Elephants. There are many in the room.
The particular one I’m looking at right now is the opinion of a physician who has told me that I can’t be an advocate for people with diabetes or caretakers of children with diabetes if my son’s diabetes management is less than perfect.
For most physicians, this definition of perfection is what the medical world calls “compliance”.
It includes things like stellar A1Cs, insulin pump set change reminders, timeliness of insulin, counting carbs correctly or any one of the 180 extra daily decisions that Stanford researchers found that someone with diabetes has to make to stay alive.
That’s 180 decisions on top of all the other things you are juggling that could mean life or death for you or someone, daily.
In my teenage son’s life right now, compliance with these actions and decisions are the things that his young mind must embrace to gain that badge of honor we call “independence”.
Even adults with Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes struggle with these things.
And yes, we as caretakers struggle to do them perfectly, too.
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want “perfect” health outcomes. And, I certainly don’t know anyone who wants their child to have health complications, let alone this condition.
I do know that this idea of human perfection 100% of the time is impossible.
Maybe that’s the bigger elephant in the room? I’m not perfect. But I’m not sure if that is my elephant because I have always known that. Perhaps that’s another social media distortion?
So if I’m not perfect, then why do I bother to advocate for, coach and support people with diabetes and caretakers of children with diabetes?
Because this $&*! is hard. Like really hard.
This is no newsflash for people with diabetes, caretakers or other advocates. It is the very fabric of the deep vibration of understanding between any two people experiencing diabetes, or caretaking for someone with diabetes.
We get it.
What I also know is that you don’t have to do this alone. I know what that feels like, and it’s not the way it has to be.
It’s about being in a safe space where you are heard and understood. You will be supported to do your best, and embrace this thing.
But perfection? We’ll never get there because it just doesn’t exist.
Diabetes is messy, hard, frustrating, annoying, not fair, trying, and so much more. Less than perfect health outcomes does not make you a failure. It makes you human. It is a message that there are probably some areas that need improvement. You may need to try something different, or maybe you just need more support.
Just please know that you are not alone. We’re all in this together.
5 Essentials for Managing Type 1 Diabetes at School
Relieve some of the anxiety you feel whenever your child with Type 1 Diabetes heads to school for the day.
You'll find tips on educating the teacher and nurse, making emergency snack boxes, traveling on the school bus and more.