Monday, December 19, 2016

My 1%

I hate to measure my level of diabetes care on purely my numbers. But, living with diabetes, we can be really hard on ourselves when certain numbers just don't reflect the way we want them to.  On average I check my blood sugar five times a day, sometimes less, sometimes way more, regardless that number that flashes on my screen is a defining moment for that specific time.  That blood sugar represents my last hour-ish of diabetes care. The pulsing high blood sugar that makes you wish you didn't have that glass of eggnog, or that vibrant low blood sugar that makes you wish you had more eggnog.   Regardless, as much as I try to give myself some credit beyond the numbers, it's not that easy.

There is one number that rules them all, that is the a1c.    A test that is done every 3 months to give yourself and your medical team a snapshot of your diabetes care, purely based on numbers, but regardless this number is highly fixated on.  An a1c is pretty powerful, it can grant you permission to try for a baby, it can deny you permission to get your drivers licence and it also can deny you permission to an insulin pump (here in Ontario...)  This number, that can be skewed by an abundance of low blood sugars, and also by the last month of blood sugars weighing heavier.... this number can also have the power to discourage you, encourage you or simply break you down.

My last a1c which was done in July was not great.  I don't cry over my diabetes often but my last a1c brought me to tears, angry tears.   You can read about the experience through this via Raise Us Up.   I was devastated to say the least.  The best way to make it relatable is stepping on the scale to be weighed after 3 months of ups and downs.  The number that reflects isn't always awesome and if we see a gain, we can feel defeated, but when we see a loss, isn't it a great feeling.

This brings me to my latest a1c that I got done this past week.  I must add that I am so happy LifeLabs has an online option of checking your blood work without having to call in.   Although it makes for an interesting google binge as you try to figure out what each thing means that they tested, even though it all came back normal.   There was my a1c with a nice caution sign above it, but guess what? It was a whole 1% lower.  Seriously, 1%. 

I instantly felt relief, that if I could get it 1% lower, I can continue to work hard.  That being said, I tried to remind myself that numbers are a mere reflection, but not the entire picture. I brought myself back to the me that was crying at the end of my bed and remember that that Kayla was just as great as the Kayla I am now, despite the a1c reading. I can continue to fight for that great a1c, but also need to keep myself in check in other ways.  Chasing the perfect numbers sometimes comes with a price, a chunk of your mental health.

So as I push forward and constantly remind myself that each day is a new opportunity to work alongside diabetes and to be OK with the numbers that I produce, good or bad and that while my numbers are important, they are not the whole picture.

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