The Great LIE of my HBA1c

My HBA1c, or average blood sugar level, is a lie. Well no it is what it is but what that means to people is a shoddy representation of the reality in which I live. My HBA1c is 8.6%. It was 7.1% when this all blew up in my face so it could be a lot lot worse when you look at the figures as just that, figures. The thing is that number is a lie because it is an average. It is a great big stinking heap of false security and confusion.

I’m high a lot. 6 hours a day my numbers are ridiculous because of the dawn phenomenon and how noneffective MDI is in treating it. The numbers go up and I try drag them down and it is no fun. The next 6 hours depend on what sort of day I’m having and what I’m doing but tend to be in the ‘they will do’ range. The other 12 hours I am happy to say tend to be in the lower numbers and so in ‘target’. That isn’t healthy or good or positive in any way. It feels horrible and makes me want to rip my hair out but the average….the average of that roundabout is 8.6%, a HBA1c many would envy in a heartbeat but I’d swap how they FEEL in a heartbeat.  What sucks even more is if I was 8 years old that number would have been perfect and I’d have probably got a shining report at clinic, but then they changed the targets. Boo.

I can’t function with my diabetes the way it is right now. I can’t work and I can’t go to school, yet people with HBA1cs the same as me work full time, play tennis once a week and pump iron in the gym another day on top of that. They can function and live and do things I can’t. The numbers say if anyone should be struggling it shouldn’t be me. That is the lie in a HBA1c. I take very little interest in the HBA1cs of others because I don’t think it really tells me jack about them. I would never put my number on my twitter profile because it lies. It protects me from future complications but it suggests I’m somewhat ok. Lies, lies and more lies. A steady glucose level of 9 might be out of target but it feels a whole lot nicer than roller coaster of 22,12, 9, 7, 6, 4, 7, 18, 6, ect. I’m not advocating higher HBA1cs or suggestiong anyone should strive for that but I’ve had perfect 7%s and I’ve had hellish 7%s and they look no different on the paper at the end of clinic but are two very different ways of living. That 8.6% was a creep up over winter when things went crazier than usual but for a long time while ‘ill’ my average hovered just out of target, sometimes IN target. While numbers are a lot to diabetics, that number is not everything.

I destroyed myself growing up worrying over that number. A good average became more important than the numbers my meter was reading to get it. My first good scores came frm horrific swings and roundabouts. Either I was hyper or hypo as a 14 year old but hey, I had an average of 7.6 so wasn’t I fabulous? No, I was still in a horrific place mentally and physically and being shifted from one insulin to another while the doctors felt I was fine and the nurses dealing with my pleads for help knew different.

I guess my point is that for me, my HBA1c is for the future. That number is about my protection against future complications and where I will be in 20 years. The readings I get on my meter are the now. Hopefully one day I will get back to my 7.0% I had and be getting it again by actually having blood sugars that were stable somewhere around 6.5 most of the time because I did it once but I think it is important to make it more known that there is a bigger picture out there. I’ve wanted to get that off my chest for a while. Yes, they are important but they are NOT everything. Diabetes is far too big to become one percentage of a person’s life.


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