Shouldn't I Have "Mastered" Diabetes By Now?

Amylia Grace Yeaman Health Guide
  • I'm a wordie. A poet. Someone who cares deeply about language and how it's used. Words matter. The impact and importance of just the right word and how our word choice dictates how we're received is not lost on me. I can't control how you'll interpret these words, but that doesn't mean I stop trying to use the right ones.  So, too, with diabetes management. I know I can't get it right all the time, but, like you, I try hard anyway.


    Here's the thing:  we never stop trying to "get diabetes right," and yet we know we'll never get it right all the time. There are programs designed for diabetics with titles like "Mastering Diabetes," but true mastery of diabetes shall forever elude me. That doesn't mean mastery isn't worth striving for, but I have no illusions about being a "perfect diabetic," whatever that means. I live each day believing that I need be okay with never quite getting it totally "right."  That's like saying I've "mastered writing" or better yet, "mastered life."

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    Um, yeah. Not so much.
    Here's what I do believe:  We can master our conscious responses to diabetes and the curve balls it throws our way. We can insights, arm ourselves with knowledge and experience, and tweak our lives and choices to counteract the havoc diabetes throws our way.  We may not prevent every roller-coaster ride, but we can ride the ups and downs less often. We can grow more confident in our choices. As hard as it is to utterly control or master diabetes, I've got a lot at stake in this fight; it's important to do what I can to try and tame the beast.
    Much of that starts with mindset. Paying attention to my thoughts, emotions, and state of mind--things I think are often given too cursory a glance when it comes to the health and success of folks with diabetes (or any chronic illness)--is as important as managing my bloodsugars.
    My thoughts flit about, coming and going as they please, and this "monkey mind" won't go away. I observe it. I let it be what it is. I don't cling to the thoughts as much as I used to. So too with glucose levels.
    Don't get me wrong:  I pay attention. I tweak as necessary, but I don't attach heaps of meaning to every high or low bloodsugar. I know when a high or low bloodsugar is "earned" or not, but focusing too fiercly on my (imperfect) numbers and attaching thoughts to those digits gets me down. That just spoils the day, and I've let diabetes spoil enough good days. No more.


    Yes, I try to "tame" my diabetes, but I know I can't beat it into submission. I can let diabetes run wild and let diabetes control me, or I can take my tools and knowledge and tame the beast as best I can, all the while knowing one can't ever fully tame a wild animal.
    I don't know about you, but living with diabetes feels at times like living with a wild animal, a feral cat. I wish I could cage it and trap it for good, but I can't. And so I live with things the way they are. That doesn't mean I stop trying to make life better and make better choices. Sure, there are days when I throw in the towel, but in the long term, I've decided that just isn't an option for me.
    I've looked into it, and no good can come from throwing in the towel.

    Today, the best I can do for myself is accept diabetes as a fact of life for me, even as I fight for that reality to change. It may not happen in my lifetime, but then again, it might. In the meantime, just knowing I'm doing what I can in the ways I can matters.


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    It helps. What helps you when you're just having one of those days? When diabetes feels wild and mastery frustratingly elusive?

Published On: October 18, 2011