Quick Poll: Ever avoid checking your blood? Or getting a medical test?

Dr Gary
By Dr GaryCA Latest Reply 2014-11-04 06:31:01 -0600
Started 2014-10-20 12:51:10 -0500

Who wants bad news? I sure don’t. What about you?

It’s only human nature to avoid bad news. So let’s start here: If you sometimes have the urge go into avoidance mode when it comes to your health, you’re in good company. That is, you’re right there with the rest of us.

Recently on National Public Radio, NPR social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam discussed a recent study that showed that when a co-worker was diagnosed with breast cancer, other women who worked with her tended to avoid going for breast cancer screening, even when it was readily available and free of charge. Their avoidance was described with the term “information aversion” – that is, avoiding information because of the uncomfortable feelings it brings up.

And what about all those other conditions that healthcare experts tell us we should be getting screened for? Or those routine tests to monitor conditions that we have already been diagnosed with. Research has shown people avoid all kinds of routine testing.

It seems to me that we have similar conversations here on Diabetic Connect. For example, checking your blood can bring up a lot of feelings. Numbers within range are evidence that you are doing something right, following your diet and your treatment regimen. Great news. But if not? You may feel frustrated, or scared, and beat up on yourself for being a “failure.”

As a result, our minds may tell us to avoid that discomfort but giving us little messages like, “you can do it later,” or “you know you’re fine. Why ask for trouble?”

So you’d rather now know? Of course. But “I’d rather not know” may not be the healthiest attitude. As they say, “ignorance is bliss.” Until it isn’t.

I wrote an article awhile back on this topic. Here’s a link:

http://www.diabeticconnect.com/diabetes-infor...

So I’m wondering if you ever get hit by the urge to avoid. If so, do you find yourself postponing checking your blood? What do you do to talk yourself into it? Need some help?

Looking forward to hearing about how you approach avoidance (no pun intended)!


72 replies

Stuart1966
Stuart1966 2014-10-30 17:28:45 -0500 Report

Hello Dr. Gary,

What happens when you do the work required and yet the outcomes are the worst possible demons. As if sentient, or malevolent regardless of our vigilance and or zeal?

What then sire? I need to walk away for a while… my spirit is a charred smoking mass, my body broken… caught by flames I did not see anew.

Can one never walk away ?

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-10-30 22:29:50 -0500 Report

HI Stuart,

Nice to hear from you. And you bring up a really good point. Sometimes all that hard work doesn't seem to be paying off through results. And I can understand the feeling that you just want to walk away and give yourself a break.

I guess what I would have to say is that walking away can be a guarantee of not having success, and ushering in all kinds of negative consequences. While staying on the path, and staying compliant, means the possibility of being more successful.

This can also be a sign that some adjustments to your approach might be needed. I know I am probably preaching to the choir here.

I always enjoy reading your comments. Thank you!

Gary

Stuart1966
Stuart1966 2014-11-04 06:31:01 -0600 Report

What happens when the approach achieves breath-taking utter failure and teaches us doubt or worse?

Strapped in "correctly" (days, months, decades) but the car flew clean off the tracks anyway (sic a whole bunch of times). Are we glibly going to get back on the same blessed ride again and expect a different outcome? They have a name for that you know -wg- ?

My point, avoidance gets a bad rap, Im not remotely sure doing so is bad for us at times, Scars causal from the process itself, (because of it) are never friendly teachers.

Can avoidance never be respected I guess? Trying to figure many arenas out on this one. How to understand and express them well. Some purely philosophic, some intimately personal

Appreciate your patience as always sire. Thank you for asking the questions

MaxieFo
MaxieFo 2014-10-25 13:40:23 -0500 Report

I avoided getting a mammogram for three years after my sister was diagnoised with and later died from breast cancer. Like many others I decided I did not want to know. Eventually, I decided it was better to know and possibly be able to do something about it.

I have taken that same attitude with testing my blood sugar. I would rather know and make the necessary changes than not know and cause more problems to myself.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-10-26 18:53:24 -0500 Report

Hey MaxieFo,

Nice to see you. I appreciate your honesty here. What you described is a good example of how we put off medical testing. You are not alone in this, that's for sure.

