Monday, August 29, 2016

Diabetes Report Card?

As a mom to 2 with type 1 diabetes and the wife of an adult with T1D, I have grown to know the A1C as a 'report card' of sorts.

As we battle this disease day in, day out - part of that battle is attempting to keep blood glucose levels in a 'target' range.  For all three of our T1D's that target is now 80-120.

I can honestly say we struggle to stay in that small window most of the time.  We are usually pretty thrilled to see 80-150.

Those times that their numbers dip lower - 70's, 60's, 50's, occasionally 40's, and even more rare - 30's - it's scary.  Heart racing, we scramble for juice, candy, fast acting carbs of whatever kind we can grab to have them ingest.

Then the high numbers.  200's, 300's, and the occasional 400's reminds us just how precarious this battle is.

When I see those high numbers, my heart sinks.  What long term damage is being done?  How long till those numbers come back to more acceptable ranges?

We give insulin to correct these highs, but then we worry -- how low will they go?  Did we give too much?  Too little?  Always, we correct then wait.  Instead of ebbing down, sometimes, we watch the number tick up, up, up.  What?  How?  Unfortunately, when that happens we just.
We can't give more insulin for fear of numbers bottoming out.  However, as we wait, and watch the number clicking higher and higher, the fear of DKA enters our minds.   How far will they go?  How long do we wait to try something else?  More insulin?  A run around the block?  A gallon of water?  A trip to the ER?  It's a tightrope walk and you just hope the net below will catch them.

When we experience these dips and soars, I can't help but think of the coming a1c count.

Will it be high?


It's like our diabetes report card.

How are we doing keeping blood glucose numbers 'in range'?

In the diabetes world, it's all too common to see people cheer or wail in response to the a1c result given at the endocrinologist appointment every 3 months.

I know.

             I've done both.

But.... it's important to remember..... that a1c?


Yes, it gives fabulous, helpful information, but..... 

It doesn't define you --- as the parent of a type 1 diabetic or as a person living with diabetes.

It's a TOOL!

I'm grateful that our endocrinologist doesn't harp on the a1c. Does she encourage us to keep it in healthy levels?  Certainly.

Does she berate us when it's a little higher than it should be?  NEVER!

She reminds me that it's a number.  

She reminds me that we are battling an impossible, always changing, unfair war.

She reminds me how volatile this disease can be.

She reminds me how wonderful the girls are doing overall, despite a number that shows a little too high.

Will I lift up my voice in triumph when the girls numbers are in range?  You bet I will.

It is a goal.  We celebrate when we meet goals.

Yet, I'm striving to not beat myself up or freak out when that number isn't quite what we'd like to see.

This report card doesn't define how I am as a parent of children with type 1 diabetes; how I am as a wife to a T1D; how our girls and Techno are at living life with this disease.

It simply helps us attempt to make better choices, make changes with insulin/carb ratios, pay attention to how varying situations effect blood glucose levels and then make plans to counter those things.

Although we often fear and fret over what the A1C 'report card' is going to announce, we put more emphasis on how well our girls are doing at life in general.

Now, to keep this mindset as we approach our next endocrinology appointment.

That's the trick.

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