I’m embarrassed to admit it but, until a few months ago, I was not monitoring my blood sugar properly. I’m not talking about the physical act of poking my finger and placing blood on a test strip — that I have down pat. No, I’m talking about watching trends in my blood glucose levels and learning how different foods (or different combinations of foods) affect my blood sugar. It wasn’t until this past March, when Amy Tenderich (of DiabetesMine) posted an piece called “Glucose Testing in Pairs,” that I realized I fell into that category of people who “…were never given a good explanation of when to test or why.”
When I read Amy’s words, I was surprised to discover that I identified with this description. In fact, I was a little bit shocked. I mean, I’ve always been a good patient. I get my bloodwork done regularly, I see my endocrinologist at least once every four months, I get a yearly physical, I see the ophthalmologist once a year and I’ve started going to the dentist on a regular basis. I always listen to what my doctors have to say and I always try my hardest. I do blood tests, I count carbohydrates, I take my insulin and I exercise. Despite all of this, it wasn’t until recently — in my 16th year of living with diabetes — that I realized the importance of pre and post meal testing.
After coming to the realization that I’d been testing ‘wrong’ for over a decade, I started to feel angry. For years, I had been struggling to achieve good blood sugar control without much success. I couldn’t help feeling that, if I’d been taught to test in pairs earlier in my D life, some of those unexplainable highs and lows that had plagued me throughout high school and university might not have been quite so mysterious. Why had I never been told that testing your blood sugar after a meal is just as important as testing beforehand?
I soon realized that the answer to this question is not important. Dwelling upon what I was or was not aware of in the past is futile. So, anger quickly turned to determination as I resolved to embrace my new found knowledge and test and test, test and test, test and test…in pairs.
So, I remodelled my blood glucose monitoring routine. And, in the eight months since making the change, it’s amazing how much I’ve learned! It’s as though a key has turned, a curtain has lifted and I’m suddenly seeing a bigger picture; I’m suddenly getting a behind-the-scenes tour of my own personal insulin/carbohydrate/blood sugar show.
As I strive toward optimal control, there’s something comforting in knowing that — even after more than a decade and a half with this disease — there are always new things to learn and new things to try on this roller coaster that is diabetes.