A friend of mine once told me that it's important to trust the decisions you make. You assess the things you know at the time and then you pick a course of action. If new information arises that gives you pause to "change your mind" or the direction you are going in, then so be it. It's not that you got it wrong, he says, it's just that you now have more information to consider.
This has helped me a lot. Up until this conversation with my friend, I had always kind of beat myself up about "wrong" decisions I'd made, especially about diabetes. "I should have known this was going to happen", was a refrain I'd hear, subtly in the background of my struggles with keeping my bloodsugars even and in control.
So we come to yesterday. It was a beautiful, cool summer day and I was taking a walk around the garden. I'm a avid gardener and my garden is a source of great joy and peace to me. I love it. As I was meandering around I saw a weed here and pulled it. Some grass where it shouldn't be so I pulled it too. Soon I was on my knees digging, cleaning up, dead heading roses, all the things that gardeners do. One hour passed. And then another. It was so great to be outside, to strech my still recovering shoulders, to strech in general. Plus there was a ton of work to do as I looked closer, so I dove in with full force.
While my hands were full of weeds, a niggling thought kept pushing at the back of my mind, that I needed to pace myself and pay more attention to the amount of work I was doing. Countless afternoons of gardening have resulted in late night lows, hours after the work is done. I heard the warnings and I gently pushed them away, out of my mind for a while. And an hour would pass and they'd float back in and again, I'd push them away. Because at the moment it felt too good to stop. It felt so good to use my body and be in the garden, outside in the cool, fresh air.
And of course, I was up last night with a big low. I ate extra fat at dinner, with the hope that it would counteract all the exercise, a technique that had occasionally worked in the past. But it didn't and there I was, stumbling in the night to get milk, jamming 2 cookies in my mouth and then lying there, waiting for my mouth and tongue to stop being numb.
This morning I woke feeling tired and stupid and mad at myself. I should have made different decisions. I should have known better. And maybe that is so. And maybe I did have all the information and I still picked the wrong course. But with diabetes I never know for sure what the outcome will be. Generally I can predict it will do certain things, but not always. So did I really have "all the information"? Is it ever possible to have it all? And even if I did have it all, the bigger question is, was it the wrong course, regardless of the outcome? Would I have forgone the wonderful day I had yesterday, to avoid the low I had last night? Truthfully, probably not. And that's the rub with diabetes. It's not that you can't live with the consequences of all the choices you have to make. It's that with diabetes, small choices can have profound physical reactions. On some days that's bearable, on others, not so much.
So I'm left with my friends wise counsel and also something I've learned from many of Scott's comments to my blog, which is that I need to cut myself some slack. It's not some character flaw that I chose gardening "over" the possibility of a low in the night. I have diabetes which adds a slippery world of variables to a life full of desires, goals and choices. I assessed, I hoped, I may have even fooled myself about the situation. But I'm not a bad person because of it. That part, the recriminations and judgements, I can let go of. In the end, you weigh the options and then you choose. I chose gardening yesterday and I'm trying a new response, which is "good for me".