In Elementary School I learned that living beings are constantly changing. And diabetes have confirmed that fact.
Recently I decided to buy a device to measure my A1C values at home. I started using it right after returning from a work trip and I got a 7.1% value, which if not the best result is not that bad either (considering my last year’s values were around 8.5%).
Feeling happy with my results, I went to a lab to have “professionally” made tests as my insurance company recommended (I will refer to insurance companies in a different post) and the results I got were of 7.8%. So I thought “maybe this is not the best lab”, still trusting the results the AC measuring device gave me at home, and decided to confirm them in a better known hospital. Their results: 8.3%. Almost devastating.
My insurance company considered these results too high (obviously) and I had an extra charge on the bill, of course.
Disappointment. About the device? About the labs? About living with diabetes?
Once you accept diabetes as a condition that will live with you for the rest of your life and overcome your initial depression, you stop asking yourself "why?" and decide to start acting on that:
This involves several things:
- Learning how to eat
- Learning how to count what you eat
- Learning to calibrate your oral medication, for those with T2; or your insulin, for those with T1. And not, I'm not forgetting about LADA: You need to learn both.
- Learning how to understand your values. Because reading them is something anyone can do, but understanding them is a whole different thing!
- Learning how to exercise
- Learning to listen to your body
So, you try to do everything "by the book" and suddenly, when you look at your results you discover this ugly number. A number that means nothing to most of the people, but means so many things to you. And for some reason one of these things is crying louder: you have failed. And you are the only one to be blamed: you must have done anything wrong
You are disappointed at yourself. You feel you didn't do everything as well as you thought. You are not the expert on diabetes that you, and your family and friends think you are. And you feel guilty. Guilty about not knowing how to handle your condition. Guilty about not doing your homework.
But the reality is that this is not true at all. Or at least in an absolute way. The reality is that a 6.5 A1C doesn't tell that someone is the best diabetic patient, and a 8.5 A1C that someone is the worst.
The truth is that all the six bullets I mention above start with the word "learn". The truth is your body is not an static and immutable element. Neither is your diabetes.
And taking care of your diabetes doesn't involve learning a recipe and follow the steps. Taking care of diabetes is mostly about learning, observing, taking notes and adapting. Knowing how to interpret the signals your body gives and adjust the right things at the right time.
There's no reason to be disappointed or feel guilty when your results fall outside the expected limits. That doesn't necessarily means you failed. It just means that everything changes, the same way you learned at school and is time for, again, learn and adapt.