More Than a Number
For as long as I can remember, numbers have meant a great deal to me. I had to pass classes dealing with algebra, and I had to maintain a certain grade point average to get into college. But I never knew how important numbers truly are until I was diagnosed with diabetes at age 20.
After my diagnosis, I dreaded checking my glucose meter. It seemed like a wolf that was chasing me down a long road to God-knows-where. That pesky little number on the meter followed me everywhere I went. It followed me home from the gym. It followed me from class to class. It followed me at the grocery store as I looked at fresh doughnuts that were divine but probably not the best food choice for someone newly diagnosed with diabetes. At some point, that number began to define me. I wasn’t me if my blood glucose was 176 mg/dl, but I couldn’t recognize myself at 64 mg/dl, either.
As I tried to find that beautiful numerical balance, I started to realize that I couldn’t let the numbers take over my life. I wasn’t perfect, but I was trying. And I needed to look up from the screen of my glucose meter and enjoy the world around me.
So I decided to treat this new journey as an adventure sprinkled with motivation and a new purpose—to better myself—so that I could be a role model to others and put my public health studies into practice. I took up activities that contributed not only to the maintenance of my diabetes but also to my happiness. I began hiking. I took Zumba lessons. I began to let my numbers serve as a guideline instead of some kind of perfection I was hoping to attain.
Although life is more than a number, one number stands out to me today: two.
It has been two years since my diagnosis, and although I have had my ups and downs, all that matters is that I have tried. In the end, aiming for constant perfection isn’t as fulfilling as living a life full of passion and service to the millions of people who refuse to let a number or disease define who they are or what they are capable of.
Dragana Golub recently graduated from the University of Nevada in Reno with a degree in public health. Her goal is to become a doctor so that she can use her experience managing her diabetes to inspire others to lead healthier lives.
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