August 1st, 2015 marked the 19 year anniversary of my diabetes. 19 is no significant benchmark, 1, 5, and 10 years were all passed quite a while ago and 25 is still a ways away. 19 is striking though, simply because it’s a lot of years. It’s a lot of finger pricks, sites changes, hastily gulped juice boxes, and dizziness because of a forgotten boluses.
Control of diabetes is incredibly important, it’s always been ingrained into my head that having steady numbers and an A1C under 8 are incredibly important for long term health. As I headed into my teen years, hormones, teenage attitudes, and newfound independence meant my numbers weren’t as steady as they used to be. With the addition of the CGM, I was able to see through concrete graphs that even though my A1C stayed in the normal range, my numbers were a yo-yo of highs and lows. My A1C became an average of the 277 that flew down to 55 with an aggressive treatment, and back up to 294 after an even more aggressive treatment.
Especially now that not only am I out of the teen years, but my diabetes almost is too, I’m seriously considering the implications of crazy numbers on my long-term health. I’m starting to understand my Mom’s panic of a nasty cut on my foot. I used to roll my eyes but now scrub anything I see clean and am constantly checking up on it. Or the moment of panic when optometrist thought he saw an irregularity in my eye before laughing and saying “oh wait, that’s just a smudge on the machine!” Control is of course about feeling good on a day-to-day basis, but also crucial for my health in the next 5, 10, 15 years. Issues that seemed so far off when I was 13, 14, or 15 years old are now hitting me that it’s up to me when (and if) these problems will arrive.
My numbers have steadied, but not as much as I would like. I still feel panicked when 10 minutes after juice, my 51 still has a down arrow on the CGM. I start to reach for an extra few ounces of juice, just a couple more crackers or another glucose tab or two even though I know that will leave me high later. I’ve wrapped up my teen years and am now fully settled into college. Hormones, a new place with new independence, and teenage attitudes are no longer excuses for wild numbers. I know that everyone forgets a bolus every now and again or has a justification for their endo why they were running high all day and still ate the bowl of pasta. I know I’m never going to have perfect numbers, but I do want to always improve. My goal for my 19th year of diabetes is patience. Work on transitioning my intellectual understanding that numbers can take a while to readjust back to normal after running high or low to actual understanding and practice of that concept. With that being said, take the few minutes to sit down and wait for my numbers to improve instead treating extra and continuing the workout or eating my dinner before my numbers are in normal range will make a huge difference. Patience has never been my strong point, but looking forward, as I am easing into my adulthood (and my diabetes is joining me), I’m not sure there is anything more important.