As I approach my 25th diabetes diagnosis anniversary (coming up this Christmas Eve), I marvel over how much I continue to constantly learn about my chronic condition.
You might think that I should be an expert after all this time, but that’s definitely not true. Sure, there are many predictable aspects about diabetes by this stage in the game. I’ve learned how to read my body’s signals. I’ve got a good grip on the mundane parts of diabetes management (e.g., changing my sites, reacting and treating various blood sugar levels, exercising with diabetes without wild blood sugar oscillations, and so forth). I know quite a bit about diabetes technology, even the kinds that I’ve never used before (and I attribute much of this knowledge to my friends and coworkers with diabetes, as well as the fact that I have an inside scoop on a lot of this stuff because I work in the diabetes sector).
But this doesn’t mean I’ve learned all there is to know about diabetes, the terminology that defines it, the research that is being conducted about it, or the innovations that are consistently occurring when it comes to technologies and therapies.
A good example of this? I heard the acronym “FNIR” for the first time the other day when I was at work. A clinician was breaking it down as standing for “flat, narrow, and in range”, which is a pattern that can be visible on a CGM device that indicates tight control over blood sugar levels. My mind was kind of blown when I heard this; while the concept itself isn’t revolutionary, I had no idea that doctors had actually defined the phenomenon. This might seem like an insignificant example about learning something new; but on the contrary, it’s major to me because it’s something I hope to achieve on a daily basis (literally) – I just didn’t have the words myself for it. Now that I know it, I’d like to be able to use it during my upcoming endocrinology appointment as a tool to describe to my doctor that I want her help getting an FNIR graph more often.
Constantly learning can be tiresome at times, but it just goes to show that it’s good for me because all roads point down a better understanding of my diabetes – something that I will always want and always shoot for.