Secret number

Note: Day 2 of DBlogWeek. Many of us share lots of aspects of our diabetes lives online for the world to see.  What are some of the aspects of diabetes that you choose to keep private from the internet?  Or from your family and friends?  Why is it important to keep it to yourself?  (This is not an attempt to get you out of your comfort zone.  There is no need to elaborate or tell personal stories related to these aspects.  Simply let us know what kinds of stories we will never hear you tell, and why you won’t tell them.) (Thank you Scott E of Rolling in the D for this topic.)”

number-70828_1280When I started blogging about diabetes, I decided that I will not divulge my blood glucose and A1c numbers. I will talk about trends in my blood glucose, results of exercise and food on my BG, and lessons learned from my numbers but not the numbers themselves. This was not the case when I first discovered the DOC. When I first joined diabetes online communities and forums, I was enthusiastic about posting my numbers just as many others happily put up theirs. I even considered adding my A1c numbers to my signature. I wanted to inspire others. But after a few months of doing this, I noticed certain undesirable changes in me.

I became competitive, envious and even bitter, instead of overjoyed, when I saw a BG or A1c number lower than mine. I wanted to be perfect, so much so that it came to the point that I felt compelled to lie about my number, to people I do not know, have never met and will probably never ever meet. I wanted to be an inspiration. But in fact I wanted admiration and applause, I wanted to be considered better than someone whose A1c was not as good as mine, I wanted to be envied. I had all the wrong reasons for sharing my numbers, which polluted my thinking and tempted me to cook my numbers just so that others will continue to admire, applaud and envy me. I realized then that I was becoming a number monster.

Another effect of sharing my numbers was that the numbers started to enslave me. I believe that a number is just a number, and that I am more than my BG or A1c number. But after sharing my numbers I somehow became fixated on the numbers themselves rather than what they represented, and came to consider the numbers an end in themselves. Achieving the ideal number became such an overwhelming concern that I deprived myself to achieve a number that would be the envy of others and became unhappy in the process. I developed an unhealthy attitude, an obsession, towards my BG numbers. Slavery and obsession, whatever the form, are never ever a state anyone wants to be in.

Over time I came to realize that the numbers per se may not mean much. As I wrote in a recent blog, a number by itself does not tell you a whole lot – it gives no background or history by which that number makes sense, it tells you nothing about what one has to do reach that number or the circumstances that brought about an appalling number, and it does not by itself guide you as to what you should do in the future. It does not necessarily epitomize your struggles or successes in combating diabetes.

A number, without context, is just a number and hence not worth talking about.

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6 thoughts on “Secret number

  1. Laddie

    I used to be the smart kid in school and it was embarrassing to share the “A’s.” Sometimes in the DOC it is easier to share failures than successes. At the same time diabetes is full of both and that’s just the way it is. I have definitely learned things from people who brag about A+ numbers and I have also learned stuff from those who struggle.

    Reply
    1. runningwithoutsugar Post author

      While I personally find that posting good numbers (or my bad numbers) is not good for me, I learn from, and am grateful to, those who post their good numbers and their bad numbers, but only if the numbers come with full context.

      Reply
  2. Scott E

    (Applause from the back of the room.)

    I agree with you completely — sharing A1C numbers always leads to comparisons (If there’s a way around that, I’d love to know!), and making those comparisons are not healthy – socially or personally. I’m uncomfortable reading others’ A1Cs and trying to figure out an appropriate reaction, and i don’t want to put others in the same circumstance.

    With that said, individual blood sugars are not as private to me. BGs change rapidly and a single reading, absence of any context or pattern, really doesn’t divulge anything.

    Reply
  3. Anonymous

    Now the way you were all tailored was to conceal A1C #s out of politeness, and like the above comment said, “avoiding comparisons, which are not healthy”. I disagree I know we are talking about peoples feelings, but I want to get my ?’s answered just to see if I am normal, It’s angry people that ya’ll are talking about, but the ones that just want to see how their averages are looking must be accepted. IDK just a rant.

    Reply
  4. Roux Bourbon

    Now the way you were all tailored was to conceal A1C #s out of politeness, and like the above comment said, “avoiding comparisons, which are not healthy”. I disagree I know we are talking about peoples feelings, but I want to get my ?’s answered just to see if I am normal, It’s angry people that ya’ll are talking about, but the ones that just want to see how their averages are looking must be accepted. IDK just a rant.

    Reply

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