Sunday, January 8, 2012

Why Do I Test?

People with Type 1 diabetes need to test their blood glucose several times a day.  It’s the same for people with Type 2 who use insulin.  Newly diagnosed folks should test often to determine how different foods and exercise affect their bg.  People whose glucose control isn’t what it should be will also test more often.  None of these scenarios currently describe me, so why do I test?  The short answer is; I’m afraid not to.

I’ve been at this for over 6 years.  My latest A1c was really good (yay me!).  I don’t use insulin.  Considering all these things it should be obvious that I could safely give my fingertips a break and stop testing all the time, but I just can’t stop.  Even though my A1c was good it doesn’t mean that my day-to-day readings are peachy all the time.  In fact, just recently I’ve been seeing high morning numbers again.  I know why; it’s no mystery.  A decent A1c has no correlation to how I’m doing each day.  I could have some whopping high numbers (for me) and then some fairly low ones to off-set. The A1c is just ONE tool in my tool belt. I need to keep those high numbers under control and the only way I know to do that is to know that they exist.  If I don’t test, how will I know how I’m doing?

It’s too easy to become complacent and think, “Wow, I’m really doing well!  I should give myself a break.  I should glide along like I’ve been doing and feel good about myself.”  I know myself too well and am smart enough to realize that if I was to go down that path I’d eventually blow it completely.  I can’t take that chance.

Diabetes still feels like this ugly monster that’s lurking out there somewhere, waiting to rob me of my old age; waiting to take my feet and my eyes and ruin my healthy heart.  If I don’t pay close attention to that monster it might just win the battle.  I’m sorry, but that ain’t gonna happen!  Knowledge is my best defense.  Education is my best offense.  

I’m someone who needs reassurance.  I need a reason to celebrate and a push to stay on track.  Testing does that for me (and so does blogging).  I pay for my own test strips and don’t bother with insurance, therefore it’s no hassle.  I can stop whenever I want.  I sound like I’m addicted don’t I?  Well, I guess I am.  I’m addicted to knowing just how I’m doing with this beast.  I’m addicted to feeling like I have some control.  I’m addicted to the idea that what I do makes a difference.  This is my diabetes and this is how I choose to deal with it.    I will test as often as I like even if it isn’t “necessary”.  This is still a free country, right?


  1. As a type 1 myself, I still find it puzzling how anyone (regardless of diabetes type) can really be managing diabetes effectively without a roadmap (and by that, I mean what your current blood glucose readings are). I also look at it as a number but one which guides my future actions in terms of managing diabetes. Sadly, I am troubled by the fact that insurance companies, Medicare, Medicaid and SCHIP programs (in the U.S.) and many provinces in Canada are trying to restrict access to testing supplies with arbitrary quantities for people with type 2 which cannot be adjusted by doctors. If public policy officials are being honest about addressing diabetes, placing such limitations is not the way to save a few bucks, because the long-term costs in terms of medical expenses incurred for poor management, as well as the tremendous cost in human health and well-being is surely worth a small investment today. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this issue!

  2. Well said!! Information is power, and without testing we don't have the information we need.

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