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So there you are, sitting across from the doctor in the clinic, feeling pretty good about yourself because you have lost a couple of pounds since your last visit and blood sugar levels are improving somewhat. OK you have a bit of a way to go yet before you might qualify for ‘Diabetic of the Year’ Awards but you are happy enough with the progress you are making.

A rather exasperated doctor who you have never met before looks through your file, barely glances at your blood sugar levels in your diary, lifts his head, looks at you and says ‘Your HbA1c is too high, you need to get that down. Your cholesterol isn’t great either and you are overweight. You need to lose some more weight’.

Sound familiar? No acknowledgement for what you have achieved, but plenty for what you have not. You feel peeved off and unmotivated, he views you as ‘non-compliant’. A complete breakdown of communication and mistrust ensues on both sides. There is absolutely no person with or without diabetes who can thrive in a situation like that, but yet there is an expectation amongst the medical community that you should and you must. We keep scolding you on each visit and you keep come back for more.

Diabetes Insights approach to what counts as success in diabetes is the small things. It is not about the perfect HbA1c, cholesterol, weight loss, blood pressure etc because achieving all those makes you the perfect diabetic….right? Sorry to burst your bubble, but to be quite honest there is no such thing. They are guidelines, targets, based on research. They have no bearing on real life.

Success is not about being perfect, its about doing your best.

Success can sometimes come in the smallest of guises. It can be about taking the extra blood sugar after lunch time, so you can get the insulin to carb ratio right. Its about taking a snack before you collect your child from school so you won’t go hypo behind the wheel of a car. Its about going for the ten minute walk after dinner, not for diabetes, but just to clear your head, to avoid imploding at home and subsequently driving your blood sugars up with the stress of it all.

Success in diabetes is acknowledging all these small things, and having them recognized by others. That is an essential component of Diabetes Self-Management Education(DSME) and empowerment. Your definition of success and mine, are two very different things, but we must both find a common ground. You set your goals, what you want to achieve, no matter how small, and I help you to find your way to success. If it doesn’t happen we go back to the drawing board, and we keep trying, until you get there. But every step is acknowledged, no matter how small or insignificant, because its those small steps that make all the difference.

Why? Because success in made in inches not miles.