An A1C Journey

I had my next post drafted….but that can wait. I had an appointment with my endocrinologist yesterday that I had to share. Please note that I find braggy posts annoying, and this is not one of them. This is about my journey of trying to get my A1C into the 6’s and how after lots of hard work (and let’s face it, some tears), it’s finally paying off!

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Last night we celebrated my A1C win with a delicious carb filled meal at Lucia. Who else has celebrated a good A1C with a delicious food!?

For non-T1Ds or those not as close to it, the A1C test measures what percentage of your hemoglobin — a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen — is coated with sugar (glycated). The test is limited to a 3-month average because the lifespan of a red blood cell is 3 months. So, that’s a fancy way of saying it’s a good indication of what your blood sugar has been for the last 3 months. What’s a good target for your A1C if you’re a T1D? Ask your doctor and health team! 😀

January 2016: Earlier this year I was looking to make a change in my endocrinologist. I loved my last one, and I had been going to him for about 7 years, but I really wanted to whip my T1D into gear for myself and our future family. I heard of a doctor closer to me in Dallas that would help me do that.

February 18, 2016: When I met the doctor for the first time, she was very encouraging and very smart. We’re talking– high-level, worldwide research-type smart. We didn’t make any changes when we first met, instead she had me observe my numbers more closely to look at where we needed to get aggressive. At this appointment my A1C was 7.5…and this is where my A1C has enjoyed hanging out for the last few years.

After this appointment I dedicated myself to the Continuous Glucose Monitor. Instead of watching for trends that would help adjust my settings, I would chase the number. Bad idea. I thought I was being more aggressive and intentional but I got a reality check at the March appointment.

March 29, 2016 At this appointment my A1C was 8.1 (!!!) The doctor told me this before we sat down and discussed my numbers, and she soon realized she probably wanted to be anywhere than sitting across from me at that moment. We might as well call this appointment “the crying session.” If you’re a T1D, you know how the emotions of diabetes can sometimes get the better of you. (Kerri at Six Until Me does an amazing job of describing these emotions).

I felt like a failure and helpless. If you’re a T1D you know how that black hole of lies goes… “Why do I have this condition? Why does no one else have to deal with this? How could my A1C go UP???!!!???”
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The endocrine team swooped in and made aggressive changes to my numbers. They saw trends in the data that I didn’t, and we tightened up everything. After this appointment I was still dedicated to watching the data on my CGM, but just watched it instead of always taking action. I documented trends and talked with my husband regularly about what he was seeing too…see his post from June. He told me one time after I told him I would try harder…He said, “Lauren…it’s not really about trying. It’s doing. You know what you need to do.”

I went lower on carbs, and when I did eat carbs, I did my insulin further in advance, was very intentional about how much insulin I was doing, and tried to do something active afterward. I also experimented more with extended bolus for fatty meals. I resisted the urge to be too hard on myself and instead, take it day by day, number by number. I thought I was trying hard before, but this was a new level. The JDRF Type One Nation Summit in early May and my T1D friends were a huge motivator as well.

May 6, 2016 This appointment was with the nurse practitioner, I will refer to her as the goddess of pump settings and identifying trends. My A1C came down to a 7.0. I was so excited, and she was too. We kept plugging away with what I was doing.

July 1, 2016:

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The doctor put this little sticky note in front of me when she came in the room to see me. Oh, how I loved seeing that little sticky note. She congratulated me and we went even deeper into numbers.

I admit when I saw other T1Ds posting about their low A1C, it was easy for me to be discouraged in my own journey. The truth is, we’re all different in our management. We have the end goal in mind, but we’re all on different paths.

And really, numbers don’t define people. It doesn’t matter if you’re a diabetic or not. A grade on a test, how much money you make, your weight, or your A1C. It’s easy to say that now that I don’t have an A1C of 8.1 anymore, but it’s true. Day by day is the key. Whether your A1C is perfect or if you’re is a 10 or higher, I would love to talk to you about your own blood glucose journey.

Now, let’s see if I can maintain this and/or get it lower…

A special thank you to the Baylor Endocrine Center for helping me, answering my phone calls, handing me tissues and giving me hugs in celebration!!!

 

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3 Comments

  1. Great job Lauren! Way to go!!
    I bet it was a great night celebrating with great company, great food and atmosphere! So proud of you!

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