August is rapidly approaching which can only mean two things around here. The seven year anniversary of Arden's diagnosis, and the sixth anniversary of this blog are both coming soon.
Seven years in dog years is what, 49? Well in A1C years, it's 28. Arden has had twenty-eight A1c tests since she was diagnosed and most of them didn't go too well. As I've shared in the past, Arden's A1c began it's journey above nine and drifted lower over the years as I learned how to better manage diabetes. It wasn't until recently that we've made real strides in decreasing that elusive number.
I spoke in the past about the things that I attribute to helping Arden's A1c to fall. Things like finding the correct insulin for Arden, and technology like her DexCom G4 and OmniPod insulin pump. I recently wrote about Arden's decision to stop eating Fruit Loops and I think that may have put us over the top in this battle against "the number".
One year ago Arden's A1c was 8.1. Nine months ago we made real progress, 7.5 and back in January it was 7.4. I loved that 7.4 because it showed that the reduction wasn't a fluke, we were on to something! Today when we went to her Endo appointment I was certain that we would see another incremental reduction, and I was secretly hoping for 7.1. As I watched the timer count down on the testing equipment, my heart sped up just a bit. The last 10 seconds ticked away slowly, as I hoped to see that 7.1.
I'm not sure how I kept the words in my head when I saw the number, but somehow I didn't say, "Holy F*ck" outloud when the machine displayed Arden's latest A1C.
It was 6.5.
Six point five.
Six and a half.
Arden's A1c had dropped .09 in five months. I must of read that wrong I thought, so I stood up and looked closer and there it was just as clear as day, 6.5. I turned to Arden and said, "We did it Arden!". Then, without missing a beat, Arden warned the nurse that I was going to cry - but I never did. I wanted to cry, I wanted to scream into the air but I just sat back down, smiled, and told the nurse how Arden decided all on her own after our last visit to stop eating cereal for breakfast. "This was all her", I told the phlebotomist, "Arden asked after her last A1C what she could do to help it to go lower and I told her... she did the rest".
Back in February when Arden's A1C was 7.5 I listed a few simple reason that I thought helped the most to decrease her average daily blood glucose. I'm going to post them again here and then add two new ones.
Support - Love and support from family, friends and teachers is huge.
Insulin Pump - Being able to give insulin quickly and unobtrusively for meals, snacks and high BGs.
CGM - Arden's DexCom is a window to the past, present and future of her BGs and I couldn't make the pinpoint adjustments that helped us get to this new level without it. It's sad to me each day that the FDA doesn't approve it's use for young people.
Over night monitoring - Arden is sleeping almost half of each day, if you can control the night then a few bumps during the day don't hit the A1c average so hard.
Apidra - Arden's BGs are move stable on Apidra then they ever were with the other insulin she was using in the past. Make sure you are using the insulin that works best for you... not just the one some sales person gave your doc.
D.O.C. - You all give me strength to do these things when I otherwise feel like I can't. It's knowing that one of you is awake, sad, crying, happy or running around out of your mind like me that makes me realize that I'm doing okay.
Aggressively dealing with BG spikes - You know the ones, after a site change or miscalculated meal. In the past I preferred smaller boluses in the attempt to avoid a low but now I lean on the CGM and smack a high number in the face, preferring to catch it with carbs if I've administered too much insulin. The other way always left me bolusing and rebolusing for hours on end. The only thing I was accomplishing was taking five hours to guide Arden's BG back into place. Now, insulin, watch, catch the fall - done.
The new way that we manage BGs during the school day - Arden has four more days of school left this year and she has NEVER been to the nurse for a diabetes related reason, never. Arden and I text and speak by cell phone to manage her moment to moment type I needs. This new plan is one of the keys to her A1C reduction. In the past, I would make insulin and carb decisions only when Arden was with the nurse. This schedule left large gaps of time when high BGs, miscalculated carbs and the other diabetes anomalies would be left unaddressed. Now, Arden can text me if her BG is slightly elevated after lunch and we make small adjustments as we would if she was home with me. Lows are handle in kind, no more big carb intakes because I won't be in contact with Arden for many hours. We bump borderline lows and readdress if that bump didn't do the trick. No longer is the school day an eight hour crap shoot, Arden's diabetes is being dealt with immediately when in acts up. I plan on speaking more about this at length in the coming months.
This seems like a good time to remind you that I am not a doctor and that there is a clear message at the bottom of this page that insists that you never take anything that I say as medical advice because I do not mean these words to be such. I would however suggest talking about these easy adjustments with your doctor...
on 2013-06-11 19:02 by Scott Benner
I originally posted an image with this piece that had some bad information on it. Thank you to Sara (@saraknic on Twitter) for pointing it out and leading me to the new graphic from The American Diabetes Association. Please check out their page about Estimated Average Glucose (eAG) and howitrelatestoA1C. Very cool stuff!