Thursday, 7 August 2014

How I went from an A1C of 81 (9.6%) to 62 (7.8%)

From this...

I wish I could tell you guys a magic cure for this. It didn't happen overnight. In fact, this drop in A1C took just under two years. Part of it I can attribute to switching to an insulin pump but on it's own an insulin pump isn't a magic cure. I would like to highlight that before this happened I made a 10point drop on my own. The pump is great but you do have to be prepared to put the work in. 

Pre Pump
I've talked about this before here but I found my diabetes managed to be like one big giant jigsaw puzzle, you try one piece and if it doesn't work you try another. That is what I was doing to start with. The first step came from wanting to have an active role in my health care. I had gone through the last 5-6 years, floating through as a passive participant in my health. I had terrible habits but not so terrible that it was unmanageable. My blood sugar levels were dangerous in the long run because they were contributing to a high A1c but in the moment I was able to live. The only point in which I needed medical intervention was when I ran out of insulin one weekend and I thought I would be okay till my doctors appointment on Monday. I wasn't and this showed my lack of knowledge about how intrinsically important insulin is. I went into DKA at the end of 2010 and came out of it being prescribed lantus which evened out my blood sugar levels. In any event, I was still running higher BSLs than I should have been and  I was consistently tired, grumpy and struggling to get out of bed in the morning. I put this down to stress and a heavy work load. I also continued to blame myself for these high levels.

And then halfway through 2011 I got sick. I rarely get sick and this one just completely wore me down. It was a combination of being run down, having the flu and a chest infection. I started paying a bit more attention to my levels and found that they weren't making sense even when my sickness go better. I emailed the Diabetes Nurse Educator and the hospital and organised an appointment to see her. From there we started working on the jigsaw puzzle. We adjusted my nightly lantus dose, my insulin to carb ratio, my correction factor, my insulin sites (I was asked to stay away from the left side of my stomach), and it felt like everything else under the sun. I even wore a CGM for a week (loaned to me by my local hospital) I was trying so many different things and trying to keep a brave face of it. Blogging helped but it did get me down to not see a better result than a 71 (8.6%).  Eventually the idea of a pump was brought and I was slightly hesitant at first. And then I had to go through an approval process with Pharmac which was terrifying. I did all this research on pumps and it made me really really want one!

Post Pump and becoming an active participant in my health care!
I've talked a little bit about my experience with my Animas Vibe here but one of the positives of a pump was my acceptance of my freaking enormous dawn phenomena. I now know that I need 3 times as much insulin during the hours of 2am and 6am compared to what I use during the day. When I discovered that it lessened off some of the intense blame I had been carrying for the past few years. With a dawn phenomena like that I was never going to be able to manage on injections. And that brings us to August 2014 where my latest A1c is 62. I know that I have a way to go before I am in a safer range but after 8 years of sitting in the 8 and 9 % range. I think that a 7.8% (or 62) is a pretty good sign. There was something amazing at looking at it and realising it was my lowest number since I moved to Dunedin in 2006. 

I can attribute my better levels to my discovery of the Online Diabetic Community. Diabetes is so isolating that it is damn great to have someone to share it with.