How many chances I have to be wrong every day

Every time I check my blood sugar I have the opportunity to be wrong – about what I thought the number would be, what range I’d be in, too high, too low. These mistakes are consequences of my every-few-hour analysis and decision-making regarding how much insulin to take for the next meal or correction.

Every single day I have multiple opportunities to be wrong about these decisions, which we know, PWD to PWD, are merely guesses.

So when I woke up this morning to a blood sugar of 126 mg/dl, I thought about this and I wondered how does being wrong several times a day, or few days, affect me and my sense of self? Here’s the 126 backstory: last night after a miscalculation of how much insulin I needed for dinner, my blood sugar dropped to 68. I ate a third of a cup of blueberries, after checking with CalorieKing how much frozen blueberries would raise me. But, obviously, I misjudged. (Or my body was doing something I had no clue about). I wanted to get myself up to 100, yet I awoke at 126.

Obviously, I didn’t need as many blueberries as I thought. Ten too many? Five too many? Obviously I should have waited longer after eating them before going to sleep to see how much they raised my blood sugar. I should I have stayed up til 1 AM rather than let my jet lag push me into bed at 10:30 PM. Obviously. Once again I made a mistake.

How does this affect us? Judging ourselves as often making mistakes when we can only guess at insulin dosing? I am fortunate that I know you cannot predict or control blood sugar. I know that even with my CGM insulin dosing is still, and always, an educated guess. I am also fortunate that I can usually move on from my self-criticism quickly and appreciate that I manage my blood sugar as well as I do.

Someone once said to me if you have type 1 diabetes, “You’re either a super-hero or a train wreck.” I have known train wrecks. They are not around anymore. Fortunately, most of the people I know today who have type 1 diabetes are super-heroes.

Yet that’s not really an apt metaphor and my super-hero friends and acquaintances would likely agree. Yes, we have a second job managing our blood sugar and diabetes. Yes, our life-saving medicine, insulin, can kill us if we guess terribly wrong. Yet there’s no way to know for sure each time we dose insulin exactly how much we need. And please don’t even get me started on riding the “roller coaster.”

If you truly understand what type 1 diabetes requires to manage it well, you could see those who do so as super-heroes. Yet I know we’re all just doing our best, day in and day out. We rely on the help and support of others when we need it and we roll with the punches knowing insulin dosing is neither science nor art. It is a calculated guess based on mystery, the mystery of what your body is doing at any given moment that is largely hidden from us.

Still, we continue, decision-guessing multiple times a day, day after day, rarely saying anything about it. I imagine, you like me, hear the voice of your self-critic when the number on your meter isn’t what you want or expect. And then you move on to make the next guess, hopefully, forgiving yourself with equal speed. Perhaps that’s really the definition of a diabetes super-hero.

Screen Shot 2018-11-19 at 2.55.34 PM.png

Teaching diabetes care in Copenhagen, traveling in the Netherlands

It’s been a few weeks since I posted. I’ve been in Europe both working and relaxing. I was invited to present the Flourishing Approach to practitioners at, and related to, Steno Diabetes Center in Copenhagen. Steno is a leading research institute and clinic in Denmark. The interaction was extremely successful, including a meeting with the CEO of Steno, Allan Flyvbjerg, who is looking for innovative ways to progress diabetes care and sees the value of the Flourishing Approach.

That morning I and the husband presented the Flourishing Approach to health psychology students at the University of Copenhagen. It was enormously rewarding relaying ideas of a different way of seeing and working with people who have a condition to such young, curious and fertile minds. And not one was on their iPhone during our talk! Instead they were surprised, fascinated and curious what diabetes really is and is like to live with. I am grateful to psychologist Timothy Skinner who invited us to take over his class.

It’s both fun and rewarding that Copenhagen is one of the world’s cities where the Flourishing Approach is connecting since I lived there for a semester during my junior year of college. How well I remember sleeping under the hugely warm white, white duvet and bicycling in the dark from house to train station to go into the city for classes. As I told the students, I could never have envisioned I would be back teaching at the university one day.

All to say it’s been rewarding work and a wonderful trip. Now back in the Netherlands, the husband’s home country, there’s a week left to wander down these beautiful cobblestoned streets and admire the centuries old buildings and canals.

A smattering of the trip in photos:

Dead people.jpg

Painting: The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp. Painted in 1632 I use this in my presentation to show how focused we are in health care on the body alone. I took this photo in the Mauritshuis museum here in Holland.

Insulin worthy.jpg

Totally insulin-worthy Appel Cake at a bookstore in Amsterdam

Copenhag locksen.jpg

A popular bridge in the center of Copenhagen. The locks represents couple’s love.

Univ Copenhagen.jpg

Lecturing health psychology students at the University of Copenhagen


Presenting at Steno Diabetes Institute in Copenhagen


A new T1D friend, Helle. We were LinkedIN until she reached out and showed us her Copenhagen. I am indebted.


Leaving Copenhagen. They don’t let you forget smoking is not good for your health.

Plane 2.jpg

KLM snack on the flight back to Holland. A teaspoon of egg in a wrap. Putting profit before health. Sad to see.