And really glad you are staying on top of your blood sugar. You are absolutely right. When you know, then you can do something about it. That's the way to stay as healthy as possible.

Thanks!

Gary

rolly123
rolly123 2014-10-24 18:25:44 -0500 Report

I avoid health issue i havent had mamagram or women check up im avoiding getting my eye checked because sfraid i could loose my eyes i need reading glasses nuy in dollar store cant read without them say cant afford them which cant! Five years went for every test had bad news and ever since then afraid test again! My sugar i test if do bad i dont eat but if do good i eat
I have paranoid about my weight sugar not anything else keeping check my carbs do good then do real bad but my sugar r good so eating high carb today was wake up imy sugar was 60 this morning by four it was 200 ate carbs for lunch supper three cookies it was good topic dr gary ! Made me relize im afraid results so dont do it
Valerie

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-10-26 18:51:15 -0500 Report

Hi Valerie,

Nice to see you.

I want to give you some encouragement to keep up with those routine tests, as much as possible. That is the way to stay as healthy as possible.

I also encourage you to stay on top of checking your blood sugar, especially if you go off your diet at all. Make sure you are doing what you need to do to keep your blood sugar at healthy levels.

Glad this article helped. Stay in touch!

Gary

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-10-26 18:50:25 -0500 Report

Hi Valerie,

Nice to see you.

I want to give you some encouragement to keep up with those routine tests, as much as possible. That is the way to stay as healthy as possible.

I also encourage you to stay on top of checking your blood sugar, especially if you go off your diet at all. Make sure you are doing what you need to do to keep your blood sugar at healthy levels.

Glad this article helped. Stay in touch!

Gary

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-10-26 18:49:59 -0500 Report

Hi Valerie,

Nice to see you.

I want to give you some encouragement to keep up with those routine tests, as much as possible. That is the way to stay as healthy as possible.

I also encourage you to stay on top of checking your blood sugar, especially if you go off your diet at all. Make sure you are doing what you need to do to keep your blood sugar at healthy levels.

Glad this article helped. Stay in touch!

Gary

rolly123
rolly123 2014-10-26 20:01:54 -0500 Report

Dr Gary
Thanks for subject mon calling doc about colonaspy i was suppose have it was three week that secretary was suppose make app! Im checking on it also making eye examine thks valerie

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-10-26 18:49:49 -0500 Report

Hi Valerie,

Nice to see you.

I want to give you some encouragement to keep up with those routine tests, as much as possible. That is the way to stay as healthy as possible.

I also encourage you to stay on top of checking your blood sugar, especially if you go off your diet at all. Make sure you are doing what you need to do to keep your blood sugar at healthy levels.

Glad this article helped. Stay in touch!

Gary

TsalagiLenape
TsalagiLenape 2014-10-23 10:09:38 -0500 Report

Well since I am now using Levemir flex pen I am more towards checking my bg's. Now I am in a quandary. Due to knowing when my blood sugars are high and the side effects I deal with. So trying to remember what to do to get them down. Plus I am limited in my daily exercises. So if anyone wants to help please do. Thank you Hugs Dr.Gary

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-10-23 22:07:15 -0500 Report

Hi Tsalagi! Great to see you, as always! I am glad you are staying on top of your blood testing. Now, just finding more ways to get them back down. I am just wondering if you have talked with a diabetes educator about this. It might be a way to get some good suggestions. And of course, you are surrounded by experts right here? Thanks for checking in! Hugs to you, too. Gary

jayabee52
jayabee52 2014-10-23 23:18:04 -0500 Report

Experts? LoL! The definition of Expert: Ex = (latin) out of and in plumbing a spurt is a drip under presssure. LoL!

Pegsy
Pegsy 2014-10-22 18:49:50 -0500 Report

Never! If anything, I test to excess. I just have to know, LOL. To be honest I think this has been very helpful to me in learning what I can and cannot eat. My A1c is coming down nicely and I expect the next one in 3 months to be even better than the last one.

