“Micro” highs and lows (they’re not really all the same)

More thinking on what a snapshot of diabetes data means to me – this time on ‘micro’ highs or lows. @danamlewis #DIYPS http://bit.ly/1lt2ijE

I went to take a snapshot of my 24 hour CGM graph, because I was pleased with the outcome of the past 24 hours: no major lows or highs. According to the picture, it’s a “no hitter” (not hitting the high or low lines). However, I have the high alarm set to 170 right now, so to me knowing that I peaked around 150 overnight, including the slow crawl up to it, means it wasn’t a true no-hitter.

But, isn’t it still worth celebrating? No major overnight alarms to wake me up. No juicy juice or temp basals or reduced sleep or waking up feeling like I was dehydrated and apt to develop ketones. Diabetes, for a day, wasn’t a big deal. Isn’t this the ultimate goal of living with diabetes – living well, and not letting it stop us from living our lives and doing what we’re striving to do?

I tweeted the CGM picture with this caption:

Because it’s true. A 400 and 121 are both technically, medically speaking both “high” and “highs”. But are they the same? No.

(And same goes for any single data point – 121 could be flat, going up, or sliding down – the trend is what matters, regardless of what FDA has agreed to at this point in time. )

So, I’ve decided to categorize things as “micro” highs and lows when I’m sliding slightly below my comfortable range (like floating in low 80s or 70s and feeling low symptoms) or rising above what’s “normal” (80-120 is burned into my brain as normal), but may not warrant taking a picture as a “high”.

Semantics? Maybe. But as we talk about what these numbers represent, our ability and willingness to have a conversation about them online, including defeating data-shaming, I think it’s worth continually reframing and gaining more perspective on what diabetes data means to each of us.

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