Saturday, December 3, 2011


There's a sobering Part Two to my greeting card post from last week. Jess's post yesterday drove it home for me. She was talking about recently having a really positive A1c result and how it was juxtaposed in the same week against Kerri's crushing negative results.

I was going to leave a comment on your blog, Jess, because I thought the post was amazing, but I think I have a lot more to say. It really got me thinking about something I have kept to myself for a long time.

To treat your A1c or your blood sugar as data to be acted on - rather than a mark of failure or a judgment of your efforts or your worth - is only half the battle.

We have to learn to give the "good" numbers less power, too.

That means no congratulatory end zone dance when yout A1c result is in range. It means treating a 100 like it's just data, too. Because to really believe the highs are just numbers to act on, don't we need to treat in-range values in much the same way?

I've been doing that for the last year or so, I think. Or I've tried. I still join in congratulating others for a "good" A1c, and I post my own on Twitter, but it's not for the back pats and the high fives. It's just part of owning up to the fact that I know where it is. (Or sometimes it's to get people off my back.)

Because the second that I throw a party for my 6.0%, the bigger the pity party when it slips back over 7.0%.

We don't need that guilt. Pressure. Depression.

So it's 6.0%. Okay. That means my average is where it's supposed to be for pregnancy.

But it's not a blank check to slack off. It's not an indicator of how hard I'm trying - because you and I both know that sometimes we work our asses off and it comes back higher than we believe it should.

And it doesn't even mean I'm nailing it. My standard deviation is too high and I've got swings from 40-240 mg/dL to average out to that lovely 130 mg/dL.

I try not to treat my 6.0% as anything other than data. So when I inevitably cross back into the "life is hard and I'm trying but it came back over 7.0%," maybe I'll beat myself up less.

I often remind PWD (and parents of CWD) that I didn't see my first A1c under 8% until I was 26 years old. I remember getting that 7.3% in the mail from my doctor. I hung it on our refrigerator. I called people who didn't have a clue what I was talking about and I cried. Tears of joy and relief.

I had had diabetes over 16 years by the time I saw that 7.3%. I'd spent my teen years over 10.0% (usually over 12%), topping out once at 15.4% at the age of 13. (That means my average blood sugar had been around 500 mg/dL.) It took me two more years to cross into the 6's. Two. More. Years.

That's when we started trying to conceive Sweetie.

And I've stayed there, at or below 7.0%, for the last four years now. But my circumstances are not any of yours, DOC friends. I've been trying to conceive, pregnant, nursing, and pregnant again for the last four years. I've kept my A1c so "good" during that time because I've had to. It's required a degree of intense monitoring and a singular focus on a very important goal.

But I'm no fool.

I know it will someday climb up into uncomfortable areas again, despite my efforts. Because this f-ing disease is like that.

So let's look at that 93 or that 104 on the meter screen, take our appropriate action, and zip up the case.
If the 215s and 347s are just pieces of information, then that 104 isn't worth any confetti.

Zip up the case and walk away.


  1. You make a very good point. I guess I'm lucky, because I've never gotten emotional about my numbers. My own bugaboo is what I call numbers creep. That is, at first I see a 104, and then a 115 doesn't look so bad, and then a 143 doesn't seem too bad, either, and eventually, I'm in the 200's and don't take appropriate action. However, now that I have a CGM (for as long as I can -- I go on Medicare in Mar. 2013) the lines keep me in line!! :-)

  2. thanks for the shout-out, and the post, melissa. you make some very good points.

    for me, i need to celebrate my a1c in order to motivate myself to keep going. will this open me up to more heartbreak when it goes up again (as it most likely will at some point)? yes. but right now, i need to throw confetti so i don't give up.

    thanks for sharing, friend!

  3. Thank you for being honest about your A1C. I too struggled with getting an A1C under 8% until I was 23. I still have swings up and down, but it took me a long time too. Thank you again!!