I almost considered closing comments to this post but that wouldn't be my style. Please know I am not trying to get a rise out of anybody. It's just a reflection of my thoughts and feelings on my own A1c struggles after a Facebook conversation brought my mind to it.
A1c = Simple lab test that reflects your average blood glucose level over the last 3 months. Expressed in a percentage.
Most of us diabetics have our labs done about every 3 or 4 months. It helps us to get a handle on where we've come and more accurately how we've managed. A lot of people's thoughts on the A1c are, "It's just a number."
I don't subscribe to that opinion. To me, it's not just a number. It's an accurate representation of my average BG numbers. Where we want to be is often up for discussion. Under 7% is ideal. Under 6.5% is where most of us will strive to be. To get an idea, we are drilled into our heads to attempt to maintain a 4-7mmol/l (90-120mg/dl) average BG. Every day, all day despite the myriad of coefficients and factors.
I don't normally publish my A1c. It's not that I'm ashamed or embarrassed, it's more because I, personally, don't want to see it written anywhere. I will tell you this though, I've never EVER had my A1c under 7% in 10 years of diabetes. Speaking of, next month is my 10year anniversary. Have I tried? Hell yeah, I've tried. But, I've never succeeded. Not once. I'm not saying that 7% is bad, not at all. I'm just saying that it's not good enough for ME.
I realize that the A1c result is not entirely a perfect representation of our diabetes management skills. Sure there are some folks who are either really high or really low all the time. The average of that would be pretty normal. So there ARE exceptions to the rule. But we also have to factor in our own personal feelings.
10 years of trying for a sub 7%. TEN YEARS. If I average out the number of A1c lab draws I'm looking at close to 20 attempts. (I had to lower it to account for the few years I didn't test it). When do I, as a human being, say, "that's enough." How many times do I tell myself, "better luck next time" or "keep on trying" before it gets so tiring I give up? When do I let go of the guilt? I mean, I'm not an idiot (all of the time) and I know I am healthy and active. That's not what I'm talking about here.
How many times of hearing the same stuff over and over again do I stop feeling upset and disappointed?
I don't see it as "just a number." I see that +7% A1c result and I see an average BG of over 8.2mmol/l (+150mg/dl). When I look at it like that, it just becomes so much more real. We all know how some complications happen and that would be from constant elevated blood glucose levels. I see that I need to improve but I can't possibly imagine how to do things any better. I see a woman who will never get her body into "baby safe" mode. Yeah, I know I'm single but it's still there, in the back of my mind.
I celebrate fellow PWD who broadcast their A1c's in the 5's and 6's. If I had an A1c like that, I'd be shouting it from the mountain top as well. But inside I am an envious freak.
I go in a couple weeks to get my labs done. I now no longer expect anything from myself. I just expect the "usual". I dwell for a few days before slugging along. I've stopped telling myself to try harder because that blood test never lies.
Jeff says it right: "It's just a number that talks about my BGs relative to the previous months, but it's also a number that says those BGs aren't anywhere near where I've tried to put them"
That's exactly how I feel.