Do you know how frustrating it is to spend every ounce of emotional, mental and physical energy each day caring for your health and still not get it right? If you also live with diabetes, you most certainly do. I saw my endocrinologist yesterday for my quarterly visit. My A1c the last time I saw him in September was the lowest it's been in quite a while (and I think the second to lowest ever?!). I literally jumped for joy and was bouncing off the walls when I received the news. I even posted the results to social media, something I (purposefully) rarely do.
Of course a lot of hard work went into it. But it felt fantastic to have an A1c that matched the level of effort I put into my health. I was hoping and had great expectation that the blood I had drawn for my A1c yesterday would at least be the same as September's, if not maybe lower?! I always like to be optimistic about these sorts of things...
I shared my enthusiasm with my beloved endocrinologist. As he reviewed the printouts from my Dexcom continous glucose (CGM) monitor, he was quick to say it did not look like my A1c would be what it was last time and would most likely be higher. What!? How could he so flippantly say that? I was a little surprised. Does he really know what he is saying?! (I can't imagine what my face looked like here. Haha).
A lot of hard work and many months of diligent self-care go into my A1c. His assessment seemed premature and was only looking at about 10 days of blood sugars. Although a small handful of hard days fell on me during this time, my blood sugars the last three months did not hang out in the 300 range for hours on end more than a few times.
I felt a little perturbed and reminded him that he cannot just go by what the Dexcom CGM reports say! After all, some of those sensors are just not accurate! That it would be wise of him to also review my meter report before coming to this conclusion. Surely the handful of recent highs along with the inaccuracies of a piece of technology were just putting an unfair glow on what my endocrinologist was making judgments on.
Although his thoughts did not match my level of optimism, I was not going to let it drown out all of the hard work I've put in. Like those times when....
I use every bit of strength in my body to get on the elliptical at 9:00pm at night so as not to miss my workout that day...
Freezing the healthy homemade cookies I make to ensure I eat no more than one cookie per day max while making sure to skip days of cookie eating in between (both easier said than done but the freezer trick has worked out brilliantly!).
And all those darn blood sugar checks (my fingers are tender!), the careful analysis of foods, insulin amounts and of course the injections that don't end -- even little 1/2 and 1 unit ones trying to delicately balance my blood sugars into perfect range. And let's not forget overnights... Getting up to test my blood sugar, silence CGM alarms, eat, eat again, take insulin, go to the bathroom, etc.
A few hours after getting home from my endocrinology appointment yesterday the emails starting coming in from the clinic one by one. A urinalysis to make sure my kidneys are okay. A lipid panel the lab decided to run even though I hadn't been fasting (note: I was not told to fast or that this test would be done). And a full thyroid panel.
I kept refreshing the email on my iPad and phone while also going to the clinic's website, anxiously waiting for the results of my A1c to show up. Finally at midnight, much past my bedtime, I gave up. The email would most likely be there when I woke up in the morning...
Nope. The nurse from the clinic called back while I lied in bed regarding another issue. At this point, with every lab result in but my A1c, I was worried they must have forgotten to run it. She said when I asked that they had not forgotten but run them in batches and mine should be run soon. It's just never seemed to take this long before?!?
My A1c went up a half point! Nooooo! It is the highest it's been in years, even surpassing the lab values I had after pneumonia two years ago and during the most serious period of plantar fasciitis when I was taken off walks by my doctor for months. How could this be??!?!
Will I tell you what the result was? No. Because that does not matter. Each of us may have diabetes but we live in different bodies. Some of us live with one or more health conditions in addition to diabetes, some were diagnosed as an adult and still have c-peptide (insulin) function, some, like me, were diagnosed as a child and receive absolutely no help from their pancreas, while others of us walk on eggshells with our diabetes, may be insulin resistant, have hormone issues etc. The list goes on....
We cannot compare our A1c's just as we cannot compare our diabetes and the level of control we are able to achieve based on whatever else is going on in our lives. There are so many variables. My personal best might be one person's worst nightmare and my personal worst could be the dream A1c someone prays for every night. This is why I will not share.
The number does not matter. It is the feelings behind it. And they stink!
I feel gutted. I feel defeated. I feel disappointed and discouraged.
Although I do know that even with a less than ideal A1c, I am still taking excellent care of my health all around with every piece of diligent self-care I do each day. That's not going to stop! But it's beyond frustrating to take a step backward after only stepping up your game more -- the most you ever have!!! (I've recently made additional dietary changes due to more food intolerances being recognized). I eat a 100% organic whole foods plant-based Paleo diet. No processed food here! Everything from scratch. Doesn't this award some kind of medal in itself or at least a stellar A1c? It takes up a lot of my time! I've also gotten over my extreme hatred of the elliptical machine -- working out on it now instead of my favored treadmill in the winter months as I gently tend to my plantar fasciitis.
Can you sense my exasperation?
Yes, I will keep going. And yes I will keep trying, giving my best effort every single day. But sometimes you just need to vent! Darn you diabetes! You are a sucker. And some days I really do not like you.... one bit! :/
And you know what? After all this venting and allowing myself to be upset today, I'm feeling a whole lot better right now. Thanks for letting me share with you and being so gracious. Hoping some of you might relate to having felt this same level of exasperation after a period of phenomenal care and hard work. It just isn't fair!
When is the last time your diabetes left you feeling exasperated? Have your A1c's been matching your level of effort lately?
In Peace & Wellness,
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