You may have noticed that I don’t write quite so much about diabetes here as I used to. (About my diabetes, that is.) If you and I are friends on the The Facebook, you might have also noticed that I don’t mention it quite so much there either. Or on The Twitter. I’ll still talk about it with anyone who brings it up, and I still rock the awesome diabeTees Lisa has lovingly made for me. But online I’m a little quieter. Why is that?
It takes time for me to write well—especially if I’m not 100% sure of what I want to say—and if I’m going to do something I want to do it well. Work, training, travel, learning a new language or two, staying caught up with my reading, writing diabetes self-management software, and spending as much time as I can with Lisa and the cat . . . these all compete with my desire to write here.
Lately when I have set out to write anything related to diabetes, I keep hearing a voice in the back of my mind (a bit like the chorus from an ancient Greek play) asking whether I really have any business writing on the subject. I’m not a model of good diabetes outcomes if you look at clinical indicators (A1c and average BG readings) or at the things that matter just as much to me: the ability manage diabetes during exercise, how often I go low overnight, the ridiculous amount of “defensive eating” I do to prevent lows, whether I can successfully dose insulin for foods that I eat all the time, etc. Despite all of the training, racing, traveling, and everything else that I do with diabetes, it’s never been particularly easy for me, and I find it hard to put myself out there either as some kind of diabetes role model (which I never intended to do) or to air my dirty laundry. (For example: “Yep, the only reason I didn’t go low while riding my bike home the other day was because I had enough of a blood sugar cushion to drop almost 200 mg/dL [11 mmol/L] in an hour and half. Yay?”) It’s not that I haven’t tried to figure things out; it’s just been really fucking hard for me to get it right.
All of this difficulty (for want of a better word) often causes concern for people who care about me. While I’m not worried enough about any of this to stop doing triathlon or other things that make diabetes harder to “control,” the more that I share, the more that I have to remind people that everything really is okay (or okay enough anyway). I understand where the anxiety on my behalf comes from; I really do, but it’s not an emotion I aim for when I write about diabetes or what’s happening in my life. More than anything, my writing is an attempt to connect with my people: folks with diabetes, triathletes and other athletes, family, and friends. Each of these groups is going to bring something different with them when they read these dispatches—which is why I still explain diabetes and triathlon basics in more detail than I would if I were writing for just one community—but it often means that I have to reassure one group when talking about things that wouldn’t concern another.
But I miss writing as much as I used to about my life with diabetes, the good and the bad. All the best role models have dark sides, which is what makes them interesting, right? (Sorry, Superman, but Batman and almost any other superhero are way cooler than you, even if you can easily kick their asses.) I’m not giving up on my seemingly never-ending journey toward better diabetes self-management; I’m just going to write about more of the trip.