I am however procrastinating on the colonoscopy. I just do not want to endure the unpleasantness of it. I do not have a family history to be concerned about and I just would rather not. I know I will. Eventually. But I confess to procrastination on that.

roxanne bohnnow
roxanne bohnnow 2014-10-23 20:23:05 -0500 Report

I went in to have my colonoscopy in June of this year, the last time I had this done was back in 1991. Don't put this off. What they found in me were three huge polups and two of them were so huge that they had to be removed in sections. The biopsy came back Adnoma. For those who don't know what that means, it means pre cancer. So that means that I made it just under the wire. Yha Me. I may not always remember to do my blood testing, but when I do and I get a lower number I always say this is another penny for a treat later on. Just because I am a diabetic does not mean that I can never have a sweet treat, I am just saving up my lower points so that I can have something special. Today I had my lowest reading in 5 years.

roxanne bohnnow
roxanne bohnnow 2014-10-23 20:23:03 -0500 Report

I went in to have my colonoscopy in June of this year, the last time I had this done was back in 1991. Don't put this off. What they found in me were three huge polups and two of them were so huge that they had to be removed in sections. The biopsy came back Adnoma. For those who don't know what that means, it means pre cancer. So that means that I made it just under the wire. Yha Me. I may not always remember to do my blood testing, but when I do and I get a lower number I always say this is another penny for a treat later on. Just because I am a diabetic does not mean that I can never have a sweet treat, I am just saving up my lower points so that I can have something special. Today I had my lowest reading in 5 years.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-10-23 22:04:37 -0500 Report

Hey Roxanne, thanks so much for checking in. What a great example of the value of jumping on those tests when they are due. So glad you got this done! And glad you are staying on top of testing your blood. Always nice to get good news. That is an incentive right there. Congratulations on that low reading! Stay in touch! Gary

lilleyheidi
lilleyheidi 2014-10-22 02:44:20 -0500 Report

I'm being really bad about getting my Mamogram, i've postponed for way too long and my grandmother died of breast cancer.. Its been over 5 years since I've had my last one, and I'm supposed to have one yearly. Like you mentioned it is the fear. Ignorance is not always bliss for sure… I'm calling today to make that appointment, thanks for the shove in the right direction.
As for my blood sugar tests, I need to get a little bit better at them, and remember to take them at bed time and before dinner, the rest of the time i do test.
thanks.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-10-23 22:01:30 -0500 Report

Hi lilleyheidi! Thanks for checking in. That is a really good example of putting off a test. I know you are in good company, it's something many of us do. I put off my colonoscopy until my doctor nagged at me some more. So glad to hear you are making that appointment! And I hope you get those blood sugar tests on track. Take good care of yourself, my friend! Stay in touch with us! Gary

Lakeland
Lakeland 2014-10-21 19:43:16 -0500 Report

there are days when I don't want to check, so I make it a guessing game, guess high, then take it & since my guess was high, I do feel better & sometimes I'm very surprised it was way lower than I thought.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-10-23 21:54:56 -0500 Report

Hey Lakeland, I really appreciate your honesty here. But I am wondering if you can make it another kind of game where you either pleasantly surprise yourself or know you need to take action. The more you know, the more you can protect yourself from complications. Thanks for checking in! Gary

valentine lady
valentine lady 2014-10-21 09:39:57 -0500 Report

Hi Dr Gary,
I am glad that you brought up this subject. It does apply to me. In the beginning of my diabetes I didn't test regularly because
the reality was to much for me to handle but as time went on the reality set in and I started testing my BG a little more regular.
Now I test as regular as clock work. I know how important it is.
However, I went to my heart Dr the other day and took a real chewing out. I hadn'f been to him in 2 years. i won't make that mistake again. Somerimes i suppose you coulf say I am a procrastinator. One thing I need to seriously work on. Thank you for lisyenning.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-10-23 20:27:51 -0500 Report

HI Valentine lady!

Nice to see you! I think what your are describing is something I hear from my clients with diabetes. It's hard to face the idea of all those tests and then, as you said so well, reality sets in. Sounds like you answered the wake-up call and started taking good care of yourself. That's excellent!

