For the last few weeks I’ve been putting off getting my quarterly blood work done. The reason, as ridiculous as this may sound, was that I didn’t want the effect of my post surgery high blood sugar to show up in the test. I had my surgery four months ago and my blood sugar was really affected for a couple of weeks. But since Jess was going in for a blood test last week, I decided to join her.
So, this morning I sat in front of my computer nervously checking to see if my results were in (i.e. How bad is my A1c?). I sat there, waiting to hit the Enter key and feeling the kind of pressure I used to feel when checking final exam results back in school. Why does diabetes make me feel like I’m being graded? Maybe because, like many people with diabetes, I view my A1c as a test or a periodic review of how well I’m keeping my diabetes under control. I know that there are other parameters, like how often you go low, but since I hardly go low (and this has been consistently true for a while) my A1c does reflect how high my blood sugar is most of the time.
I have worked hard to keep my A1c under 7%, the diabetics benchmark, but I really strive for a “normal” A1c of under 6%. I haven’t been there for a long time but I always hope that I’ll do better and I always hope I’ll see my result in blue – the color of the normal range – and not in red.
Jess saw her test results first.
“You won’t believe what they did?” she said, calling me over to her laptop. “They changed the A1c range. They made it harder to be normal.”
“What?” I said, not sure what she was talking about.
The “normal” A1c range used to be 4.7%-6.4%, but n 2005 it was changed (I don’t know who did it or why) to 4%-6%. Now it seems it has been changed again, lowering the “normal” or healthy A1c range to 4%-5.7%.
The truth is that these changes don’t have very much effect on me, since I’m not in the “normal range” under any of the criteria, and every A1c result correlates to an average blood sugar number which in my case is always higher than normal.
But as I sat in front of my computer, about to hit the enter key, it did matter for some reason. Being “healthy” just got harder.
I looked at my result – 6.8% again, the same result I had last time. I guess that’s okay, I thought to myself. I was afraid it would be over 7%.
But I felt a little sad. Even though I’ve been told a million times that I don’t need to strive for an A1c below 7%, I don’t ascribe to that school of thought. I believe my A1c should be “normal” and the chance of being normal is now very far away.