New Year always makes me think about my diabetes.
There’s a photo of me, taken at Sydney Harbour on New Year’s Eve 2006. My face is expressionless, not happy, not sad, not looking excited about seeing the famous fireworks for the first time, but it’s obvious from the photo that my thoughts are somewhere else. If you knew me well you’d probably be able to tell there was something up. On that day, before catching the ferry over from our flat in Manly, I’d had a call from the lab to say that the results were back from my glucose tolerance test and I was definitely diabetic and would need to see a doctor as soon as possible.
“How soon?” I’d asked.
“Well, it’s not an emergency and you don’t need to go to hospital but you should make an appointment to see a doctor as soon as you can.”
I put the phone down, told my husband what they’d said and had a little cry. I spent the rest of that New Year’s Eve quietly dealing with the shock and worry of what that call meant, while trying to pretend I was having a nice time with my friends.
It took a few more weeks to get a definitive diagnosis of slow onset Type 1 when I finally got an appointment with an endocrinologist, but I always think of New Year’s Eve as being my real “diaversary”.
This year, instead of just adding another line to my “years with diabetes” tally, I am doing something constructive. I got my act together in 2018 after a difficult period of diabetes burnout that I silently tortured myself with, and now I’m starting 2019 facing up to having Type 1 and working with it again. I think having a goal to aim for this year will help me keep up the momentum and the effort and stop me from getting bored.
So what have I decided to aim for throughout 2019? Two things.
- To aim for my HbA1c to be under 50.
- To aim for my percentage time in range to be over 65%.
These are on my list of “19 for 2019” – things I want to do this year inspired by the podcast Happier. They aren’t all big, lofty goals (er…the first thing on the list is to paint my nails every week) but when I look at them all I believe they’ll make me feel good if I can achieve them.
In the past, I’ve never tried to hit a particular metric with my diabetes management (apart from in pregnancy) – I just did the best I could in the context of my life at the time, eating normally, carb counting, testing (sometimes a little, sometimes a lot), and taking my insulin. My HbA1c results were like an interesting afterthought that I didn’t really focus on actively changing, and my doctors have never given me an explicit range to aim for.
I get motivated by goals and I’m intrigued to figure out this year whether there are tweaks I can make to my routine to sustainably get my blood sugars to where I want them to be, and get on with the rest of my life at the same time. It’s worth a try, right?