Recently, I had blood work done.
And, for the first time probably … ever, I was looking forward to the results.
See, this was the latest check of my A1C.
For those who don’t know, the A1C test is one that provides info about somebody’s average blood glucose levels over the past three months. It’s a way to see how I’ve been doing in regard to the diabetes, now that I am actually trying to take care of this.
This has been quite out of whack since earlier this year.
The health network I use is part of many who have this setup where I get results quick and can access them via a phone app and website. What’s really nice is being able to see past results and compare.
Basically, the ranges tell you where you stand in the big scheme. Here’s what the website/app shows:
4.0 – 5.7 Non-diabetic
5.7 – 6.4 Pre-diabetes
6.5 – 7.0 Diabetes, Good control
7.1 – 7.5 Fair control
7.6 – 8.5 Poor control
8.6 – 9.5 Very poor control
> 9.5 Extremely poor control
Now, I knew all about these ranges before. But I rarely paid attention. Again, I was in a bit of denial. I thought I had it under control. Maybe not so much, though.
Here’s a grouping of tests over the first part of the year. Now, remember, I dealt with foot surgery and some other stressful things over the first few months, so things were high but there were things that could be factored in. It still didn’t take away the fact that I was fully out of control.
- Jan. 21: 7.8
- Feb, 3: 7.8
- March 19: 9.4
- May 1: 9.8
As you can see, I got steadily worse. I went from poor control to very poor control. Keep in mind I was on some heavy antibiotics for a couple of months and my stress level was through the roof.
It was at this time that my primary physician noted he would like to consider insulin. He asked me what I would say if he wanted to have me start it that day and I said “find a different option.”
So he gave me six weeks to improve.
On June 10, I had another test done and came back with an 8.2. Definitely not where I wanted to be, but my daily numbers were vastly improved and going down. I was eating better and learning what things do to me. I saw a diabetes educator.
I kept going with it.
I read labels now and understand what they mean. I know what I should eat and what I shouldn’t. I understand portion size.
The best part? I feel better. I think I look better. I’m not as tired as I once was. My daily numbers have been amazing. Then, with another meeting with the diabetes educator coming up, I had another blood test. The number that came back floored me.
I was floored when I saw it. This is a level I didn’t expect so far. Therefore, I must be doing something. I’ve figured out an eating pattern and I’ve worked within it. And I’m doing better because of it.
Still, that’s not to say there haven’t been a few things that caught me off guard, such as one night when I got the sweats for no reason.
It wasn’t a particularly hot night or anything and I wasn’t doing anything strenuous. All of a sudden, I felt a little woozy and started sweating. Even by aiming a fan at me, I couldn’t stop sweating. So I found my glucometer and started to test … and I was shaky.
The reading came back 66.
That’s low. It’s probably good for me to be about 80-140 or so and, preferably more like 85-130. So this took me off guard. I found the book that shows what to do and I gulped 4 ounces of orange juice, waiting 15 minutes and tried again.
What the hell? How was this possible? So I gulped another 4 ounces. The testing after that was 89. I then had my snack and was OK.
That one was somewhat explainable as I played some softball that day and it was extremely hot. Maybe I did things a little different. I don’t know. But there’s some sort of explanation.
What happened a week or so ago is baffling.
I had work, picked up a friend and went to a baseball game. I ate normal, took my medicines and thought all was fine. At the game, I had a couple of hot dog, a quarter cup of fries (I dumped them walking to my seat) and then I risked it and went with ice cream.
Then driving home, I got the same symptoms. As I exited the highway, I stopped to check and… this spooked me – I was at 55.
Thankfully, there was a convenience store close by and I went and chugged half an orange juice. I felt better soon after and when I checked 15 minutes later, I was at 91.
Still, it was alarming because it came out of nowhere.
I went to the diabetes educator a few days later and she said maybe I’m on a little too much medication, so we’re going to monitor and see. That would thrill me to cut something else, but we’ll see what they do. Second, I need to start carrying glucose tablets or Starburst to make sure I have a fast-action sugars to give me a boost.
This is all part of the learning aspect of keeping this under control.
A few times over the past month or two, I’ve spiked on the higher side. It wasn’t anything crazy, but the diabetes educator is solid in explaining things and keeping things in perspective. What it’s doing, though, is helping me figure out what my body does with certain foods. This is something I’ll be doing through life, so it’s good to keep up on what things can do to me.
I’ve learned a lot by reading and listening. I totally understand sizes, servings and what the carbs mean. I still have work to do, but I am where I want to be now and continue to push forward to get better and better.
This is part of an ongoing series of posts about me living with diabetes and what I am doing to try and improve my situation. I’ll try to post these updates once or twice per month. You can read past posts about this by clicking here.
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