It will soon be November, and National Diabetes Month will be hereonce again. It's a time when I like to reflect upon my past withdiabetes and try to look into the future.
We've come a long waytogether, my diabetes and I, and I feel a great sense of gratitudewhen I think about how 33 years with diabetes have shaped my life.
In retrospect, the way in which I approach my diabetes today wasfirst influenced by my mother's scientific mind. She studiedmathematics in the fifties and was an editor of Brain/MindBulletin. My disease became a scientific exploration for her,and her endeavors continue in my work as a journalist. We are goingon two generations of diabetes inquiry now (maybe three – my sonrecently showed an interest in reporting on diabetes).
When I look at my fourteen-year-old son, who just began high school,I remember how diabetes first made its entrance into my life. I wasseventeen years old and trying to be a "normal teenager," but myinjections set me apart from my friends. It seemed like a lot ofextra work at the time and, like most type 1's, I was praying to becured.
Then college came along, and, in spite of my prayers, so did mydiabetes. Staying up late to study for midterms and finals was parfor the course, and my blood sugar numbers sometimes mirrored myerratic study schedule – a crazy patchwork of ups and downs. In theend, however, it all came together. My life experience with diabeteswas a college degree in its own right.
All the hours I spent researching about diabetes and the newcutting edge therapies inevitably shaped my future life as anexploratory journalist. And my insatiable appetite for knowledgeabout both the off beat and the mainstream has continued to lead mein new directions privately and professionally. In both research andproduct development, diabetes is ever new and ever fascinating.
The latest turn in the long road that my diabetes and I have takenhas led me to Diabetes Live, our new Diabetes Health iTVshow. As I wrote last issue, it's one of the most exciting thingsI've ever done. But in launching the show, I've reverted to mycollege hours – pulling all-nighters to hammer out the details andto iron out the video and audio bugs that are an inevitable part ofa new venture.
Fortunately, I have a new tool to help me cope with that erraticschedule: a continuous glucose monitor, or CGM. If you tuned intoone of my first live shows at DiabetesHealth.com,you saw me start on the Dexcom CGM right on the show. It allows meto view my blood glucose tests as a pattern of trends rather than asmall set of fixed points.
Because it tells me which way my sugars are trending, it isreally helping me minimize my hypoglycemia. As for thehyperglycemia, I am able to view the upward trend and adjustappropriately. I look forward to reporting on my experiences with myCGM in future columns.
As a math major at Berkeley, numbers always held my interest.Whether it was the Pythagorean theory or my blood glucose readings,there was always a story being told. That's one thing I always tryto keep in mind when I see numbers I don't like: it's not aboutbeing good or bad; there's just a story being told. It's all goodfeedback, allowing me to observe my environment and my actions andto better understand how they impact me holistically.
I expect the story of me and my diabetes to continue for a long timeas together we go forward into the future. We're a team now, andit's all good. As we observe National Diabetes Month, let's try tokeep that in mind. Our diabetes is a partner, not an enemy, andtogether we can go places that we would never have gone alone.