Nobody likes to be chewed out by their doctor but that is a doctor who cares!

Thanks for checking in!

Gary

haoleboy
haoleboy 2014-10-20 19:38:26 -0500 Report

I would call myself a "well controlled " type 2 and as such I honestly don't test very frequently.
But I do have a confession … I am really dragging my heels on getting a colonoscopy scheduled. No real reason other than … well … it's a colonoscopy.
I have an appointment with my PCP in a few weeks and I know the subject is going to come up … guess I need to pull on my big boy pants and do the right thing.

Steve

roxanne bohnnow
roxanne bohnnow 2014-10-23 20:26:32 -0500 Report

I went in to have my colonoscopy in June of this year, the last time I had this done was back in 1991. Don't put this off. What they found in me were three huge polups and two of them were so huge that they had to be removed in sections. The biopsy came back Adnoma. For those who don't know what that means, it means pre cancer. So that means that I made it just under the wire.

roxanne bohnnow
roxanne bohnnow 2014-10-23 20:26:30 -0500 Report

I went in to have my colonoscopy in June of this year, the last time I had this done was back in 1991. Don't put this off. What they found in me were three huge polups and two of them were so huge that they had to be removed in sections. The biopsy came back Adnoma. For those who don't know what that means, it means pre cancer. So that means that I made it just under the wire.

roxanne bohnnow
roxanne bohnnow 2014-10-23 20:25:38 -0500 Report

I went in to have my colonoscopy in June of this year, the last time I had this done was back in 1991. Don't put this off. What they found in me were three huge polups and two of them were so huge that they had to be removed in sections. The biopsy came back Adnoma. For those who don't know what that means, it means pre cancer. So that means that I made it just under the wire. Yha Me. I may not always remember to do my blood testing, but when I do and I get a lower number I always say this is another penny for a treat later on. Just because I am a diabetic does not mean that I can never have a sweet treat, I am just saving up my lower points so that I can have something special. Today I had my lowest reading in 5 years.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-10-23 15:59:21 -0500 Report

Hey Steve, glad to hear you are so well controlled. That's excellent. As for the colonoscopy, I have had a couple of them. The prep is not so pleasant but a good way to lose a pound or two. The procedure itself provides a nice nap. A good example of test we want to just put off but you will be glad you got it out of the way. So don't wait! Gary

Kats49
Kats49 2014-10-21 18:18:10 -0500 Report

It is a so easy and painless…get it done ASAP…you are too valuable to lose to the disease. Needs to be done earlier than later.

Skatinlayton
Skatinlayton 2014-10-21 13:37:08 -0500 Report

Haolboy, not to worry. My doc put me semi out and I didn't remember a thing. Woke up a little grogy but no pain at all.

jayabee52
jayabee52 2014-10-21 18:03:50 -0500 Report

Howdy Layton
WELCOME to DC!

When I had to have a colo my experience was the same as yours. I don't mind the proceedure itself, it is the prepping for it which is a PITA!

God's best to you
James

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-10-23 15:57:11 -0500 Report

James, me too. My colonoscopies have provided a nice nap. But the preparation was not so nice, as you said!

Skatinlayton
Skatinlayton 2014-10-21 13:36:57 -0500 Report

Haolboy, not to worry. My doc put me semi out and I didn't remember a thing. Woke up a little grogy but no pain at all.

Skatinlayton
Skatinlayton 2014-10-21 13:36:41 -0500 Report

Haolboy, not to worry. My doc put me semi out and I didn't remember a thing. Woke up a little grogy but no pain at all.

Skatinlayton
Skatinlayton 2014-10-21 13:36:36 -0500 Report

Haolboy, not to worry. My doc put me semi out and I didn't remember a thing. Woke up a little grogy but no pain at all.

Skatinlayton
Skatinlayton 2014-10-21 13:36:21 -0500 Report

Haolboy, not to worry. My doc put me semi out and I didn't remember a thing. Woke up a little grogy but no pain at all.

