I’ve participated in diabetes online forums for many years. One idea almost universally accepted and cited is YDMV or “your diabetes may vary.” I prefer a pump and continuous glucose monitor to manage my blood glucose while you like multiple daily injections and a fingerstick meter. I like to limit my carbohydrates to 75 grams per day and you target 150 grams per day while we both enjoy similarly good control.
We acknowledge that human physiology, psychology, personal circumstances exist along a spectrum and the mutual recognition of YDMV allows us all to see that there are many facets of the truth of living with diabetes. Does the YDMV mantra, however, relieve of us responsibility when we choose not to step up our diabetes game, knowing deep down that we could and should?
In my case, many years ago I followed the contentious low-carb debate on this site and others. Remnants of that debate still arise from time to time more recently but a great deal of the intensity has diminished. I think the YDMV aesthetic provided a way to unify people on both sides of that debate.
I lurked on the TuD site for about a year before I signed up for an account and posted my first comment. While a lot of emotional energy was expended on both sides, I eagerly read each thread because I found a strong attraction to the idea. But I didn’t want to give up my way of eating that included bagels, bananas, and bakery goods. I had bought into the “carb-up, shoot-up” way of thinking popular in the diabetes medical advice of the '80’s and '90’s.
I was active physically, often riding my bicycle hundreds of miles each week. But my glucose variability was huge. Almost every day I went above 200 mg/dL and below 60 mg/dL. I didn’t use a CGM back then and I was lucky to avoid many close calls. With a strong independent streak, most of my bicycle riding was solo. I also lived alone.
During this time as I read websites like TuD, I took refuge in the YDMV argument and continued my carb-happy way of eating. When I received a diabetes complication diagnosis six years ago, I decided it was time to expend some willpower and give the lower-carb way of eating a trial.
My lower-carb eating efforts, like the efforts of many before me, were met with unbelievably good glucose performance. My variability came way down along with my glucose average. I also experienced fewer lows that were not as deep and didn’t last as long as before.
Thinking about the YDMV truth, I stumbled on a cognitive dissonance that took me some time to resolve. YDMV is as true as the differences between human beings. Yet it has another face that I found equally true and a little unsettling. Someone resisting change, especially change to something as fundamental to our existence as eating, could simply rationalize that while low-carbing might be the best thing for some people with diabetes, it could not work for them because their diabetes was different from others. YDMV!
I fully recognize the diversity in our experience. Children, awash in intermittent growth hormones, experience diabetes differently than a mature adult. Women face unique glucose challenges due to their monthly hormonal cycle, much different than men. People with diseases in addition to diabetes must deal with special circumstances not shared with those free of a comorbidity. In the end, however, we share some basic experiences since we’re all human beings with diabetes.
While I respect the truth that YDMV rests upon, I now conclude there is another facet to this truth. YDMV may be employed to avoid taking steps that could help with a diabetes treatment plan. I know this because that is what I lived for many years. I come to this forum to find other individuals who are like me and get my struggles. I know that we are separate human beings with our own unique differences, but in the end, we are all human beings sharing the same disease. I come here mostly due to what we share, not what we don’t.