As PWDs, we often chant "it's not a grade, it's not a grade" when referring to a1cs. But it’s not the fact that it’s a grade, it’s a number that we would like to fall in a certain range. When we see it, it has some sort of effect on us.
“Oh, I thought it would be higher/lower!”
“That’s right about where I thought it would be.”
“Ooookay, then. That’s too high.”
“Yay! It’s finally below ##!”
It elicits some form of reaction.
Yesterday, I had an endo appointment. And I was nervous. I even warned my mother the night before to expect a higher a1c than normal. I’ve been having a lot of highs lately. It’s not that I’m not trying, though. I’m correcting, I’m counting my carbs, and I’ve been making some dosing adjustments. I was doing okay, and then May came and everything went out the window. After I made several changes, and things hadn’t improved at all, I was getting rather frustrated. And, surprise, surprise, with the looming endo visit, I began to dwell on my a1c. And somehow came to the assumption that it would be 11. My a1c has never been 11. It was 18.0 when I was diagnosed. It’s been 8, 9 before. It’s been 6, 7. It was 13.6 not long after dx. The point is, I don’t know where 11 came from. But it stuck. I walked in the office yesterday assuming that it would two stark, black ones staring at me on the printout.
Turns out, maybe I haven’t been doing as poorly as I thought. It just seemed that way since I had had more highs than usual. No, my a1c wasn’t perfect, but I could’ve done cartwheels (or not, I would’ve hurt something. Like, ME, for instance) when I saw that it was only .1% higher than last time.
When I went to see my CDE, I told her about being worried about it. She helpfully reminded me that blood sugars that cause an 11 a1c would’ve caused me to be symptomatic (drinking all the time, weight loss, etc…), which I wasn’t. I also felt better when she downloaded my Dexcom graphs, because, yes, there are definite patterns.
“Oh, nice, I can tell you’re bolusing and correcting, which means I don’t have to harp at you or anything. Let’s just make some changes.”
And we did.
And that was the time my a1c wasn’t 11.