My Diabetes, My Piano.


My cousin Glenda posted the following on Facebook: “That’s life! Thank you, God because during the white keys you have been there, but during the black keys you have sustained me! Sometimes playing a beautiful melody and other times out of tune, but all with a purpose.” Immediately my mind started racing.

Life with diabetes is very similar to piano keys. Glenda’s sister, Grisel, replied, “I don’t know much about music … but I do know that the keys are identified as flats and sharps… How can someone join sounds together to create a melody if the keys are not marked?…. That’s why some keys are white, others are black I’d assume.”

Whoever wrote that message was inspired by the experiences of life: some good, which enrich our spirit, and others “bad”, those that make us shed tears and cause us pain.

We have all gone through both kinds of experiences.  The biggest problem for a person is that they insist on not looking at reality and reality is that there are white moments and black moments in our life.

The difference is made by LOVE. A word to the wise.

The White Keys in Diabetes

To eat healthily. Follow a personalized diet plan adapted to the needs of the person living with diabetes. This key is basic because it is vital to eat well to maintain or achieve an adequate weight and above all to reach our blood glucose level goals.

To stay active. Establish a plan of constant physical activity and according to your preferences. We now know that it helps normalize blood glucose levels and contributes to metabolic control. Walking 30 minutes a day at least five minutes a week is enough to see results. This key also helps you sleep better and relax.

To measure blood glucose levels: Keeping a daily record of your blood glucose values is a great tool to collaborate with your doctor and diabetes educator. Adequate monitoring allows you to modify your treatment based on the tracking of blood glucose fluctuations and it helps you to know how your body reacts to food, physical activity, your emotions and even when you are sick.

To take your medications: Oral antidiabetic drugs and insulin support blood glucose level management. It is necessary to know your medications for diabetes and the effects they produce in your body and to obey the suggested intake schedules.

To learn to face the daily challenges of living with diabetes: Diabetes education is your best tool to empower yourself. A person who knows their body and knows their diabetes reduces their possibility of developing complications and increases their likelihood of having a better quality of life.

To have a positive attitude and adapt to living with diabetes: Relax, accept and include YOUR diabetes to YOUR life to learn to live better with it.

To reduce risks: Do not smoke, limit alcohol consumption (or if you can avoid it, do so!), check your feet every day, check your eye health every year, get vaccinated against influenza annually, learn to detect, manage and prevent high or low blood glucose, visit your doctor at least every three months, visit your dentist or dental health specialist at least once a year and find a diabetes educator.

The Black Keys in Diabetes

Denial: I can not believe I have diabetes.” When we are first diagnosed with diabetes, we may be puzzled, confused. Some people even convince themselves that the diagnosis is wrong and that it can not be true. This is dangerous because it can lead to refusing to take the right steps to manage diabetes. Denial can also occur later, when you carry out your management plan. Some people make progress in the treatment of diabetes, but then return to a state in which information and changes in lifestyle become too much of a burden.

Fear. Diabetes is frightening at first because it is something new and you probably don’t know much about this condition. You are not sure of what will happen next. How will it affect your mind and your body? How serious is the disease? And the complications? All these concerns are expected to rise.

To have negative emotions doesn’t mean you have “bad” emotions. All emotions are legitimate and you have to accept them. The bad thing is to only acknowledge the behavior that causes the emotion, and what we do with the emotions, but not to the emotion itself. Emotions, both positive and negative, are psychophysiological reactions that we all experience in certain circumstances, helping us to adapt to the environment. The black keys hinder your performance or the way you carry out the task, so controlling them will bring you many benefits.

The black keys of the piano are called alterations, and that is all they are: the sharps and flats of the piano.

The white keys of the piano are called natural. They produce a natural note when pressed, unlike a sharp or a flat. Throughout history, there have been different types of pianos, but the most common are the grand piano and the vertical or upright piano.

Decide which piano you will be. How can you join the sounds to create a melody when the keys are not marked?

Whoever wrote these lines was inspired by the experiences of living with diabetes: some good ones, enriching our spirit and our body, and other “bad” ones, which make us shed tears and produce pain.  The biggest problem for a person, as I mentioned before, is that they insist on not looking at reality, and the reality of what it means to live with diabetes. Let the white keys be a natural and organic part of your life. 

WRITTEN BY Betsy Rodriguez , POSTED 04/30/19, UPDATED 12/12/22

Betsy Rodriguez, nurse, diabetes educator, senior public health consultant, pancreas mom and person with diabetes. She works at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the Diabetes Division as a senior consultant in public health.