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Warning: This is one of those posts where I’m going to dig deep inside of my head, grab a collection of thoughts, and try to make some sense of them. It’s completely unstructured, and as I start typing, I have no idea how it will end. My grade-school English teachers hate that sort of stuff.

It’s about advocacy. Or more specifically, being an advocate.

It’s a word I struggle with all the time. I can’t quite understand what it means or what obligations come with the name. Is it a role that a person chooses? Or is it a title bestowed by others based on how he or she is perceived?

Is it a privilege? A responsibility? An achievement? Maybe it’s just a self-proclamation — a sash that anyone can pick up at their local 99-cent store and sling over their shoulder. (Before you ask: I’ve never actually seen a sash that reads “Advocate” — it’s just a metaphor, and a poor one at that. But it does give me an idea…).

The term gets tossed around a lot and, to be honest, I’ve been reluctant to include myself in the group. The reason I came to the ‘net to talk about diabetes was simply that — to talk. To exchange thoughts and ideas with people like me on-line, because I really didn’t know of other Type-1’s off-line. I sought companionship and understanding, and maybe an exchange of some tricks-of-the-trade along the way.

When I sought my way into this online community, my goal was to become one friend in an established circle of friends. That was expectation, and to some extent, I’ve accomplished that. Saving the world was never on my mind.

Doing anything on a grand scale was not my ambition; I’m the type who tends to avoid the spotlight, not attract it. Never did I consider myself an Advocate.

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100,000 drops of blood

I’ve got a strange feeling that I’ve been here before.

Yesterday on Diabetes Daily, Ginger Vieira calculated how many finger-pricks she had subjected herself to.  Her estimate: 27,375.

Naturally, I did the same estimate for myself.  Of course, the math is far from perfect, as I started out without hardly any blood tests at all in the first year following diagnosis, and now I’m generally averaging 12 or so per day, but since we’re estimating, I believe what you are about to read is perfectly valid.
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Ten strips a day

Ten strips a day. Those are my directions: “Test 10 times a day as directed”.

I shouldn’t complain.  Ten strips a day isn’t really bad.  Some people have insurance plans that cover a lot less.  Some don’t even have insurance (that should all change in the United States in a couple of years!).  And as we all know, strips are too expensive!

But everyone who has a prescription has a prescribed “per-day” amount.  And, in most cases, that is a perfect amount for a perfect day.  Maybe the doctor says to test before meals, before bed, and before exercise.  Five a day.  Or maybe the prescribed order also states to test before driving, two hours after meals, upon waking up, and once overnight.

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