One of the best experiences of my life with diabetes was my first meeting with a particular doctor. She had had me do the blood work in advance, and the numbers were wonderful. Also wonderful was the flood of congratulations that came in on Twitter after I posted my numbers.
The congratulations felt great, and I've often participated in extending them to others.
But I've begun to worry. It's a subtle point, I grant you, but I'm worried anyway.
When someone in the DOC posts numbers that they're proud of, we rejoice in their success. When someone posts numbers that disappoint them, the community's response is "They're only numbers. They don't define you. Treat them as data points, learn what you can, and keep plugging." This is 100% true.
But the opposite of success is not 'data point'. The opposite of success is failure.
My worry is that the greeting my numbers when joy when they seem good sets me up for misery when they don't. I think maybe our brains know that we can’t have it both ways. Maybe we’re trying to feed our emotional centers a line and that our emotional centers aren’t fooled a bit. Maybe throwing a party for a 5.9 makes it that much harder to cope we don’t want to see.
Now clearly, good medical news (A1c or whatever else) is a fabulous thing and it’s appropriate to be happy about it. I’m just wondering if perhaps treating good medical news as something good that’s happened TO us – like coming across a big sale at our favorite store – rather than an accomplishment that validates us. Of course our efforts have a role in “good” test results, but as Abby pointed out, even “good” test results don’t necessarily mean that things are going well.
Of course, I’m going to continue to participate in Twitter celebrations when folks post about how excited they are. But, for myself, I think I’m going to work a little harder on taking all my test results, whether exciting or disappointing, more nearly in stride. They’re all just data points.