For someone who despises math, my life certainly does revolve around numbers. A diabetic lives by numbers. What’s your bs? What’s your A1C? What’s your bp? What’s your bolus? What’s your basal? What’s the carb content? What’s Type are you? Numbers! Numbers! Numbers! Argh!! I am not a ‘paint by numbers’. No no, I am a ‘live by numbers’.
One of the yucky things someone can say to me is ‘It’s just a number.’ No matter what in my life they are referring to, ‘it’s just a number’ doesn’t begin to describe the impact it has on me. To me, it’s not just a number. To me, it’s the declaration of coma or ketoacidosis, lucidity or confusion, bad behavior or good behavior and ultimately life or death. Trust me when I say I wish the numbers didn’t matter, but they do.
I went to see Doc B. last week for my 3 month check up. Yes, yes. I have to get blood work drawn, I get to pee in a jug..yay...and I get my behavior judged every 3 months. However, this time I was more nervous than usual. I switched to a new pump and my numbers were skewed for a while. I was stressed over work issues, home issues, love issues, family issues, friend issues…life issues. In fact, my stress has been at an all time high recently and I was certain my numbers were not going to be good. Certain and scared and feeling guilty.
The nurse came in and took my blood to check my A1C. I told her I was worried because I thought it went up. She said we will know in a minute. So, I waited. Nervous boredom doomsayer waiting. I do this to myself, I know. I immediately go into doomsayer mode & think a plethora of bad things. I don’t know why because I love the rainbows & sunshine mode so much better. I guess that’s just what my fear does to me.
Anyway, Doc B. came in and I immediately smiled. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, he is the best thing that has come from my diabetes. He made his jovial greetings and flipped through my blood work. He turned to look at me and said ‘How long have you had diabetes?’ I replied ’Almost 25 years.’ He shook his head, turned back around and kept flipping through my file. Being the said doomsayer worry wart, I sat there with my mouth ajar waiting to hear the worst. I mumbled ‘What’s my A1C?’ He turned to look at me again and said ‘6. Kelly, you are an inspiration. You have had this disease for 25 years and everything is perfect. I hope you don’t mind but I am going to use you as an example to all my other patients. Your A1C is perfect, your thyroid is perfect, bp perfect, kidneys perfect, liver perfect…everything…perfect. You are doing amazing and, like I said, you are an inspiration. There is really nothing for me to say to you except keep doing exactly what you are doing. You give me hope for all my Type 1 patients. See you in 3 months.’
I sat there for a minute stunned. Literally stunned. I walked out of his office and burst into tears. I got in my car and cried in sheer and total relief. I am always busy feeling afraid of what this disease will ultimately do to me, feeling guilty over the things I do, being unsure of what my body will throw at me, that I never take the time to think everything will be ok. It’s not that I am negative about this disease, I am not. I am one of those people who believes in a cure. Who believes I will beat this disease. Who believes that nothing, especially diabetes, will ever take me down. Who believes in hope & the power of mind over matter. I am the person who believes that I am bigger, stronger and braver than this one chronic disease will ever, ever be.
But, the reality of this disease does cause me to worry about my future. Quite often. But, the reality of this disease cannot, and never will, steal away my spirit or the words Doc B said to me. The words and the number that made my heart sigh.
On that day, I didn’t worry. On that day, one little number, one single digit, made me laugh a little louder, hug a little longer, breathe a little easier and put my fear away. Gawd, I wish I could do that every day.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.