Wednesday 20 July 2011
Thursday 7 July 2011
But all in all I consider myself a 'good' diabetic (as opposed to an evil one I suppose) and I spend an inordinate amount of time each day fixated on adjusting this, weighing that and calculating the other. But despite my best and most dedicated efforts, I have never in my living memory achieved an HbA1c of 7%. An HbA1c (so as not to get all technical) is a magic number that us diabetics have to aim towards and measures the amount of Haemoglobin being carried around the body by the red blood cells. Above 7 = bad. Below 7 = good. 6.5 = Mother Teresa.
Well that is a lot easier said than done seeing as normal life as a diabetic can involve more peaks and troughs than a day at Alton Towers and sometimes all before we get out of bed.
So what can equip us to do this? Well, 18 months ago I was given the first tool I could use; the insulin pump. Thanks to the unique ability of the pump to supply insulin tailored to my exact needs - as much as can be - it was the first component which gave me the opportunity to try and lower my A1c. At the time I was 9.6% and heading for complication city (that's actually a place you know, just north of Bullshitville and south west of Scaring People Shit-less), but thanks the the pump, after 6 months and with no changes other than the pump itself, this dropped to 8.2%.
Good job, pumpy!
The next step was the revelation of the low-carb diet and exercise combination which I discovered towards the end of last year, after reading several blogs, online resources and books all about how eating low carb (and I mean LOW!) and exercising regularly in a certain way had helped people to achieve near normal BG results. After a bit of experimenting, this chick was added to the list of converts and low-carb advocates. I don't claim to manage it all the time. Not in the least because sometimes a big plate of carbs can be just as therapeutic as the perfect blood sugar. But I try where possible to pick low carb options and where we are eating a meal with things like pasta and potatoes, I try to have the tiniest amount possible. This helped me get it to 7.9%
But the final (and unfortunately most problematic component) was the fact that two months ago I was invited to take part in a trial of the new Medtronic Enlite sensors and within just three weeks of wearing the sensors, my average blood sugar had dropped from 8.6mmol to 7.4mmol, and my control had tightened immensely. So when my blood was taken for the HbA1c this week, I had been lucky enough to be rocking the three things I think are key to a good HbA1c.
This time, it was 7.1%. Marvellous.
Unfortunatley I no longer have the CGM to help me on my journey, but once the little fan-fare had finished playing in my head and my Oscar -style speech was over, it still sank in that it IS possible to reach that number.
I just have to prove it's possible without CGM now!
Monday 4 July 2011
The reassurance I get is from the fact that whoever is unfortunate enough to be waiting to give their special donation to the blood collectors, will probably chuckle to themselves at regular intervals for the rest of the day about that funny young lady at the clinic (yes, young!).
From start to finish my visit at the phlebotomy clinic goes something like this:
(Waiting room) Take ticket, realise I have to wait. Fiddle, huff, puff, fiddle, squirm, stand, make funny noise, bargain with Jamie to let me do it 'next week' through using washing up/housework/sexual favours/good old fashioned begging. Touch arm, freak out about having just touched arm, squirm, huff, eye sight goes a little funny, think I might faint, come back round, bargain again, look at strangers with sort of desperate look on face as though I might offer to do all their washing up for the rest of the week if I am allowed to leave. Squirm, huff, puff.
I go on like this for however long I am in there for with increasing intensity until I am finally called into the phlebomotist's room. Avoiding looking at ANYONE who is mid blood test I head straight for the person who appears free and launch straight into a 'I'm afraid I am a bit of a wimp when it comes to this" and explain my bad experiences as a kid speech, all the while squirming and breathing slightly 'horror-flickishly'. I hope that my bad memories will appeal the the nurses good nature, because frankly I NEED them to be nice to me! They have a massive needle and the ability to jab! It could be Hitler taking my blood and I would still be nice to them at this point.
Throughout my blood test career I have always considered myself the worst patient you would want on a Monday morning and have taken pleasure in the notion that at least everyone else is likely to have a bit of a laugh at my expense because I make such a fuss (but not in a making everyone else scared way).
Well that was until today. Today I met the lady you would never want to have to give a blood test too!
In the middle of my squirming and bargaining attempts in the waiting room, from the phlebotomist's office there came some of the most world class snot-sobbing, shrieking and desperate crying I have ever heard. Everyone in the waiting room starts looking at each other as though they must be using a sword to get the blood sample, but all the while laughing amongst themselves. Problem is for someone who already hates this process, hearing someone 2 goes in front of you having such a freak out makes me all the more likely to pass out. At this point I am seriously considering just running away. Plain old drop my form and run for the door. Problem is as much as I hate this, it needs to be done.
Luckily for me the lady who took my blood was very sympathetic. She wasn't Hitler, there was no sword involved and she even gave me two biscuits afterwards. Lovely.
It's just a shame it never gets easier.