TD14ADay: Pretending Not To Be.
Last Friday, I took the JDRF's T1D for a Day text challenge for a spin. I wanted to see how "accurate" the texts were, and if they encapsulated both the blood sugar and the emotional flux of a day with type 1 diabetes. (And don't worry - I'm not recounting every, single text here because I don't want to ruin it for someone who hasn't experienced it yet, but this post does contain ... spoilers, I guess? If you don't want to know the gist of the TD14ADay bit, you can watch this on loop instead.)
The day opened with a text at 8:45 am, thanking me for signing up for the project (and with the obligatory "Hey, this isn't medical ANYTHING" disclaimer.) The first "real" text about my diabetes day didn't come in until 9:30 am eastern, warning me to remember to bring all my supplies with me that day. (Which, for me, didn't match anything even close to my regular day. Every day starts early, and with my glucose meter in my hand. I don't leave my bed before testing my blood sugar. If I waited until 9:30 am to address diabetes stuff, I'd already be behind the 8 ball.)
But then we were off and running. I received a text every hour or two, ranging from managing a post-breakfast high that came out of the blue to finding a finger to prick that isn't already sore and tough to squeeze a drop from. (And the timing was good for so many of these texts, like the one that came in at 6:19 pm about "going for a run" as I was setting up my diabetes junk on the treadmill. Art imitating life!)
I liked that there were blood sugar checks and emotional "checks" built into each text. Diabetes isn't just about testing and reacting (sometimes being proactive) to blood sugar numbers. It's about acknowledging that some of the outliers don't have explanations, but we still need to address the needs of our bodies and move forward.
And then this one I liked very much, as well:
YES! A blood sugar number clocking in where I want it to? No, I will not "celebrate" (aka "ruin") it by grabbing a cupcake. That inclination to celebrate diabetes moments with food (or to reward any positive with food) is a strangely unhealthy one, in my under-caffeinated opinion, and I was happy to see the JDRF making that point here.
And then there was the middle-of-the-night low. I knew this one was coming (thanks to hints from Facebook), but I still didn't set my phone to silent for the night. I wanted to see if I would hear it. Of course, I didn't. The pinging of the text coming in wasn't enough to wake me from my sleep (even though if Birdy burps from three rooms away, I will wake up with a start). I did wake up to see that my alternate-text-universe-me had a really tough low in the middle of the night, one that required calling a neighbor to be at the ready. Having made those awkward phone calls to my mom and my best friend while low ("I'm really low but I'm okay and can you just stay on the phone with me for a few minutes?"), these texts really resonated for me.
When the texts were coming in throughout the day, I remember thinking, "Man, whoever wrote these was trying to give a glimpse into a particularly rough day with diabetes." A post-breakfast spike, random diabetes math to accommodate an apple snack, the age old question of "indulge or avoid?", juggling exercise, the quiet euphoria of testing and seeing a "perfect" blood sugar number ... but this isn't a particularly rough day. This is every day.
And as the JDRF sums up in their final text, you can't "TxtStop2End" when you're living with diabetes.
You can take this text challenge throughout the month of November - click here for more details. As a person living with type 1 diabetes, I found it to be thankfully accurate, and a really effective eye-to-the-keyhole for someone without diabetes. I raise my coffee cup to the JDRF this morning - effective advocacy!!