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A1C You Soon.

Image courtesy of the BloodBankOnWebThe paperwork has been on my desk, but I kept staring at it for a long time.  And by "long time," I mean three full months.  I kept finding reasons to put it off - my wedding was coming, I was busy at work, my shirt sleeves were too long - but the real reason was because I knew the number would be kind of crap.  A1Cs are never fun, and they serve as a sort of diabetes report card.  With my stress levels being a little out of control during the wedding ramp-up, my numbers followed suit.  And I didn't want to know what my A1C was, out of fear and stubbornness. 

But on Tuesday, I turned my brain off for a bit.  I grabbed the paperwork, left my office, and drove directly to the blood work lab.  I refused to psyche myself out (and I tried really hard not to think about the pinchy needle easing into that tender part of my arm ... not a fan). 

"Hi, I'm Kerri.  I need to have an A1C drawn."

"Okay, write your name on the sheet here and have a seat."  

I wrote my name, thus making it official.  I was there, for my A1C, and there was no turning back.

I'm not sure why I shy away from this test so much.  I think it's because I have spent over twenty years putting so much of my self-worth into this percentage.  When it comes back under 7%, I feel like these moments of diabetes difficulty are worth the effort.  I feel strong and confident, like I'm really making strides in achieving good health.

But the bummer numbers.  The ones that are over 7% and cause the endocrinologist to check the "uncontrolled type 1 diabetes" box.  My Internal Motivational Speaker screams in protest at this box checking.  "Hey!  Uncontrolled?  Dude, she's paying attention and really putting forth a huge effort to manage this disease!"  I get overwhelmed by the possibility of complications and maybe not having a healthy pregnancy.  The parts of this disease that I try not to think about, try not to focus on, creep into my thoughts and whisper in my ear.

The phlebotomist put the rubber thing around my bicep, asking me to make a fist.  "To bring out your vein," she said, preparing the needle.

"Oooh, I'm not a fan of needles," I admitted.  

"But you take needles all the time, right?  With the diabetes?"  She tapped my arm a few times with her finger.

"Sort of.  I have a pump.  And a CGM," I gestured to the Dexcom sensor on the back of my arm.  "This takes blood sugar results for me so I don't have to prick my finger so much."

"Aye!  The finger prick!  I do not like that so much at all.  I am a diabetic type 2.  The finger pricking makes me all ... " she made a face to let me know how much the finger pricks stung.  "I do not enjoy it."

"Well I don't enjoy having blood taken.  That's why I am nervous."

She laughed at me softly.  "And that's why you are staring at the wall instead of looking at your arm, right?"

"Damn straight."   

Now I wait.  I should have my results in a few days, and I'm really hoping that this A1C result doesn't reflect the weeks of stress and honeymoon and worky bits.  I hope it shows the hours at the gym, the healthy eating, and the constant monitoring.  Either way, knowing this number is important.  Some would say it's half the battle.  But I wouldn't end this post with a silly reference to GI Joe ... would I?


I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who freaks out at the thought of having blood drawn.

You could use EMLA or LMX-4 before your draw, so at least it wouldn't hurt (we do that for DD's CGM sites and blood draws). Maybe that would help a little. :)

Crossing my fingers for a good result! Don't worry I am the flip out, pass out, can't look at my arm when blood is being drawn type too.

You don't get your results back immediately? My dr. has a machine, and it takes about 7 minutes to get the results...longest 7 minutes of my life.

Dude, there's a huge difference between the itty bitty needles we deal with daily and the huge-ass torture devices they shove into your veins. Yuck, I can't watch them do stuff either.

But you say GI Joe, and I think of this, though language is NOT FOR KIDS:



"uncontrolled type 1 diabetes" box? are you serious? I hope your doctor doesn't really have a box that says that...I don't usually swear but that might trigger it! :) good luck. I always look away too! Those needles are huge!

Cara - I'm glad I'm not the only one, too! :)

Beth - Your comment was mostly Greek to me. What do those fascinating initials stand for?

Jillian - Ditto. On all counts. I'm such a drama queen.

Matt - Nope. I have my blood work done at an outside lab. So it gets sent out, I wait ... etc etc.

Hannah - HA!! I love the duped PSAs. This one is my favorite. "Give 'em the stick, don't give 'em the stick! Ooooooooh!" Oh my God it makes me laugh every damn time.

And thanks for calling me "dude." That may have made my day.

Anne - My doctor doesn't "talk about the uncontrolled box," but it exists there in the computer program. And I've watched her click it before. I hate that damn box.

EMLA is a lidocaine creme. It's awesome. I never could have gotten my CGSM in without it.

By, which, of course, I mean CGMS.

Mmmmm, those huge needles aren't pleasant, but they don't stress me out too much. It's more the results that I worry over. I tend to see anything over 7% as a huge failure on my part - and my endo doesn't like them at all either. I've seen that "uncontrolled" box you speak of and it's been checked more often than I like. So discouraging when you are working so hard and it just doesn't show.

Here's hoping yours is more in line with the good you've experienced over the past few months, and less reflective of the stressful wonky parts!

I think all this emotional crap is way harder to deal with than the actual poking and counting and physical stuff. People always talk about how brave we are for putting little holes in our bodies, but really the hard part is starting over. Again. And watching the results not match the efforts. Doing the same thing over again and hoping for different results.

Good luck. We were also in no rush to schedule Charlie's latest appointment for fear of a disappointing A1c.

Beth - Your comment was mostly Greek to me. What do those fascinating initials stand for?

Oops, sorry. I forget sometimes that what I hear in my brain doesn't always translate to actual comprehensible language. :)
EMLA is a prescription lidocaine cream, and LMX4 is a non-prescription version (though I have trouble finding a store around me that has it). DD, I'm guessing you know already, is my dear daughter, who uses a Dex 7 when I can get one on her. She's 11 and stubborn. Gets it from her father. ;)

EMLA goes on an hour before any site changes or pokes, covered with an IV3000 or Tegaderm dressing to keep it in place; then wipe with a tissue and clean with an alcohol swap, and it leaves a lovely numb spot. She used to use it for infusion set changes too, until we switched to Insets. She doesn't mine them as much as she did the Comforts.

I hate that 'uncontrolled type 1 diabetes'. You have wonder who's smoking what when they make up those descriptions. I'd say 10.0 and up is 'uncontrolled', 7.5 to 9.9 is 'amazing' and below 7.5 is 'super lucky type 1 diabetic' or 'frequent hypos with type 1 diabetes'.

I hope you get an excellent result.

You need a pediatric endocrinologist, they just do a finger prick and get results back immediately. Do you think you could pass for under 18??

My endo does the finger prick with quick results too (3-5 minutes) and I'm an adult (26)...maybe it's a location thing, I'm in Los Angeles.

Right sure. Just because I have diabetes means I LOVE needles.

6-8 times a day, I kinda feel like this guy.

I get total a1c anxiety. Bad.

I hope you get the # you are hoping for!

Ah! I just got my A1C back -- 7.5. Yikes. Now I'm getting daily letters stating in BOLD letters that my diabetes is under control. Hm. 30 years of it and no complications. Give me a small break why don't ya.

Uh, is NOT under control.

Doesn't anyone elses doctors use ththe "Quick" A1C? I had one done today (by the PA) and the doctor had the results (6.6) by the time he came in (10 minutes). I am really loving my new pump (MiniMed 715) I went from 9.1 to a 7.2 and now 6.6 in 6 months. All with the flu thrown in.

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