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I Know I Don't Know and Other Stand on Your Head Stuff
How do you know if you really know something or anything? Perhaps the best starting point is to clothe oneself in humility. I have learned over the years that the opposite of pride is humility. Humility is my aim. With pride, can one really even believe that they can or even want to learn anything new? The answer for me at least is that it is obvious that my aim is from the starting position of humility. That is not the same by the way as a wuss or a door mat person. Humility as well is not some sort of false self or faker who wants to be perceived as perpetually “nice.” As a humourous aside, in our home we describe a personality style that is entitled “sweet and spicy.” Really that is just meant to say that one may remain a sweet or thoughtful, genuine person yet have a spicy (feisty) side that means that no one in our home believes that everything is relative. None of us buy into the bill of goods that is being sold so prevalent in Western societies of “blind tolerance.” Principles are timeless and that means that even when the wind direction changes within society’s mantra, our family belief is that one must stand for what is right even when it is difficult to do so. Okay, so for sure I approach my diabetes management from a sweet and spicy perspective as well.
If you have lived with type 1 diabetes for a decade or more, do you at times feel as though there is not much utility in reading anything new about diabetes care? I will be frank in saying that I am not one iota interested in attending a rah rah meeting pertaining diabetes. I am however saying that concrete, value added information is welcome. That is quite a different thing. One thing that I have discovered thankfully over the past several months is that there is a lot of information available in various forms of substance that is not being presented in a “dumbed down” fashion. I am appalled if I find myself in an environment where a topic has been advertised as offering advanced ideas only to get there and find out that the information is basically kindergarten diabetes level content. I am not one bit interested in hearing the stuff I learned during the first week living with type 1 diabetes. My eyeballs will roll & they will make a pronounced noise! That does not mean that for one second that I think that I am some sort of hot shot when it comes to diabetes management. It means however that I am going to discern between content of value and nonsense because well…free will.
Now if you combine the ingredients of sweet & spicy, humility and discernment, what do you get? For me the answer is a lifelong proclivity towards pursuing what is meaningful in terms of learning. We are not going to get to the end of the internet in terms of information. The great news is that we likely don’t need to. We can choose to swim through the plethora of available information & discern what we need to learn more about. That is the humble part that admits that I don’t know what I don’t know even after 11 years living with type 1 diabetes. The very cool thing as well is that there are many on line and in person diabetes communities that we can join and learn additional things about diabetes management as well. It simply does not matter if someone is the age of any of my sons…that person may (and I have found does ) have some excellent information to share about emerging technology and other diabetes management tips. I decided to get over myself a long time ago when I had previously thought that Youtube was not for me. I was wrong. It turns out that it is also all about discernment. There is a ton of educative content on Youtube. I have found a few diabetes Youtubers that I really enjoy listening to. (Nerdabetic, Michelle Lords and Nicky Ghaleb to name a few.) Outside of diabetes, I love listening to Dr. Jordan Peterson, Bishop Robert Barron and the Habs. You will have your favorites too. I love that I can listen to podcasts while making dinner or during other activities and learn at the same time. That is a good way to leverage one’s time. My husband travels a lot so I download lots of content in the form of podcasts for him to listen to while he is at the airport or on the plane. He loves it now that he has gotten into that habit.
In my experience keeping up as much as possible on technology and tips regarding diabetes is of huge benefit. Type 1 diabetes is probably never going to be easy in my lifetime but anything that contributes to easier is a win as far as I am concerned. My next diabetes centre appointment is at the beginning of March and my current insulin pump “expires or retires” in mid May. I need to prepare as well as possible for my March appointment as it will be my last appointment before making and obtaining my next insulin pump. We lost 2 pumps from our Canadian market over the last 18 months & one of them is the company/pump that I currently have attached to me. We have 3 insulin pump choices available in Canada. I am researching all 3 yet I am certainly leaning towards one more heavily than the others after preliminary information gathering. Thank goodness we have these 3 choices. I am excited about the significant new features that have come to market in these new pumps within the last 3 to 12 months. Predictive alarms for one is brilliant. I have this capability currently and I love it. I have only been wearing sensors for just over a year yet I am amazed at what a game changer that is. You can see in real time what the heck is going on when carbs hit or illness or stress or one of the other dozens of factors that affect blood sugars occurs. When my technology is good quality it is absolutely my lifeline. During the times when I have had defective sensors I feel like I am stumbling in the dark with my diabetes management. Thankfully the majority of the time my technology is working pretty well. Of course our blood sugars can have what would seem like a mind of their own. The sensor helps me to think through a potential solution to the blood sugar difficulty. I am not always successful naturally but I try to learn something a little bit more for my decision making the next time. And for sure I contribute to the metaphorical swear jar when I have a blood sugar that does not respond to my diabetes management decision. I have found that when my blood sugar goes above 16 I will swear period. I hate those high blood sugars that drain the energy out of me, zap my patience, give headaches and more. (Well what would there be to like about that right.)
An additional commitment that I decided to make in the theme of I don’t know what I don’t know is to dedicate all my February reading to diabetes management books. I realized that I have not read anything approximating a diabetes management book since reading “Smart Pumping” & “Think Like a Pancreas” 11 years ago when I was first diagnosed. I got a jump on my February reading last week & read & finished “Bright Spots & Landmines” by Adam Brown. My diabetes centre nurse had recommended it during my last appointment in the Fall. The book is excellent. I picked up several nuggets that I am running with. I purchased it for a nominal price from kindle books. I have 3 additional diabetes related books downloaded on my kindle & ready for reading. Last night I stayed up way too late as I started the next book, “Beyond Fingersticks, The Art of Control with Continuous Glucose Monitoring” by Lee Dubois. It is a no b.s. book & I love that style. It is not a bunch of motivational mumbo jumbo that is long forgotten at the speed of light. It is a tell like it is style book kind of warts and all approach. For sure it is enjoyable yet not light reading. I found it difficult to turn off the light last night as the material in the book is fascinating. I learned about this book from a diabetes online group that I joined that is hosted in the UK. The other 2 books I have slated for February reading are “The Born Again Diabetic” by Lee Dubois and “Sugar Surfing” by Dr. Stephen Ponder. I will not beat myself up if I don’t get all 4 read by the end of February but at least setting this goal gives me a positive commitment to aim for. The goal is great & if need be, the date of completion can be modified.
Whether you are sweet, spicy, or a combination of both, my heart’s hope is that you find the valuable information both on line and within books and more that aids you in finding ways to have those energizing in range blood sugars. Those are the sugars that I find I feel my absolute best. And you & I are aiming always for the best!
The next story sharing will be at the end of May.