Thank you so much to everyone who has sponsored me so far. I know there will be much more to come too. You can go to my donations page and give to VHL UK/Ireland by clicking here.
Targets are all the rage. We want to monitor and measure everything. We see it in schools, in hospitals, in the workplace and even in the church. It’s certainly something that people with medical conditions like VHL have to get used to – constant testing and measuring and monitoring.
I’ve had to get used to it too as a diabetic. Several times a day I test my blood sugar levels and am given a number. If it’s between 4 and 8 I feel good – that’s a success. If it’s outside of those figures I can’t help thinking I’ve failed and I agonize over what I’ve done wrong. Did I miscalculate my carbs? Or underestimate my activity? Did I have one too many pints last night? What was hiding in that sauce? Sometimes I can find no reason and that’s even more frustrating.
My healthcare team at the hospital have been great and have given me a new bit of kit to measure my blood sugars constantly while I’m walking Hadrian’s Wall. Hopefully that will minimise the risk of hypos and allow me to respond quickly to problems so I feel like less of a failure.
For my 40th birthday my mum has bought me another bit of technology, a Fitbit Charge 2, and she has very kindly given it to me in advance so that I can use it in my preparation for the walk4andy. I feel like my 13 year old daughter did when she got her new phone last week! So many exciting features, so many more numbers to count and measure – my heart rate, steps, calories burnt or floors climbed. But I worry too that I’m just setting myself up for more failure if I keep insisting on measuring myself in this way. Aren’t I more than my HbA1c or cholesterol or Body Mass Index or my monthly income or school grades for that matter?
If we are measuring so we can celebrate progress, that’s great, and it’s definitely good to be able to see how much money is being raised for VHL. But there are lots of things that can’t be measured. I remember as a child worrying about how I could love both my parents and my brother the same, as if I had a limited amount of love to share out. I cried with relief the day I realized that wasn’t the case. I was free to just keep loving, confident that the well would never run dry. The things that count can’t be counted.