Triumph and Concern

It has been two months and four days since I started the OmniPod. My a1c in March of this year was 9.4 while on injections. With a lot of hard work, it went down to 7.9 at the end of summer. With even more hard work and adjusting, I got it down to 7.5. A couple days before I started the pump, the doctors did a last a1c. It was 7.4.

I had an uneasy feeling that 7.4 was the lowest it was ever going to be. 7.4 sounded pretty good, and I was proud of myself, but I had to micromanage to get there. I was testing every two waking hours.

6:30am. 8:30am. 10:30am. 12:30pm. 2:30pm. 4:30pm. 6:30pm. 8:30pm.
and in the middle of the night. 1:30am.

I don’t know if I could have kept it up any longer. Even though the a1c was looking a few tenths of a point better, I was a slave to the numbers. It was like going on a super restrictive diet–I was going to cave and binge at some point. Why not take a whole couple months off? I can always get it back down to 7.4, right?

For non-diabetic readers (there are probably two of you) an a1c is one way doctors can measure the sugar control and overall health of a diabetic. It’s a magical number. Check out this chart.

The first column is the a1c. The second column is the average blood sugar the way American meters read out. The third column is for how pretty much every other country in the world reads out. On injections, my last a1c was 7.4. That means my average blood sugar over the past three months was 186.

The results of my most current a1c came in today. It was 7.1.
I spun around four or five times in my office chair when I read it. I feel pretty dang good about it. 7.1! Dr. K is still working out my night time basal rate. So I know I can get down into the 6.0s.

I was so excited that I called my mom. And then I called my dad. My dad was a big proponent of me getting the pump. He is a gadget guy and loves all things technology. He did a lot of encouraging (and nagging) for me to buy the pump. I finally did it, and things are going well except…

My dad is pre-diabetic. Type 2. His a1c isn’t that far off from mine. That scares me.

He never pesters me to keep up on testing, but he does give me gentle reminders any time we get on the subject. He wants to keep me around. Well, I want to keep him around, too. So I wrote him a letter.

Dear Dad,

Five years ago I drove myself to the doctor’s office and they told me I had diabetes. I didn’t have to ask them if they could cure it, because I knew they couldn’t. I could give myself insulin for the rest of my life. That’s what I could do. 

You left work and came to take me to the hospital. I think you found me curled-up on the floor of the office. We walked slowly to the van. I felt like I was dying. I kind of was, because I had ketoacidosis. But you stayed calm. You took care of me until mom could make it to the hospital, and then you both took care of me.

And I made it. They put me on an insulin drip, and I started feeling better right away. You even brought me a new MacBook on the last day of my hospital stay. I lived and I got a new computer. Not bad.

But now its my turn to worry. I’m trying to stay calm, but soon it will be you. You’ll go into the doctor’s office and they’ll tell you you have diabetes. Your story can be different. You will have a kind that you can reverse. You could stop it from happening all together, but right now you’re not…Why not?

What do I do, Dad? I want to keep you around as long as I can. I don’t want to see you lose any fingers or toes. I want your heart to keep beating, so it can keep loving me, and so I can keep learning about how big another person’s heart can be. 

You’re the most compassionate person I know. It’s so hard to be patient, but I’ve learned so much patience from you. Please, papa. Be patient with yourself and your health, and don’t give up on it. I will help you and support you, just like you did for me when I was sick. We can stop you from getting sick all together.

I love you, Dad.

– Andrea

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