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Diabetes: Failure or Success?

I’ve always liked the phrase, failure is not an option. I strive to not fail. I strive to do the best job I can with my diabetes. I strive to get the numbers right. I strive to increase my exercise. I strive to avoid complications. I even strive for perfection.

But. It’s not always possible.

Is this failure?

It’s not always possible to do the best job with my diabetes. Heck, I like to drink a cooler now and then. I like to have dessert now and then. I like to live life at times without restriction. Is this failure?

I try really hard to get the numbers right. I test 4 or more times a day, most of the time, even though the recommendation is to test 4 times a week. Most weekends, I find I’m busy. Busy with chores or errands or just catching up with my family. Sometimes, especially on weekends, I forget to test altogether. All weekend. Is this failure?

I wear my fitness tracker from the time I get up in the morning to the time I go to bed because I want to see those steps. I want to walk ten thousand steps in a day. I check the tracker frequently through out my work day. That’s how I know if I can reach my goal. However, I really don’t see that many steps a lot of days. Is this failure?

I know by doing all the right things, I can avoid complications that are common to diabetes. Retinopathy. Neuropathy. Heart disease. Kidney disease. Sleep disorders. Thankfully at present I have none of these. But what if I did have one/some of these…is this failure?

Then. Oh then. There’s perfection. I try to do all things right. If I don’t make that grade, is this failure?

This is success

I think none of these things define failure. I know diabetes takes willpower, dedication, commitment and investment. Most of the time, I have the will power to eat healthy, minimize the partying and remember that investment in my health, in myself, is not a restriction. This is success.

I know that I am dedicated to testing my blood sugars. I feel pangs of guilt when I get to Monday morning and I realize I didn’t test all weekend. Those pangs of guilt motivate me to make sure I start again and get back into my routine of testing 4 times a day. This is success.

Checking in with my fitness tracker is motivating. If I’m halfway through my workday and I’m looking at 2,000 steps, not 5,000, I know I’ve got some catching up to do. Will I make 10,000 each day? Not likely. Some days I’m pretty happy with 7,500 steps especially if it’s an office day. But I make the effort. When I do my weekly upload of steps to the app, I am often blown away when I see I have hit my target several times that week when I thought I hadn’t hit it at all. This is success.

Diabetes is progressive. Even with the best adherence to the recommendations, I still may have complications. In my heart, when I know I have done my best then I have not failed. No. I have given myself a gift. I have succeeded by holding off those complications for as long as I did. This is success.

Perfection may be a goal. Is it attainable? In the strictest sense, I’d say no. Is it definable in my terms? Yes. Has all my effort helped me make the grade? Yes.

I’d call all of this success.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Shelley, TheLongPointGirl moderator author
    1 year ago

    Sorry you are having to,deal with some nerve damage! I totally agree. We can only do our best and hope for the rest. I think we all fight with expectations of ourselves that may be too high. That’s what contributes to diabetes burnout. Not fun. Been there before. Long road back. Be good to yourself and continue to do the great self care you are already doing!

  • Thomas A McAtee Jr. moderator
    1 year ago

    Crap. I’ve got some sleep apnea using a CPAP and also have to see the podiatrist every three months with my nerve damage and calluses right behind the toes. Hopefully can keep other away but can only do best we can. And no it’s not failure even though we do feel like it at times because we at times put unrealistic goals on ourselves and get might disappointed when we don’t make them. I hate doing that too but it’s human nature to do so I think.

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