is, we want to hear about it!
“Always” and “Never” are two words that are x-rated in my diabetes vocabulary. They are absolutes at opposite ends of the spectrum of possible outcomes for every diabetes decision that I make. They give the illusion that I can expect the same results day after day from identical input or that there is a reward for good decisions and a predictable punishment for bad decisions. They are black and white when most of my life is lived in gray. They have voodoo magical powers that the mere utterance of the word is guaranteed to make the “never” thing happen and the “always” thing not happen. They are the Harry Potter-ish words that like Lord Voldemort “must-not-be-named”.
So instead of saying always or never, I tend to phrase my experiences, expectations, and advice with the words “usually” or “sometimes” or “once in a while”. The aim of my diabetes regimen is to do things that work most of the time. Sometimes that means that my breakfast insulin dose yields an in-range result on 7 out of 10 days. Two days I go crazy high and one day I end up chomping glucose tabs to fight persistent lows. Sometimes that means that although I am intellectually committed to a lower-carb lifestyle, I make less-than-optimal decisions and have two bowls of ice cream after dinner. Sometimes that means that I can have a day of high blood glucose readings that seemingly have nothing to do with food, insulin, exercise, pump sites, or anything under my control.
Along the lines of always and never, I avoid making New Year’s resolutions or even pledges to forever change my behavior. As the beneficiary of good insurance, I currently own what I consider the latest and greatest medical devices with a pump and Dexcom G4. I am anxiously awaiting the Animas Vibe, but that is in the hands of the FDA and totally outside of my control. One of my strengths is that I seem to be able to wake up each morning with the aim of doing my best and then not drown in guilt over my daily imperfections. My diet is a work-in-progress and my goals for 2014 will be a mirror of my daily hopes in 2013 to do a little bit better than yesterday.
Some people look at the advent of a new year as a clean slate to start anew, change habits, and re-invent yourself. I think in smaller blocks. Every day is a new day. Every hour is a new hour. Every minute is a new minute. If I look back a few years or decades, I can see that I have changed. My diabetes technology has improved along with my types of insulin, diet, and social support. But there is no single moment when these changes happened. It is all a blur and a morph from this to that.
In summary, although I hate to use the forbidden words, I ALWAYS hope that I can end each day knowing I tried my best and that my best will be sufficient to keep me healthy for many more years of Type 1 Diabetes. And I hope that I will NEVER be less than supportive and appreciative of my many online and offline friends who share my sweet and pancreas-impaired journey through life. This year and next year and the next year.