Living by the numbers and a random diabetic fact!

Do you ever feel like your life is ruled by numbers? Like a walking calculator? Like you are a blood glucose machine and not a person?

I know I do. And I know a lot of people I speak to have also felt like this. Some people tell us that they feel like all their doctor ever talks about is their HbA1c rather than how they are feeling, what has been going on for them.

I remember once being on a treadmill and looking down to see “6” and thinking “oh that is good!”, as my brain is so used to seeing digital numbers and equating that to my Blood Glucose!

Sad I know.

I also am so used to counting carbs that a lot of the time I think, ” I will have a slice of 15 grams of carbohydrate with some Vegemite please”, instead of a slice of bread. Food has become a series of numbers.Something I have to count, monitor and restrict, rather than a pleasure. Sometimes it is something I hate. Sometimes I have to stuff lollies and glucose into my mouth when I can not take anymore. Sometimes I am STARVING and my Blood Glucose Monitor says NO.

Does this sound familiar?

I am not sure if I am capable of switching this number thing off, of taking a bit of time away from it.  I worry that if I do, I will just feel ill. So I keep going with it.

Sometimes, no matter what I do, the numbers don’t play fair. Then I have my quiet (or loud!) moment of frustration, usually all alone, crunch some numbers and work out  a plan of attack.

1+1 definitely does not = 2 when it comes to diabetes.

I hated maths at school, all except Algebra, which seems like an art to me with all the thinking about what the possibilities may be for the answers. I liked the whole fact seeking mission kinda thing.

Perhaps I should have become a mathematician. But then perhaps, I already am.

Please share your thoughts about living by the numbers



And a bit of a fact – I just found out when searching for blood glucose monitor images that “geezer” as we call him, Dominic Littlewood, who stars here in Cowboy Builders (one of my fave shows, yes I am a home renno show tragic) has type 1 diabetes! My life is made 🙂


  1. KellyD on August 26, 2013 at 10:50 am

    I love that Dominic is a type1 – thanks for sharing.
    The numbers – hmm maybe its like when someone grows up say in Australia speaking English then moves to a new country and learn and speaks that language – they might still dream in English and translate things back to english in their head. I dont see it as a problem, it is what it is.
    the numbers I dont like are the 18! 20! screaming back at you out of know where – I’ve gotten this the last couple of days, I think its the new Levemir pen I just started a couple of days ago (strangely around the same time) opened a new one today – see how we go. Happened to be talking to an educator this morning and she suggested that I might have a low level virus – I think I;m right though as my sugar goes down easily when I take my Novoraid.

    • Helen-Edwards on August 26, 2013 at 12:36 pm

      thanks for sharing Kelly, I also love that fact!
      And yes you are right, it is just the way it is and I think that is a good way to stop yourself falling into a black hole. I find that too with a virus, have had similar the past few days and think I am fighting something off.

  2. Ian on August 26, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    The numbers don’t play fair. You can be going along quite happily for a couple of months with the numbers going up and down a bit but slowly trending down, and you start seeing those magic 5.5’s. Then for no apparent reason the fasting average goes up into the mid sixes!

    I know there is usually some underlying reason for it: stress, physical or mental, but sometimes it is not obvious. So you go through the frustration of being a little bit stricter, and then, when whatever it is is resolved, the levels start dropping slowly again…

    But, yes, you can get too fixated on those numbers.

    • Helen-Edwards on August 26, 2013 at 12:34 pm

      so true Graham and for people with type 2 diabetes the progressive nature of it can be a game changer when things suddenly change.

  3. helwild on August 26, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    as the Mum of a Type 1 my life was ruled by numbers, and the awful balancing act of trying to support my teenage child without being a Nazi or a Spy. She grew up and took most of that responsibility off my shoulders. Though not all of the worry. Then when I was diagnosed with T2 myself the numbers came back, and a first because of panic at the diagnosis, and my previous experience as mum, I tested madly and inappropriately frequently. Then I settled into thinking, if my HbA1c is ok, I don’t need to test much in between, and that’s where I am right now. But I know in the back of my mind that as T2 is progressive, unless I don’t live a long life, the numbers will crowd back into my life eventually, with the insulin. And I love The Geezer too! I often wonder how he manages his T1 diabetes, and how he continues to look so fit and healthy after long days of up to 12 hours just sitting in a car on an ‘obbo’, waiting for a Cowboy Builder to show his face! LOL Maybe he goes for a jog around the block off camera.

    • Helen-Edwards on August 26, 2013 at 3:39 pm

      thats so true helwild about parent’s also having a life ruled by numbers. Thanks for bringing that up. And the story about the progressive nature of type 2. Would love to see him off camera!

  4. jenni on August 26, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    well said,thought it was just me that thinks those sort of things nice to know im not alone

    • Helen-Edwards on August 26, 2013 at 3:38 pm

      thanks Jenni! It really does help to know you are not the only one 🙂

  5. Alex on December 24, 2013 at 11:13 am

    Numbers. I’m surrounded by them.

    When I was walking across the Sahara, I was restricted to 3 types of food while on the move. This was because of a restriction on the weight of the pack, a requirement for a minimum number of calories per day, and of course enough carbohydrate to keep me going.

    Even though it sounds extreme, the foods that I had decided on through my training experience were the fruit pulp strips (about 17 grams each), sports gels (yeah, I know. Almost pure glucose, but 24 grams of king hit) and almonds, for variation of texture and flavour and to keep the teeth clean.

    So every 30 minutes it would be a fruit strip, followed by a swig of water and an almond, then on the hour and a half mark a gel, followed by a big swig of water and an almond and a salt tablet.

    The insulin dosage in the morning depended on how many hours I’d be walking that day, based on 4km per hour.

    So the whole event for me was based on numbers, which had been worked out with a sports dietician and 2 years of trial and error. I felt sometimes that I was the embodiment of a big mathematical formula, the answer for which was the finish line.

    The amazing thing is that the numbers worked.