It’s fan girl here again. I want to talk more about Bill Polonsky’s talk at the ADA meeting – specifically this:

Polonsky3This point had me thinking. A lot. We speak frequently about how diabetes is an invisible illness. And it is a lot of the time. This piece I wrote for The Glow last year really resonated with a lot of people with diabetes who thought that it was such a good representation of what life with diabetes is about that it was shared almost 4,000 times.

It’s invisible – we can’t see it. We rarely point to it. And you can’t walk down the street identifying the people with diabetes. (Although I like to think we sparkle a little brighter than the average person and have an aura of brilliance surrounding us, a rainbow above our heads and ride around on a unicorn. Just me?)

But I’m not sure that as a person with diabetes that I have ever weighed up the management aspects of diabetes against the (for want of a better term) return on investment.

ROI is such a big thing in our world. We expect some sort of return or reward for work we put in. Whether it be in our friendships or relationships or work or play. We do something and there is an underlying need to see something come back at us. We seem to expect acknowledgement or compensation and pats on the back for what we have put in.

There’s a problem with that expectation when it comes to diabetes. Because sometimes it doesn’t matter how much effort we put into our diabetes, the ROI is negligible. Not always – sometimes we see results and we can point to our efforts for the improvements. But sometimes – and unfortunately, a lot of the time – we get nothing back.

That all makes so much sense, so I’m not sure why I have never seen that before.  Bill Polonsky’s point was such an ‘Aha moment’ for me. I went away and kept thinking about it and started listing the reasons I give for eliminating self-care tasks of diabetes. And they all came down to versions of ‘Because it doesn’t matter what I do, I still get crap results.’

Is it an easy excuse? Maybe. But I ask those without diabetes this: how inclined would you be to keep doing something if you got nothing back in return? It’s why people leave jobs, or relationships or other situations. Not feeling that you are getting something in return for your work? You can walk away.

Of course, we can’t leave diabetes. So how do we keep going – keep up with the hassles of self-care – when the ROI can be so minimal. I don’t have the answers to that one, I’m afraid. I wish I did. I really do.

Throw back Thursday to this post from a few years ago with a meme – 30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know. Most of it is still applicable today.