I was diagnosed almost twenty years and in all that time I have never had an A1C under 7%.
And this fact fuels shame and embarrassment like you wouldn’t believe.
In these past twenty years, I have had more than 7,000 days and more than 175,000 hours worth of diabetes experience. I have interviewed world-renowned physicians like Francine Kaufman, Steve Edelman, and Bruce Buckingham. I have attended two ADA Scientific Sessions, three AADE annual meetings, and three Friends for Life conferences and countless scientific updates from ADA and JDRF. I have visited the laboratories Ed Damiano, Denise Faustman and the Diabetes Research Institute. I have researched articles for Diabetic Living, Diabetes Health, JDRF, and of course, Diabetes Mine. And I personally worked with the AADE Diabetes Educator of the Year, Gary Scheiner, on and off for the past 10 years and I faithfully see my endo every 3 to 4 months, who answers all my questions and treats me like I understand diabetes because I do.
And yet here I am, sitting at a 7.7%, wondering how it is that in twenty goddamn years I haven’t achieved this goal once.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that this mirrors exactly my experience in losing weight. It’s not that I don’t know how someone loses weight, it’s that I don’t ever do all that it takes to actually do it.
Knowing what to do and doing it are two wholly separate things.
Because doing the things you know you are supposed to do is hard.
Here’s my repetition: I go to the endo or I get on the scale and I realize that my A1c/weight is too high. I have to do something about it. So I count carbs/eat healthier/exercise more/check my BG more often/look for trends diligently (ever notice how similar the things for weight loss and A1c loss are?). Then I go back to the endo or get on the scale and I see that my A1c/weight has dropped. Yay! What I’m doing is working! Woohoo! So then I stop paying attention as much. I figured what I was doing is what I’m “naturally” going to keep doing. And slowly but surely I get a little lazier.
“One more won’t hurt.”
“Oh, my BGs are mostly good, this high BG is a fluke.”
“Actually, I think I’m going low a lot these days.”
“I definitely ate really healthy today.”
“It’s a special occasion.”
Or simply: “I want this.”
And so then the next time I go to the endo or get on the scale, I find out my A1c/weight has gone up. I have to do something about it! And the cycle repeats itself. Over and over again.
I think that for me, I keep thinking that once I start moving in the right direction, I can go on autopilot. But that doesn’t work. Habits are incredibly hard to break and it takes way more than 21 days or however long they claim it takes to form a new habit. When it comes to my weight and blood sugar, it takes a heck of a lot longer than that. I have to pay attention more diligently. I know this probably sounds like a lot of “duh” information, but for me this doesn’t come easy.
My twentieth diaversary is January 27, and shortly after that, I will have another endo appointment (sometime in February or March). My last endo appointment, yesterday, had me at an A1c of 7.7%. My goal is for my first A1c of my third decade with diabetes to be under 7%. That is a big drop, but last winter I dropped 1.1% (from 8.3% to 7.2%). I think I can do it. But I have to be diligent about it. I can’t get lazy and just think that whatever I’m doing is just going to keep happening without me thinking about it. And like weight loss, it’s going to involve hard work, sacrifices and planning.
I’ll be talking more about my strategies in some upcoming posts.
Have you ever made a significant reduction in your A1c between appointments? What were your strategies?