A Disease of Little Decisions

Diabetes is such a unique condition.  While the basics are the same for all of us living with type 1, and many of those living with type 2, our bodies are all very different, and we all have to adopt different management techniques.

I think that everyone being different makes it harder to deal with.  Nobody can tell you what to do, only what they have done and learned through much trail and error.  There is a lot of uncertainty involved with that, and a lot of time and energy (both mental and physical) is needed to figure it out for your body.

Think about all of the decisions you make during the day about your diabetes.  Are they big decisions (such as chemotherapy or radiation or surgery)?  Or are they little decisions (such as eating those extra few crackers or not, with or without cheese)?

For me, it is a lot of little decisions.  A lifetime of them in fact.  What to eat?  How much to dose?  I’m playing ball later, do I eat more or reduce my insulin?  Both?  I could go on and on with this – you all know the drill.  It is little decisions all day and night long.

I’ve been thinking about these little decisions a lot lately, and they cut both ways.  If they are such little decisions, shouldn’t they be easy to decide in a positive direction?  Or because they are little decisions are they easier to blow off?  Maybe a little of both.

Related to this, I was watching a TED talk last night.  This one was Peter Donnelly, an Oxford mathematician, talking about statistics and the common mistakes humans make in interpreting them.  A few things he said (at about 19:13) really resonated with me.

it’s very well documented that people get things wrong, they make errors of logic in reasoning with uncertainty“, and “we are not good at reasoning with uncertainty“, and “it is something we are bad at“.

Wow.  There is nothing certain about all of the decisions we make through the day.  And here is a Very Smart Person talking about how we as humans are not good at reasoning (the mental powers of forming conclusions) when uncertain.

In some ways this explains a lot!  It’s not that I’m extra dumb when it comes to getting it right with my diabetes – but rather my makeup as a human being is not very well equipped to reason with uncertainty!

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Scott K. Johnson

Patient voice, speaker, writer, advocate. Living life with diabetes and telling my story. Patient Success Manager, USA for mySugr (All opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent the position of my employer).

Diagnosed in April of 1980, I recognize the incredible mental struggle of living with diabetes. Read more…