What is "good enough" diabetes control? I recently wrote an entry on my other blog dear ada, about the idea and appeal of "good enough". In a nutshell, getting the best in every single thing (think cellphones, hiking boots, cable plans, whatever) is impossible and trying to, means that you live in a constant state of dissatisfaction. The writer Barry Schwartz speaks eloquently about the downside of our modern obsession with finding the best in everything, in his great book, The Paradox of Choice. It's an excellent read that makes a good case about the cost of our culture's celebration of the best in all things, above all things.
What's important, it seems to me, is figuring out what things in life are worthy of the search for the best, and what things just aren't. Not only does this mean that I'm not spending all my time looking, judging and comparing but also, I get to spend more time on the things that really matter. Like having the best medical care possible, or the best relationship with my husband and friends or whatever. Energy and time are finite things, so it seems a good idea to me, to put the most of the energy and time I have, into the things that matter the most to me.
And of course, health is tops on the list. And diabetes is a very challenging and time consuming disease that impacts both the short and long term of life. For me, my diabetes care and management is really important. A top priority. And luckily, the effort has paid off so far.
But I still ask myself the question, what is the "best" diabetes state of being? I used to think that if I worked hard enough, I would achieve a perfect (read "non-diabetic") state of normalcy and all would be well. But, of course, as with any disease, there is "no perfect state" to be achieved. Over time I realized that wasn't possible and as I accepted what the realities of diabetes were, I began to understand that living well with it was all about balance. For me the balance conversation happens AFTER I've achieved good A1C's. For me, there is no debate on this. I want to start from a place of optimal health. What I think is tough after that point, is striking the "right" balance between paying the attention that diabetes demands to stay under "good control" and living ones life well. Obviously, these are not mutually exclusive propositions and the best times are when they are seamlessly in sync. I guess the goal is to have more of those times. Because diabetes just isn't a disease that stays the same. What works for awhile suddenly doesn't. Stuff happens and adjustments need to be made. I got frozen shoulder and I had to adjust my activity which affected my insulin needs. You know, life happens. And we have to adjust.
It's figuring out what's "good enough" diabetes management and results at those times. Or any time, for that matter. It's figuring it out for myself first. But it's also making sure it's good enough for my doctor and health care team too. Its knowing that I can fool myself. I'm all for lightening up at times, but I want to do it with my eyes open. I want it to be a choice not a result of denial or fatigue or frustration. Well at least not for too long. Being frustrated and not paying so much attention for a couple of days is cool. It just can't become a habit because the one who looses the most with that is me. And that's the rub. Because it's hard to always know the right balance between paying enough attention so I can live life fully, with paying so much attention to caring for diabetes, that I loose sight of living my life fully. I don't want to be the best diabetic in the world who had no life. And I also don't want to be the diabetic who ignored her diabetes and paid for it with diminished health. It's a tough one. And I think it's one of the real challenges of living with this disease. Figuring out what's "good enough".