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The Magic Number

Maryam Elarbi

February 9, 2012

Today I had a major lightbulb moment that made me reevaluate my entire perspective on what it means to be successful in terms of controlling blood glucose.

For nearly the past two years I have had this magic A1C number in my mind that I want to get down to and it has been absolutely impossible. No matter how early I prebolus, how many times I check, or how much I exercise, that number has remained out of my grasp. Earlier this evening, a diabetes marketing company did an interview with me to try and get some insight on what people with diabetes are looking for today, and at one point I was asked how I felt about my A1C.

I was honest when I said that it was fine; that it wasn’t the number I have been striving for, but that I was content. After responding, there was a follow-up question that completely caught me off guard. The man asked me what I would do if and when I got to the magic number and why it was so important. I had to take about a minute to sort through my thoughts in order to answer him.

The truth is, I don’t know what I would do. I have this moment of glory envisioned where I expect some sort of special VIP diabetes pass that says “You Did It!” or “You Win At Diabetes!” I’ve been so fixated on just getting to that number, I haven’t put any thought into what comes next. (Maintaining that number for instance.)

I believe that there needs to be a shift in thinking when it comes to how we look at our numbers. It shouldn’t be this sense of success or failure. I hate when I walk out of appointments disappointed in myself for not doing well enough as though I failed an exam. Everyone’s diabetes is different, and while there is a general range that we should strive to keep our sugars within, it’s unnecessary to compare how you’re doing with someone else.

Diabetes isn’t a competition, and we all need to do what is best for our bodies and what gets us to our healthiest. I have to remind myself that while it’s important to constantly work towards improvement, it’s also equally important to remember that my goal shouldn’t be viewed as a finish line but rather as a checkpoint along the way.

Having Type 1 diabetes can be exhausting, and when I sit and think about the fact that I could very well have it for the rest of my life, it’s pretty daunting. For my next appointment with my CDE and endo I’m planning on asking what a realistic range is for me and why, rather than getting a specific number to aim for.

At 18 years old, I’m finally at the point where I understand that “being good” at diabetes isn’t for my parents’, CDE’s, or endo’s approval. I’m accepting the responsibility that I need to take the best control of my diabetes for me. Though this change in perspective hasn’t drastically changed my actual blood glucose levels, it has changed the way I feel about my diabetes when it comes to appointments. A huge pressure has been lifted and rather than feel upset about the numbers, I’m motivated because I want to do what is best for me.



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