I have Type 1 Diabetes.
Since being diagnosed in 2000, I have been thinking like a pancreas and managing my own blood sugar homeostasis, constantly working to keep my levels within an acceptable range. Maintaining this balance is a full-time, around-the-clock, juggling act of food eaten, insulin administered and exercise (or lack thereof) completed. Other factors, such as hormones, stress, excitement and the occasional bout of illness, throw in extra curveballs. Some days the peaks and valleys of diabetes can feel like a rollercoaster.
Finding My Range
I awoke this morning to find that my blood glucose graph from the past 24-hours a frustrating, challenging 24-hours, I might add was downright awful. I was just about to get down on myself when I saw a familiar mountain range mapped out in my blood sugar readings on my insulin pump, the device I use to administer my insulin and track blood sugar levels. It was the Three Sisters.
I immediately thought of that guy who found the outline of the Virgin Mary in the golden brown hues of his breakfast toast. I had heard he sold the slice for $28,000 on eBay. Realizing my chances were slim at selling a Canmore-themed medical chart anomaly, I got to thinking of other value that could be gleaned from this coincidence.
Peaks and Valleys
We all strive to find balance in our lives: an acceptable range, equilibrium in time spent with family and friends, working to pay the bills, playing outside in the backcountry, pursuing our passions and tending to life’s necessities.
Everyone has challenges to face, overcome, and learn from be they physical, emotional, psychological, tangible or perceived. I am accustomed to seeing the peaks and valleys of my greatest personal challenge laid out clearly on my blood glucose charts every day.
What if everyone had the opportunity to see their lifes ups and downs graphed on chart paper?
What would their ranges look like? The Rockies? The Bugaboos? The Coast Mountains? The plains of the Prairies?
Diabetes is a never-ending climb, where success is rewarded by the opportunity to start all over again the following day. However, with a do-my-best attitude and by celebrating small successes, I keep my energy and spirits up for the undulating landscape ahead.
Perfection is exhausting. Cruising this roller coaster for the past decade, I’ve learned to set my need for perfection to the wayside and instead focus on doing my best each and every day. My best looks different depending on what I’m doing, where I am and what’s happening in my life at the time.
Celebrate Small Successes
Today, my crappy blood sugar levels transformed into something beautiful. Instead of feeling like a bad diabetic, I suddenly felt like an artist! I took my Three Sisters blood glucose graph as a sign that I am where I am supposed to be (here, in Canmore!), doing what I am supposed to be doing. I’ve found that by celebrating the times when my blood sugars are good and by finding humour where I might otherwise only find frustration, I’ve been able to consistently overcome the disheartening readings that often appear on my screens and charts.
Exploring life’s peaks and valleys is all part of the process of finding our range. Besides, as we all know living here in the mountains, flat is boring.