I am NOT a doctor, dietician or expert. Do I know everything there is to know about diabetes? Heck no, but I do know what it’s like to live with it.
Thursday, July 7, 2016
Numbers: They Lie
People with diabetes live their
lives with numbers; HbA1c, glucose meter readings, weight, lab results, etc. It
sucks, to be honest. But I noticed something this morning that made me stop and
think, that in a way, those numbers can lie to us.
Have you ever had one of those
days when you just felt “thin”? I am far from thin, but sometimes I just feel
skinny. I’m not bloated, I have energy, my clothes aren’t tight and I just feel
good! One of the worst things I can do on those days is to step on the scale,
but I often do. If the number on that scale doesn’t jive with how I’m feeling
then I can begin to feel bad. My mind tells me, “Who are you fooling? You’re
not thin!” Well, duh, I thought we’d already established the fact that I’m not
thin! But that darn number can begin to niggle at my good mood and bring me
This morning I feel thin and I
didn’t step on the scale! (Yeah me!) I started my coffee and stumbled into my
office to check my blood glucose, like I always do. 151 WHA??? I ate reasonably
last night, my fasting numbers have been slightly better than my normal lately
and now this? My good mood from feeling thin today vanished when I saw that
“I guess I’m not doing as well as I thought. Maybe I should step on the
scale and see for myself. Maybe I’ll eat ice cream and potato chips today. Why
Those may not be the actual
thoughts I had this morning but I’ve definitely had them before. One stupid,
unexpected number on my meter or the scale or a lab report can cause me to
doubt my ability to deal with this frickin disease.
I’ve been reading a bit about
depression and anxiety lately and one of the things I’ve seen over and over
again from people who live with those conditions is that they lie. Depression
lies (not the people who have it). It tells your brain things that just aren’t
true and can cause you to sink deeper into depression. I feel as if the numbers
we live with as people with diabetes lie to us as well.
These numbers are important and
we need to pay attention to them, but we shouldn’t let them control how we feel
about our progress. Our numbers are signposts. (Here’s where I shout out to Christel . She used this
idea of numbers as signposts at the Las Vegas UnConference this past spring.
Brilliant.) What does that mean? It means that the number on your meter is just
a sign of how things are going this minute. It’s not a judgement. It’s not any
indication that you’ve done something “wrong”. It’s just a number that helps
you make decisions about your diabetes care moving forward. The 151 on my meter
this morning shouldn’t taunt me and make me feel as if I’ve screwed up. It just
tells me to eat low carb today and drink lots of water and go for a walk. That’s
all. I still feel “skinny” and I won’t step on that scale!!
Think about this scenario: A
newly diagnosed PWD has an HbA1c of 10. Three months later that number has gone
down to 8. Wow! That’s wonderful news! However, if someone who knew nothing about
that person’s journey saw an 8 they might think that person wasn’t doing very
well. That 8 was lying to that outsider but it’s a great signpost for the
patient. They’re doing a great job!
They’re just numbers; numbers on
a scale or glucose meter, it doesn’t matter. Just. Numbers. Don’t let them lie
to you and cause you to feel any differently about how you’re doing. Go ahead;