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Lower A1C, Happier Me

Eric Lagergren

August 18, 2011

Earlier this week I made my way to the endocrinologist for my four-month checkup. As has become my blogging habit, it is now my duty to share the details of this visit with you. Why? Because I know you really care. Why else? Because apart from visiting my doctor, this has been a slow week for Eric Lagergren, person with diabetes (PWD).

The thing is, going to the doctor is such old hat these days, so maybe the next time around I won’t have anything to tell you about my visit. (Yeah, right.) It used to be that I’d fret over what my HbA1c would be. I’d lay awake cataloging highs over the previous three months, trying to remember if I spent much time with a blood glucose over 200 mg/dl. Then I’d try to think: What questions should I ask the doc? Kathryn and I would collaborate, devise a laundry list of things we thought we needed to know, questions I must ask during my visit. I’d pull out a slip of paper midway through the exam and see what was highest priority based on what the doc and I had already discussed.

I’d also try to find ways to let the doctor know that I was doing all I could to be a wonderful PWD, to be that person who does his best to keep his self-management under control. I don’t know, in my early days with diabetes, I wanted that physician’s pat on the back. We’re so proud of you, Eric! Look at Eric, he should be our poster child for a PWD!

Gross, huh?

This time around, though… Well, to be honest, I didn’t give much thought to the visit. They called with an appointment reminder two days before, and although it was on my calendar, I needed the reminder.

During my visit last April my A1C was 7.0%. That was before my new insulin pump, which I started wearing in late June. I can’t say I made a wholehearted effort to lower my A1C, but when I started the new insulin pump, I set my target blood glucose at 105 instead of 120. I’ve also been checking my blood glucose more with this new pump. Most everything else, though, has been pretty consistent. Exercising about the same amount, eating pretty much the way I always have. It is summer, though, and on the whole I’d say I’m more active. On the whole, I am probably working out longer, which probably does help lower my A1C.

This time my A1C was 6.6%. Yay for me! The doctor told me that lowering it a tenth of a percent when you’re at 7 is a pretty good achievement, so I should feel pretty content with the 6.6%. I do. I’m happy, especially because I wasn’t obsessing about lowering, especially because I didn’t have any severe lows over the previous four months — and we all know that the lower we go with our A1Cs, the more risk we run for going hypoglycemic.

Next week I think we may have our first meeting with our new medical students at the University of Michigan Medical School’s Family Centered Experience program. (Scheduling between us and the students: in process.) If our meeting’s over by the time my blog entry is due, look for news about the smart doctors-to-be we get to have conversations with about my illness for the next two years. I love the FCE program and look forward to writing about it once again.



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