Fairlawngirl
Fairlawngirl 2014-10-20 18:29:33 -0500 Report

I actually tend to check more and more times. Trying to manage pump after a work out. My sugar highs and lows! Last PM 31! No symptoms of hypoglycemia. Can be 200! Today-I have checked 5 times and another will be this PM at 9!

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-10-23 15:55:34 -0500 Report

Hello Fairlawngirl, I haven't seen you in awhile. Sounds like you are really on the case. That's great. I can understand why with all those highs and lows you need to check our blood sugar levels often. You are taking good care of yourself! Nice to be in touch. Gary

snuggles071
snuggles071 2014-10-20 17:51:14 -0500 Report

i often wonder why im testing mine 2 times a day first time in the morning and once before bed ive been diabetic for 4 years and my readings are pretty much the same but i keep taking and writing down a1c is 5.3 to 6.0

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-10-23 15:45:01 -0500 Report

Hey snuggles, nice to see you. It's great that you are staying with your testing routine. A good way to monitor yourself. You are doing pretty good. The work is paying off! Gary

msann
msann 2014-10-20 14:37:07 -0500 Report

dr.gary I just sometimes get tired of doing my bsl but I do but wish I didn't have to I am at 8.2 trying to get down to 7 have agreat day!!!

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-10-23 15:42:05 -0500 Report

Hey msann, nice to see you. I think it is normal to just a little tired of the whole self-care thing, that is human nature. But the rewards of staying on the path are worth all the work! I hope you reach your goal soon. Just keep up the work! Take good care of yourself! Gary

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-10-20 14:33:32 -0500 Report

Hi Dr. Gary,

When I was first diagnosed, I would do that because I didn't want to know if my numbers were higher than I thought they should be. I was living under the aspect of no news is good news.

I realized just how stupid that was because, this was the best way to determine how a particular food affected my blood sugar. It also made me realize that I could not fix the problem if I did not know about the problem.

Steve (Haoleoboy) asked a member how much they valued their life or health I don't remember which. He made a very valuable point and a life lesson. The way I see it is if you value your life and your health you will do what it takes to test your blood, eat properly and do what it takes to live a healthy and prosperous life. You can't do that if you avoid testing your blood glucose as you should or as needed.

I was sitting in Traffic Court when a woman told the Judge that she didn't know it was illegal to cut off people in two lanes of traffic to make a right turn. He told her ignorance of the law is no excuse and she had to pay the ticket and court cost plus get one point on her license. She caused a fender bender.

The same thing applies if you avoid testing because you don't want to know the bad news regarding. Ignorance of what your numbers are is no excuse. At the end of the day the only person you are hurting is yourself. If you are too high or are getting low, you can't fix the problem. In monitoring your numbers you can begin to see patterns that can be discussed with your doctors.

You and only you are responsible for your health. If you don't take care of medical problems, it is like everything else in life. The problem will continue until you decide to solve it. Part of diabetes management requires testing your blood glucose levels. It is better to know what your numbers are than to play Russian Roulette and not know if you are going high or low.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-10-22 08:44:30 -0500 Report

Hi Joyce,

I appreciate your honesty. I think the no news is good news attitude is human nature. But well said -- you can't fix the problem if you don't know about it.

That's a very good point. How much do you value your life? Once you answer that question, the decision to test becomes clearer. And a great example. Ignorance doesn't exempt you from having to follow the law, including the laws of self-care. A lesson for all of us.

The whole issue of responsibility -- hour by hour -- is something that I think separates diabetes from many other chronic conditions. As you have often said, it's up each person to take control of their health and do everything they can to stay healthy.

Thanks a lot!

