Friday, November 25, 2022

Good Enough for Government Work

I woke last night to the sound of thunder
How far off I sat and wondered
Started humming a song from 1962
Ain't it funny how the night moves
When you just don't seem to have as much to lose
Strange how the night moves
With autumn closing in
--Night Moves, Bob Seger, from the album Night Moves


This week is the first anniversary of my brush with the Hereafter.

After that week, and my subsequent trips to visit the Diabetes team, my Cardiologist, and my Primary Care Physician*, the past year has been... Rather boring.

Which is to say, that's a very very good thing.

I continued to lose weight --not a surprise given the diabetic and low sodium diet I'm under-- and my numbers continue to improve. To put this in perspective, let's talk about my A1C percentage. 

A1C is a measure of my blood glucose levels over a three month period. No, it's not a three months long test, but it measures the percentage of hemoglobin in my blood that has sugar attached. Everybody has some glucose attached to your hemoglobin, but diabetics have a greater percentage. And since it takes about 3 months for diet and other changes to affect those levels, that's why it's said that my A1C percentage measures the past three months' worth of blood glucose.

Here's a handy chart for what the percentages should be**:

Normal:            Below 5.7%
Prediabetes:       5.7% to 6.4%
Diabetes:          6.5% or above

Now that you know what the numbers ought to be, when I walked into the hospital a year ago, my A1C percentage was 12.6.

That might not sound all that large to you, but when I mention that to diabetics I've gotten to know, they all stop what they're doing and go "HOLY SHIT!" Typically followed by "I'M SHOCKED YOU'RE STILL ALIVE!"

So yeah, 12.6 is a lot.

Over the course of the past year, my primary care physician set a goal for me to get my A1C down to 7.0% and keep it there.

By June, I'd smashed through that goal and was down to 6.2%.

At my physical a couple of weeks ago, I tested at 5.8%, barely in the Prediabetic range.

My physician was pleased, and during the physical he began talking about dialing back some of my medications. (Within reason, of course.)

My cardiologist has also been upbeat, as since my tests back in April 2022 confirmed that my heart function was back to normal, she's been on the "keep doing what you're doing" path as well.

***

So where do I think things are?

Overall, a lot better than where I was a year ago, but anyone could say that.

I know I still don't hit my numbers all the time, and I've been repeatedly assured that I'm doing great by everybody, from my Cardiologist down to the Diabetes Team. Outside of persistent aches and pains that I've inflicted on myself by exercising too much at once, I feel pretty good. There have been a few notable side effects --one of which I have another prescription for that shows up on television commercials on a regular basis***-- but overall I guess I can't complain.

(About this, anyway. I mean, complaining is in my job description at PC here.)

I don't mean to disappoint people with more angst, but I'm doing well enough that it feels embarrassing to be talking about it. I mean, who wants to read a post saying "I'm still doing okay, thanks!" without much drama?

But I'm here, and that's good enough for government work.




*That is the current standard name for "my doctor" these days.

**Courtesy of cdc.gov.

***I swear, just about all commercials --outside of those for eczema or gout or HIV-- seem to cover drugs that I either currently take or had taken in the past. I suppose I should have more angst about this particular side effect than I do, and I'm sure that a lot of people in my position would do precisely that, but I'm happy that the drugs work. My having to plan my life around medications --and this is just one more on the pile-- is something I'm going to have to live with. My life is very much a planned set of activities, because I can't afford to let my guard down, and this is just another part of my life I have to regiment and plan for.

13 comments:

  1. As someone on a similar trajectory (though not starting at 12+ on the A1C) all I can say is that your past year has been amazing. People in the know will think the same thing.

    Pill boxes are my calendar. I even put my allergy meds and multivitamins in there now.

    Good job and keep it up. It ain't easy, and don't let anyone tell ya otherwise.

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    1. Thanks! And despite my best attempts, I still gained weight over the Thanksgiving holidays. Go figure.

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  2. Well-done, Red!
    My goodness, you did start in the stratosphere!

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    1. Yeah, it was a wee bit high. My pancreas (and heart) haven't killed me yet!

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  3. Way to go! Keep on doing what you're doing. It's obviously working.

    You also remind me I should really go get my annual diabetes test. I was pre-diabetic a couple of years back but Normal last year. I already do pretty much everything on the list of things you're supposed to do (Or not do) though so I'm not hugely motivated.

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    1. Thanks! They throw in that test as part of the bloodwork with my physical, so it's not a bad thing for me.

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  4. Dude, you're aspirational with how well you've adjusted to those lifestyle changes! I know that it matters because a big part of why my own father's health deteriorated so badly during the last years of his life was that he didn't want to follow things like dietary advice for his diabetes and aside from taking his prescribed medications, he just continued to do whatever the hell he felt like.

    I also made what's actually a very small change to my own diet about five months ago (for no reason in particular other than that it seemed like a good idea at the time), and while it's already had some positive effects I find that I still struggle with old eating habits even now. So huge kudos to you!

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    1. I'm definitely not perfect. I actually gained some weight last week, despite my best efforts otherwise. But I'll also freely admit I had some advantages that others didn't have, in that I actually like salads, but yes, I do really miss having a lot of foods I used to devour. Like bread.

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  5. Congratulations on your good health! How scary your original numbers were. It’s hard to change a lifetime of habits, but you’ve done it. I’m glad you did it and are with us still. Best wishes going forward. Atheren

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    1. Yes, they were a bit scarier than I realized at the time. Reading my data via the medical website I have access too was pretty sobering reading some months (and a lot more research) later.

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  6. I'm just glad to have you around still and on the up-trend. Small compared to what your family feels, but happy nonetheless. ^_^

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    1. Thanks! I'm happy to still be around and complaining as well! Somebody has to be yelling "Get offa my [virtual] lawn!" out there!

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  7. Adding that blue pill does have an impact, but if you already have a regimented life you might not notice it much. One thing I have noticed, however, is that despite all the commercials implying otherwise, spontaneity does kind of go out the window. There's an upper limit on the dosage per day, and you have to keep an eye on your health conditions to make sure you don't have any surprise "side effects".

    But hey, I'll raise a glass of water with ya!

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