Please note, that these are my thoughts relating to this. I’m not saying celebrating numbers is a bad thing- I’m saying that I wish we celebrated other things as well.
I want to focus on my life and all the ins and outs- not just the number. I want to be person-centered and not number-centered.
Now I’m not talking the theory/therapy from social work/therapy exactly here, but it applies/relates.
But one day- I was talking about how there is such a focus on numbers in diabetes, and I wish it wasn’t the main focus. I wish that the person- that we- were the focus first. And… ya know…? Maybe if we put more focus on the person first that would have an impact on numbers. While thinking about this- the idea of number-centered vs. person centered came to mind.
I’m grateful for something. I’m grateful for what we celebrated at Camp Kudzu. Golden Syringe (now Golden Kudzu) Awards were about trying something new or getting past a challenge. It wasn’t about the number on the meter or someone’s A1C.
The celebrations are about checking your blood sugar for the first time, a new pumpsite location, using a longer pen needle, facing the scary looking one time lancets, or helping someone else. (The list goes on).
I’m also grateful for my health-care providers- who pushed the message that it’s just data- there are no “good” or “bad” blood sugars in diabetes. (I will be quick to correct if someone states that it’s good or bad or if they ask if it is). 7 year old me would be quick to say it, and I still am quick to say it.
Children understand good or bad. and facial expressions. I would take responses and reactions in, and adjust my behavior. I’m a people pleaser and don’t want anyone to be upset- which was even worse as kid.
I didn’t want someone to say a number was good or bad- because that would also mean I was good or bad- my how the mind works…
It’s just data, right? The data we use for next steps in diabetes.
Social media- it’s where we share the best versions of our selves. This applies to diabetes. The lowered A1C, the straight line, etc. I constantly see celebrations of numbers- blood sugars and A1Cs- from people with diabetes and their caregivers. But we only see certain ones and without any background.
Yes, those can be exciting.
But it skews what we see online- we need more “shitty graphs” please (Thanks Kim!) Only posting the “good numbers” can make another person feel bad about their care (I’m not saying to walk on eggshells- but there’s so much of one thing to look at). I want to hear about everything you did to put it that way. All the hard work and time and steps. I want to congratulate you on that!
I saw someone post their 8.5 a1c, and she was so proud and shared all of the work she had done to get it down. That’s what I want to see. Not the comments and judgement saying how awful of an A1C that is.
What if something happens in life that might impact it? What if something else is going on in life– on the inside and the outside? But it’s missed because it’s only about the numbers. (Wait- that happens all the time).
I want to see real life. I want to hear about all of that work you do. I’ve been called brave for sharing my CGM graph in the middle of a room because the lines weren’t straight- but why is that brave? Isn’t it life?
I want to see more celebrations about:
- Changing lancets
- Trying something new- diabetes management or maybe something that wasn’t diabetes related exactly- but impacts it or plays a role too. (going on a hike, traveling, first sleepover, a 1/2 marathon, etc)
- Figuring out those carb counts- like pizza- heyyyyyy
- A new pumpsite location
- Scheduling an appointment on your own for the first time
- Remembering to refill prescriptions
- Just making improvements in general
- Having that roller coaster BG, adjusting, and living life anyways.
- But also- recognizing when you might need to take a break.
- Rotating pumpsites
The list goes on! But also- non-diabetes celebrations!
I’ll never post a straight line or share my A1C online. I get asked often. It’s my personal data, and I want to share real life- not just the numbers in diabetes. Yes- they are a major part of it. But there’s more to it than that.
I’m not saying it’s bad- but I’m saying maybe be aware. What we say matters. (Especially when it comes to children and teens).
Diabetes- well chronic illness in general- is hard. It’s constant. So it’s important to give yourself some credit– and to celebrate just about anything- including the little things. It can also include numbers, but more honest numbers and other things (pretty please).
So what if the mindset was about being person-centered and not number-centered? What kind of world would that be? What kind of lives would we have?
Hey you! Yes, you!
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