A New Year

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This is the second blog entry I wrote for this week. I’m scrapping the first one. You see, I watched a documentary on the “workings of the universe” and got myself inspired to write a flowing, philosophical post about the vastness of time and space, the insignificance of people, why we should all come together and get along… Not bad stuff, but after rereading it, I think it missed the mark.

That entry read like a long prose about grand concepts. And I thought that would be good for New Year’s — you know, dreaming big, looking ahead. But dreaming big is not a problem for me. It’s not a problem for most of us. We’re easily taken with sweeping concepts and grandiose dreams. We fall down in the details, in the mundane day-to-day reality of our lives.

And so I’m writing about details today. I’m writing about the nitty-gritty. Because that’s what diabetes is — it’s the nitty-gritty. Most people don’t have to worry about their blood glucose, because their body takes care of that FOR them. Not us. We have to occupy ourselves with a complex process going on constantly inside our bodies, at the cellular level. Forget the vastness of the universe, half of my attention is devoted to a process that would require a high-power microscope to observe!

Even if we DO talk about grand ideas and future plans, dreams and philosophy, these dreams are not where we live. We live in the moment. We live in the mundane, not the fantastical.

Do you have a wagon?
When the settlers were moving out west, they were propelled by imaginative dreams of what could be. But they got there one day at a time. The ones who made it were the ones who planned. The ones who made it were the ones with wagons in good shape, horses, supplies, and other highly UNromantic items of daily living. Propelled by just a dream with no means would have been a surefire way to starve to death halfway there!

Diabetes is our wagon. I have goals and dreams of where I hope to be in two years, five years, ten years. And it’s easy for me, as it is for most of us, to forget the daily details and focus on those dreams. But checking my blood glucose has a huge impact on whether those dreams can ever manifest. If I neglect my health today, if I blow off my diabetes care because it’s boring, because I’m “not feeling like it today,” because I’m feeling overwhelmed, it will be like heading west with a broken wagon. It won’t matter how many dreams I’ve got or what great opportunities are waiting for me on the other end of the trip. I won’t get there.

So, it being New Year’s, I thought I would take a moment to reflect on the details of the past year, in particular the details of how well I’ve managed my diabetes, and set some goals for 2014. Some boring goals. My first goal: Monitor more often. I’m not always as consistent with this as I should be. I monitor, but sometimes I’ll skip a premeal check because I’m feeling lazy, because it seems like a hassle. No more of that. I need to be aware of my blood glucose ALL of the time, not MOST of the time.

My second goal is to get some decent exercise. I know exercise helps my blood glucose control. I use less insulin when I’m regularly exercising, and my glucose is far less likely to spike. So it’s time to get more consistent.

My third goal: Stop eating what my blood glucose will “let me get away with” and start eating what my body actually needs. I won’t eat something without compensating with the appropriate amount of insulin, and I’m generally pretty good about eating within the bounds of what my blood glucose can handle. But my blood glucose can handle all kinds of fat, overabundance of calories, and lack of vitamins. I wrote a blog entry about this a while back, actually — about the tunnel vision that can set in with diabetes. I can focus so much on blood glucose that I forget that my general health and diet are just as important!

So, there you go. If I can follow those goals in 2014, my wagon will be in good shape. And I’ll have a chance at reaching those loftier goals I always dream about. Life is in the details, and that’s where I’ll put my focus! Happy New Year, everyone, and here’s to a successful 2014!

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