This week, I’m responding to a blog post on lying to your endocrinologist from Kerri Sparling at Six Until Me. Sadly, the truth is I almost always lie to my endocrinologist. Every few months, I cringe when the nurse brings in the downloaded blood sugar readings from my glucometer (even more so now that I have a CGM and cannot pretend to hide those unexplained highs or lows). But every few months, my doctor looks at my readings and says, “These look good.”
I’m surprised, relieved, and jumping up for joy on the inside. I succeeded! I DID NOT FAIL in the eyes of my doctor! But then, I feel immediately guilty because I know I’m not telling her the whole truth. I don’t tell her about the late-night peanut butter ice cream binges or the fact that I haven’t regularly exercised in the past five months (mostly due to my commute and the awful winter weather we had this year, which made me want to crawl under my bed sheets and hibernate until spring). Instead, I say, “Well, that’s good,” with a slight smile. Play it casual, like I’ve got it under control.
But as Sparling pointed out in her blog post, my doctor knows it’s not me that’s “noncompliant.” It’s my pancreas that doesn’t work like it should, and I’m just trying to deal. But I’m a perfectionist. I admit this much to my doctor. She’s concerned about the lows; she’s always concerned about the lows. But this last visit, she surprised me. She said research now says that regular low blood sugar levels can lead to worse long-term complications than highs. Really?
The researcher inside of me should have asked for proof or at least a reference point so I could look up the information myself, but instead I thought, well, I’m screwed. I’ve been a perfectionist about my blood sugar levels since I was diagnosed at 22 in 2009. The CGM has helped me combat this constant desire to keep my blood sugar between 90 and 120, regardless of post-meal imperfections. So I feel I’m doing better and having less lows, but my A1C still reads 5.5. It’s always been below 6, ever since my first endocrinologist visit two months after my diagnosis.
My doctor assures me that the American Diabetes Association says an A1C between 6 and 6.5 is healthy for a diabetic. The only time my A1C has been 6 is during a period of my life when I stopped taking insulin and ignored the severe highs. I despise highs, even more than I despise lows. At least with a low, I can correct it in 30 minutes or less, but a severe high could take hours to come down. A part of me wants to believe my body is trying to cure itself, that maybe I’m more sensitive to the insulin because my body is actually producing insulin, too, just not enough, and maybe in a few years, my pancreas will start working normally again?
But I shake that thought. I know from the time I wasn’t taking insulin that my pancreas is not functioning like it should, and my body is not trying to cure itself. I know that, but yet I grasp at straws, hoping I don’t get the short one this time. I do not tell my endocrinologist any of this. I take her advice for combating lows, and then I’m on my way. Maybe the reason I lie is because I don’t want to admit I’m not in control, that sometimes this disease gets the better of me? Maybe? But for now, I do the best I can and promise myself I’ll tell the truth someday.