Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Pandora's Box of Numbers

I have something that's hidden away in a Pandora's Box. I'm going to keep it to myself because it belongs there. It's not that it's really any big secret. Not really. Some people share, and that's okay. My doctor knows all about it. I share it with my husband. And the Ministry of Health knows about it because they ask me to report it every year, because my insulin pump funding depends on it. 

Sure, I'll openly and probably overshare at times all about my fears, my anxieties and my successes. But the one thing that I won't share is my HbA1c. Again, not because it is in and of itself any big secret, but it brings out the worst in me. 

Click on image to find out more about
the 6th Annual Diabetes Blog Week
If you have diabetes, you know all about this number. This three-month blood glucose average represents a guidepost; a line in the sand that we jump over. Sometimes it's a personal goal. Our doctors gauge our successes, or our failures, to comply. (Comply? Don't even get me started).

Assertions at best, or judgments at worst are based on this number. To me, no matter how much I rationally know that I'm not judged on this number, it makes me feel bad when I don't reach my goal. It tells me that I've failed, even though many assure me that it is 'just a number' and that 'you are not defined by your number'. The reason I feel this way? In the 27 years that I've lived with diabetes, I have not once had an A1c considered ideal. I've had them go a little up, even down, but it's never quite right. 

An A1c is a moment in time. It doesn't tell the story about my efforts, my good days or my bad, and it certainly doesn't call out my successes. My 8.0 may have been coloured by sickness, or perhaps a series of free-wheeling low blood sugars chased by a bunch of stubborn highs.

When I see someone's 6.0, I'm happy, really I am, because it is a success. But by the same token, I don't know the whole story - your story. But when I see it, deep down inside I feel a pang of envy. I don't want to feel that way. It's just the kind of crazy thoughts that doesn't help anyone. So that will be my secret that I will keep in my Pandora's Box - envy, and its friend the HbA1c. 

So I won't share my A1c. I don't want anyone to feel bad because of their number, just as I don't want anyone to feel like I'm bragging about mine. I don't know your story. It's a funny thing - the same number can represent a success to some, while to others it represents a challenge. So it's best to leave it in that Pandora's Box.

I want to celebrate the real things. I want to celebrate real successes - like a Good Diabetes Day, or perhaps help you celebrate your successes, whatever they might be. 

In the meantime, I will keep it to myself, and just continue to do the Very Best That I Can.

We can change the face of diabetes. We can do it many ways, including supporting, or even participating in the TELUS Walk to Cure Diabetes

Let's change the direction of change by participating, supporting a family member, or any one of our T1D friends, or at least share the word with others. If you live somewhere else, look up your JDRF chapter and find out what they are doing, to make living life with diabetes just a bit better for all of us. 

This Walk raises critical funds for research focused on curing, treating and better preventing Diabetes. I am all about that! 

And is it a fit? I'll let you figure that part out, and I'll just continue writing, and hope what I share with you here gives you something to reflect on. 

1 comment:

  1. My thoughts exactly. We can all try and pretend to not be jealous or judgmental, but the only way to truly prevent it - with ourselves as well as others - is to not present anything to be jealous or judgmental about.