Did you make any resolutions for 2011? How many of them have you given up on already? Many of my Facebook friends have enthusiastically boasted of their New Year’s resolutions–lose weight, spend less time online, read more, worry less. While their goals are admirable, their resolutions rarely last. Why? I believe it’s because their aim is too high or too broad, and their enthusiasm is short-lived.
People with diabetes do not have the luxury of short-term enthusiasm. We are sentenced to a disease that has no calendar, no predictable pattern, and no cure. Although this seems to be dismal news, the truth is that diabetes forces us to recognize reality–that good management and achieving success don’t come easily, but do come with great reward.
I admit, my diabetes management has been lackluster lately. In November, I became a mother for the second time through adoption. Having two children, a toddler and a newborn, has been challenging, and, as you can imagine, busy. There is always something going on–a doctor’s appointment, a diaper change, a bottle to prepare, tears to be wiped, laundry to be washed, dishes to be put away. There are few quiet moments.
I have found myself testing four times a day instead of nine or ten. I’m thirsty all the time because I forget to drink water. I have managed to exercise every day, but my workouts are often much shorter and less intense. I’m tired due to night feedings and endless daily tasks.
Don’t get me wrong: I feel very blessed to have my children. But diabetes is a full-time job, whether or not I want it to be. It can be a job that I stay on top of (testing, correcting, exercising, carbohydrate counting) or it can be one that I fight (test less, haphazardly consume meals, skip workouts), but it’s not going away. And fighting reality is often more exhausting than surrendering and proceeding.
I am working to get back into sync with my disease in the only possible way: by daily, if not momentarily, committing myself to my diabetes. Flight attendants always remind us to put the oxygen mask on ourselves first. I know that in order to be the best wife, mother, writer, friend, sister, and daughter that I can be, I must make my disease a priority. As a popular maxim says, you can’t give what you don’t have.
I can’t wait for a magical date on the calendar to set a goal for my health. Every day is an opportunity to do better, think more clearly, and act with purpose and precision. January first is just a date on the calendar. Diabetes is every day, every moment. Don’t let your goals fizzle. Instead, make your goals specific and small, knowing that great rewards are waiting.