Which For You Requires More Strength?

July 21st, 2011 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

How do you define strength?  Is it in your ability to be disciplined and rigid?  Is it being flexible in the face of change?

Many of us find solace in the routines daily management of diabetes encourages.  Any change can throw our blood glucose levels for a loop and we therefore we learn to resent those unpredictable moments.

Does clinging to that routine cost us more than the routine provides?  Sometimes I think it does.

In the yesteryear of diabetes management, NPH and R shots required constant vigilance and attention to the clock.  Rigidity was mandated by the working life of the insulin we injected.

Dinner had to be served at 6:00 and snack had to be at 8:30.  Shots had to be injected between 5:30 and 6:00; it’s just how things were.

I think a lot of us have learned that eating the same amount of carbohydrates (not to mention the same exact food) at the same time of the day tends to give us what we all crave when it comes to managing our blood glucose levels: predictability.

Yet even with that predictable routine and rigid schedule, things change.  We can do the exact same thing at the exact same time every day for five weeks and achieve the same result only about 60%
of the time.

It’s maddening to say the least.

My personality doesn’t lend itself well to this kind of rigid schedule.  I would love it if I could, in a lot of
ways.  It might make things “easier” if I went to sleep at the same time every night and had dinner at the same time each day.

But that isn’t where I find myself.  My days aren’t routine and they haven’t been ever since I graduated high school and started taking classes held at different times on different days.  (For those mathematicians out there, half of my life.)

I had to learn how to be flexible when it came to my diabetes PDQ!  Thankfully, I started with my insulin pump around the same time as I graduated high school, so the Insulin Clock could eventually disappear from my brain.

I don’t miss that clock; don’t miss it at all.

Yet I see people on pumps still following those routines.  I see it in other people, too, who don’t live with diabetes.

It makes me wonder sometimes which one is more difficult: following a routine or being thrown a curveball and having to be flexible in dealing with the unexpected change.

Learning to live with the routines and the curveballs in my diabetes management has been a rough road; it’s one of the hardest things to explain to a non-diabetic friend.  I have to learn to be both as
disciplined as possible AND not get too upset when the random wacky results show up and I have to wrestle a new basal rate or meal bolus or exercise routine into “submission”. (ha!)

I think that ability to simultaneously be both the proverbial tall oak tree and the bending reed is rather an amazing source of strength in itself.

We do learn to live amazing lives with our diabetes, don’t you think?

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