No Small Change

I pay attention when something sticks in my head. I guess that’s the nature of it sticking in my head, right? It won’t leave me alone until I do something about it.

Last week Kerri posted on Facebook about Meri’s beautiful story called “There is no such thing as small change.” It’s an old blog entry, but it’s one I could read over and over again forever. Talented storytellers tell tales that stand the test of time, and the passion is tangible with Meri and her blog.

It was the title that stuck with me.

There is no such thing as small change.

Even before reading, my brain was filling in – there’s no such thing as a small change in diabetes.

I pictured Meri and her family navigating diabetes over the years. The ebbs and flows, ups and downs, strong, victorious triumphs and weak moments where they’re all just holding it together (we’ve all been there). Then I pictured some external force like an insurance plan or formulary change pushing a “small change” into their diabetes management routine.

Small change, you say?


People outside of daily diabetes management don’t seem to understand this. Or maybe they do and don’t care? Or perhaps they do care, but there are things out of their control influencing these decisions? Or maybe it’s wholly financial? Who knows. Things are often way more complicated than what’s evident at surface level.

But no matter the change, it’s disruptive. It causes worry and concern, and we have to be on high alert for negative consequences. Being on high alert takes a lot of energy, and it’s incompatible with the routine of life!

What’s the best case? The change improves the daily routine and gives more time and energy for life.

What’s acceptable? It’d be alright if the change fits right in and doesn’t make things worse. But you have to acknowledge the energy cost of being on high alert until trust is earned.

What’s not acceptable? The change makes things worse, and you have to put life on pause to figure things out again. Can you put life on hold? I can’t. Neither can anyone I know. But that’s what’s it’s like when someone outside of my diabetes makes a decision that fucks my shit up.

Adaptable and resilient

People with diabetes are among the most flexible and resilient people in the world. I could argue that’s a gift from diabetes, but I carry a lot of frustration that we have to be so adaptable and resilient. On the other hand, I’m also ridiculously proud of us. We don’t recognize the strength we have, and I want to do better with that. I wish for all of us to do better with that. We are amazing. Really.

And change can be useful. I’m thankful that I’m not using the same tools and techniques I did years ago.

But it’s a different situation when I choose to make a change, and I decide to explore different options.  I still have to go on high alert and the energy cost is still there, but it’s easier to swallow when the change is on my terms.

But never forget – it still costs energy.

I promise I will always be an advocate for recognizing there is no small change in diabetes and will push everyone I work with to do the same.

The kicker (and spoiler)

My eyes and brain process Meri’s blog title (“No Small Change”) from Kerri’s Facebook post and there’s a strong feeling of resonance. All of the thoughts I just wrote about fly through my head in the split seconds it takes to load the page. And it’s a beautiful story that draws me in from start to finish. No surprise there.

But it’s got nothing to do with what I talked about here. It’s an inspiring piece about, in Meri’s words, “if we all do something little, our little efforts unite into a tidal wave of help. (for IDF’s Life for a Child)” Heh! Not what I was thinking about at all. Worth every second of time I spent reading it and a cause I support. Just an entirely different topic. Hence this post.

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Scott K. Johnson

Patient voice, speaker, writer, advocate, and Senior Community Manager at Blue Circle Health. Living life with diabetes and telling my story. All opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent my employer’s position. Read more…

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