Kats49
Kats49 2014-10-20 14:16:34 -0500 Report

I went to a all day festival last weekend…took my testing supplies with me..some how they didn't come home with me. I am literally LOST with out being able to check my numbers. Fortunately I have an appt with my Doctor on Tues

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-10-22 08:40:18 -0500 Report

Hi kats. Wow! That has to be frustrating as well as expensive. We're human and these things happen. I hope you were able to get it replaced without too much hassle and hardship. Take care!

denipink57
denipink57 2014-10-20 14:05:15 -0500 Report

i am the opposite. i test with every meal and when lower i test in between meals. i always want the new good or bad. mostly it is good with a few lower. this tells me that my walking program and low fat diet is working well. i am very grateful because i went an entire year not checking at all.

hope everyone is doing well. you are all in my prayers.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-10-22 08:35:31 -0500 Report

Denipink, that's great. The more you check, the more closely you can monitor and make adjustments. And the longer you wait, the more time any problems have to become bigger problems. Thanks!

karen7t2
karen7t2 2014-10-20 13:17:23 -0500 Report

I have downloaded an app. to help me keep better track of my readings and have tested in the mornings for two days straight. Hopefully, I will keep it up. I went to my doctor's for my three month chech and it's been four months and I haven't checked back and am a month overdue for my second check. I don't know what is wrong with me but I hate any appointments so I wait till I'm near dying before going .i am not liking my new Dr. as much as the one who retired; I dind she just blows me off when I ask for D help or any other help. Here in Canada it is near impossible to get a new Dr.

Thanks for listening.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-10-22 08:26:25 -0500 Report

Karen, what a great idea! I am still kind of getting oriented to the whole ap thing. Not quite there with using aps. But I keep hearing about great ones and thinking I need to take a look at that. I can understand that feeling of why don't I give it another month, and having a doctor you don't like doesn't help a lot. Sorry to hear she has been dropped into your lap. I hope you can find your way to a doc that is a little more humane. Take care!

RebDee
RebDee 2014-10-20 13:07:34 -0500 Report

I don't actually avoid taking my BS but in a related incident, last week I took my meter in for off-loading at my endocrinologist and the meter was offloaded and then shut off by the technician. I cannot get it to turn on again. Any suggestions? Haven't taken my BS since Thursday because of the shut off meter.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-10-22 08:23:37 -0500 Report

Hi RebDee, wow, I hope you get this fixed soon. I suspect you don't want to get that go on for too long. Be careful! Take good care of yourself! Gary

Kats49
Kats49 2014-10-20 14:19:16 -0500 Report

Call your Doctors office and have them tell you how. I take it you don't have the instruction booklet any more..or you can go to the manufacturers website and see if you can find the info there

Kats49
Kats49 2014-10-20 14:18:33 -0500 Report

Call your Doctors office and have them tell you how. I take it you don't have the instruction booklet any more..or you can go to the manufacturers website and see if you can find the info there

Gabby
GabbyPA 2014-10-20 13:03:46 -0500 Report

Yep, This is the biggest form of denial for me. I get so frustrated so I just don't look. It's not a good practice at all. Not recommending it in any way. Just being honest. Who likes feeling down when you are working hard to make it right, and it's not so right? Not me, for sure.

There is nothing bliss about ignorance in any situation. There is no ability to change when we are ignorant. And while it's kind of an excuse...it cannot continue once you know better. So I grab my meter and stick my finger...in fact. I think I will do it right now.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-10-22 08:20:24 -0500 Report

Gabby, I also hear that a lot from clients. They tell themselves they are doing everything right and they don't want to be brought down by bad news. Well said, there is no bliss in ignorance. And if it is bad news, then the sooner you know the sooner you can get back on track before it gets worse. Nice to see you! Gary

PetiePal
PetiePal 2014-10-20 12:55:40 -0500 Report

I can't say when other people are diagnosed but I know at a few points when my meds seemed not to be working as well or I was getting higher than normal morning sugars, I'd avoid testing sometimes because it felt dehabilitating like I was doing something wrong. In fact I think stress was a factor at some point because my diet was pretty good and the control should have been there…and I'm fairly young for beta cells to be worn out/dying etc…

Test early test often though no matter what the results might say. You're only chance is to know well what's going on.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-10-21 23:01:44 -0500 Report

Hey PetiePal,

You said it well! That feeling like you're doing the right things but you might get more bad news so why ask for it. And stress can certainly play a role.

And absolutely, you're only chance is to know what's going on so you can do something about it.

Nice to see you!

Gary

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