Who's the diabetic?!

I have mentioned before that I changed endocrinologists last year. I now see Dr. Saadeh and he rocks in a variety of ways. After every visit he sends me a multi-page report on my medical lab results. And then he writes on them with comments. Apparently my cholesterol is 167, which Dr. Saadeh says is "very good." My TSH (whatever that is) is 3.44 which means my thyroid test came back "normal" according to my doctor. There are a ton of other numbers on the charts that don't mean anything to me but I like to see them and see Dr. Saadeh's little check boxes next to them. But the best part of the lab results was my Hemoglobin A1c results - 6.8%.

I had talked to Dr. Saadeh last week about my last results from in July - 7.6%. I was angsty and worried about that number like it was a "needs improvement" on my report card. I've always felt that a HBA1c test is a diabetic's report card. And I've had many doctors tisk me if it didn't come back "normal" or ask what I did wrong to make this happen.

There are posters all over most endocrinologists' offices reminding patients that they're responsible for their own blood glucose control. They say that you are the primary person responsible for your own health. And I take these posters to heart.

Sometimes I wonder if becoming a diabetic at nearly 8 years old affected my personality. Or if my personality, in contrast, affects my diabetes. I wonder if I would be as organized as I am or if I would fret as much over things that may only partially be in my control if I didn't have this feeling that every blood test result (all 6-8 of them I do a day) is a report card for who I am at that moment. It's the easiest way for non-diabetics to know how you're "doing" with your health. And there are hundreds of factors that affect my blood glucose control. Am I stressed? Am I on my period? Am I sick? Am I really sick (flu, infection, fever)? Was my last meal high in fat or fiber? Did I just mow the lawn?

I'm not pissed off or mad about being diabetic. And as a rule, I don't even get frustrated by it. But I have an inherent need to have things make sense and ideally have a bit of control over them. My 7.6% report was frustrating to me because looking back over the previous 3 months I didn't feel like things were that bad. And I promised myself I would study really hard for this next test and do much better.

My visit last week with Dr. Saadeh was a good one. I told him about my concerns from the last test. I told him that I had made some adjustments on my basal rate of insulin. I told him that I was disappointed in my last score, and while I had had a great October, November had been kind of crappy for me from a medical perspective. Dr. Saadeh listened to all this and for once I didn't feel like a bad guy. He pulled out a calculator and worked up some numbers for my total carbs per day, my average insulin use, my sensitivity settings. And he suggested we try a few new things on my insulin pump. He said that my HBA1c result that I would get in the mail may not be great, but we can try this and see if it works for next time.

And then I got my results in the mail and it's like winning the diabetes lottery. Well, if it were under 6% that would be like the big lottery. 6.8% is more like a Pick 4 winner or sratch ticket. But I'm still very pleased. And despite my second cold in two months settling into my lungs today, I'm feeling pretty good. Or as Dr. Saadeh wrote on my results, "better than expected." Hooray me.