To Each His Own

Making the most of a new year's resolution.

Karen HargraveBy Karen Hargrave-Nykaza

Editor's Note: While this columnist is no longer writing for and we have ceased to update the information contained herein, there is much to be read here that is still applicable to the lives of people with diabetes. If you wish to act on anything you learn here, be sure to consult your doctor first. Please enjoy the column!

January 2010 — With a new year comes a new year's resolution, and many are related to diabetes. Our son struggles to have "good" blood sugar readings on a regular basis, hoping to keep his A1C in a normal range. But as a 13-year-old boy, testing and bolusing the perfect amount every time he eats is not always possible. And even when it is, the result is not always what we expect it to be. We just had his quarterly check up and were told that he needs to get his numbers down. His nurse explained to him that he is doing all of the work; testing about 12 times a day and bolusing the correct amounts. But there is one thing that is missing from his self care: for him to track the patterns that he sees at different times of the day. So it is time for him to get in the habit of keeping better track of those patterns, and changing his basal rates and insulin sensitivity ratio accordingly based on those patterns.

What makes this so difficult for him is the same thing that makes sticking to a new year's resolution so difficult: doing the work to make the changes, and turning those changes into habits that last. Many people can choose to make a new year's resolution and not take it seriously. They can hope to accomplish it but if they don't, it might not make a big difference. They can give the resolution up and not really think about it. But for someone with diabetes, the resolution to manage their diabetes better is one they can't (or at least shouldn't) give up on. If they do, they are directly contributing to their health in a negative way. I hate how much responsibility that is for someone who is only 13. I can't do it for him either, which I also hate.

As much as I would prefer him not having to grow up so quickly or needing to take so much responsibility for his diabetes, he does need to have a lot of responsibility for his own choices related to his diabetes. And as much as many people along the way have encouraged us to keep him in a bubble and take the control out of his hands, doing that won't help him learn to make and keep his own choices. The choices, habits and consequences all have to be his own whether he is 13 or 30. He has been on track to growing to a height of 6'2" for the past 2 years. The day his doctor first told him that a couple of years ago, she also told him about a patient of hers who had robbed himself of 5" of height because he wasn't managing his diabetes. It made a huge impression on Joel and he keeps that in mind as he tries to keep his numbers where they should be. At this most recent appointment, his doctor remarked to him that his growth had slowed way down and part of it could be from his higher numbers. Hopefully knowing that will help motivate him to get his numbers back where they should be. I can remind him and encourage him to do everything that he needs to do, but the resolution has to be his own.

Read more of Karen Hargrave's columns here.

dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.


Last Modified Date: July 12, 2013

All content on is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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by Brenda Bell
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