Only 24 hours before the American Diabetes Association announced their new A1c guidelines for children 19 years old and under, Arden was in her Endocrinologist office for her quarterly appointment. We missed her previously scheduled appointment in April because of an illness. At that time the Doc told us, "Arden's A1cs have been good for the last year and a half... let's just get back together in June".
Skipping a quarterly appointment made me feel strange but the three months seemed to fly by and before I could wonder what happened to the time, it was June and I was signing Arden out of school just like we have every three months for the past 8 years. It was Endo time. I found myself thinking about those numbers as I drove to the office.
"Diagnosed in August of 2006... first Endo appointment was in early September..."
Then I counted off the months. "October, November, December... December of 2006 was her second visit. Then four in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 - we just skipped April of 2014, so this is maybe, Arden's 32nd visit to her Endocrinologist.
This thought made my heart heavy until I remembered my recent trip to the Dominican Republic, and I was quickly reminded that there is an entire planet full of people living with diabetes and most of them can only wish that they were able to visit a doctor. I adjusted my thinking and instead of the number 32 feeling like an albatross, it started to feel like a life preserver.
I walked into Arden's 32nd Endo appointment with a fresh set of eyes. Arden however, was not in the same mindset - she was preoccupied, unusually nervous and she seemed just a bit unsettled. When I asked her why she said, "I think I get a blood draw today... I really don't want to do that". A few minutes after we got into the waiting room a nurse called our name and we were off. These visits have their own pattern. Height, weight, blood pressure and other vitals happen in a room thats no bigger than a walk in closet, then we head down the hall for a hemoglobin A1c test and blood draw when necessary. The nurse started with Arden's A1c, loaded the sample into the machine and then ushered us to an exam room, "No orders for a blood draw in the computer", she said. Arden was relieved but confused, "I always get a blood test in the summer", she told me as the nurse left the exam room. Then she smiled as if she had gotten away with something big. About a month ago Arden experienced serious and sudden needle anxiety while at a dentist appointment, this was new for her, and I never imagined that it would translate to her Endo appointments because while she doesn't enjoy the blood draws, she has never resisted them or been afraid.
After the nurse left the exam room we chatted about softball for a minute (Arden's 9 year old All Star team had just won their tournament the day before) and then I snuck back to the phlebotomists room to get an early peek at her A1c result.
Arden's A1c has been steadily improving for the past two years but this was our first experience with skipping a quarterly appointment and I was irrationally concerned that would mean an increase from Arden's last result of 6.7. When I arrived in the room, it was empty and there was about one minute left in the process... just enough time to get my phone out of my pocket.
Watch the ten second video before you read on - trust me.
My heart did a backflip when "6.2" appeared on the screen, a back flip. In July of 2009 Arden's A1c went from 8.5 to 8 when we switched from shots to the OmniPod insulin pump. In October of 2012 I blogged about the factors that I believed helped get us to her new best of 7.5. I remember just hoping for 7.4 in June of 2013 when Arden's A1c made a serious leap to 6.5. We stayed steady for some time around 6.7, and to be honest, staying steady felt like a bigger accomplishment than achieving a decrease. The decreases come as you make adjustments but who knows if they are anomalous... steady is, well, steady... it's balance, it's relief. I love steady!
That said, I'd be lying if I told you that 6.2 didn't make me wonder what a number that began with five would feel like...
Oh, and we did need to get blood drawn on this day, but that's a whole other story...
Arden does not experience significant or frequent lows. Achieving a desirable A1c under those conditions is not healthy nor an indication of health. Steady is much better than fluctuations that "trick" you into feeling good at A1c time. Please remember to read my discloser, it will remind you that I have no medical training and this site is not meant to replace your doctor because my words are not meant to be advice. Arden's Day is just a blog.