How to Grieve Diabetes (?)
I visited my endocrinologist the other day. She makes me nervous. I bit my lip as the doctor reported my A1C. It was 8.0.
I was unhappily surprised. I thought my A1C would be around 6.5, having been more and more in that range these past four months with several lows. I thought my results would reflect the hard work and diligent corrections I've been making when out of range.
Needless to say, an 8.0 A1C is not "good." It indicates levels around 215 mg/dl consistently. The doctor prescribed ACE inhibitor for high blood pressure, more preventative than anything else. "Better safe than sorry," she always says. I don't relish adding more medication to my routine. Another small loss, an adjustment.
I felt defeated and had to fight back tears. I struggle with the highs and lows, but feel healthy most of the time. I test 5-10 times a day and work hard to maintain normal glucose levels. I know the A1C is an informative tool, not an indictment, but it's clear I'm not in good enough control.
I want to be under 7.0. Ideally, I want to be under 6.0. I've not seen that low a number for as long as I can remember, but it's what I strive for.
I felt strong and healthy at my appointment. It frustrates me that my numbers don't show that. It took about three days for me to "snap out of it." I realize that what I had been feeling was grief.
I try to stay positive and strong, mostly for those around me. But it's okay to feel sad sometimes. It's okay to mourn the loss of certain things. It's healthy to acknowledge from time to time the weight of what I've been carrying with me for over two decades.
As unflattering as it is, I wanted to feel sorry for myself for a little bit. I wanted empathy. I wanted to be taken care of by someone other than myself. I know it is my job to take care of myself and my health--that will always and forever be the case--but I wanted to be relieved from the burden of managing diabetes 24/7--just for a little while.
Not. Gonna. Happen.
I wanted to scream: If an A1C of 8.0 is what I get when I'm on a pump, testing 5-10 times a day, being physically active daily, and bolusing, correcting, and using basal rates according to a formulas my dctor, CDE and I agreed upon, then what the heck is the point of all this?
I get similar A1C results when slacking, and I have not been doing that. That said, there are plenty of things I am NOT doing that I COULD be doing. This is always the case.
I could be religiously tracking all my sugars on those nice graph sheets I have (or one of the SmartPhone apps). I could be writing down the precise amount of carbs and calories and fat in everything I eat every time I eat. I could avoid any and all refined carbs at all times. I could be more stringent. I could exercise more. The list keeps going.
I could do a whole lot of things that I'm not doing, and that frustrates me, too. No matter how well I am doing, there is always more to be done. More to be doing that might bring better results. Today I allowed myself the frustration, and that feels right.
The grief is in there. I felt the weight of it following my endo appointment.
The doctor didn't judge me; I judged me.
I feel like after all this time I should have a better handle on things. I should be in a better range. I should have my shit together. But sometimes I don't. And that's the reality.
What do you do when faced with grief from diabetes or numbers that don't reflect how hard you've been working?