Note to self: When you set out on a path to a better place, you won’t get there if you turn around and go backwards.
Yeah, I’m talking about diabetes again. Actually, it has been seven months since I talked about diabetes and its relationship to COVID-19 in this column. Since then, I think I have been in a state of denial. No regular checking of my blood sugar levels at home, eating all day because I’m mostly working from home and food is so available, and not exercising because I was in a foggy funk. I did not even reach out for support from my peers in the Diabetes Wellness Support Group – or to give them support either.
The result was watching my A1C levels rise from a manageable 6.3 to 6.8 three months ago and finally to 7.4 this week! When I was first diagnosed in 2014, I know what it took to bring my 7.5 down to 6.5 in just three months. It seems a bit daunting now, though.
Let’s analyze my 2014 and 2020 experiences to see how I lost my way on the path to diabetes management and ended up right back where I started:
• 500 mg Metformin to lower my glucose level (yup, still doing that – the only thing I am still doing, it would seem)
• Limited calories to 1,600 a day and carbohydrates to 45-60 grams at one time (oops!)
• Kept track of calories, carbohydrates, protein, and fats (need to get with that online tracker again)
• Budgeted dark chocolate into my day so I didn’t feel deprived (oh, I went over-budget on that, for sure)
• Stopped eating after 8:00 p.m. (ummmm…ice cream before bed anyone?)
• Walked 1 mile most mornings (well now, that didn’t happen)
• Joined others in learning how to manage diabetes (that could have helped with accountability, motivation, and persistence)
I am not going to blame my increased A1C totally on COVID-19. Yes, it did play a part in my general sense of well-being or lack thereof. But, no, I chose to slack off and stop keeping careful track of my diabetes management. This is not good. Not at all. I have always said I did not want to die from something that I could have prevented. I know I can manage my diabetic condition because I was doing a pretty good job of it for five years.
So, what about COVID-19 and diabetics? The last diabetes column I wrote back in April quoted the American Diabetes Association (ADA) “…people with diabetes (who) do not manage their diabetes well and experience fluctuating blood sugars … could worsen the chance of getting seriously ill with COVID-19 … because (the) body’s ability to fight off an infection is compromised.” Sad to say, there are probably a lot of diabetics like me who are similarly compromised and in denial.
The holidays are coming and we want to gather with our families and friends. Please be careful of your diabetic family members and friends. Help them by staying away from them – at least six feet with masks all around. It’s going to take diligence, compliance, and persistence by all of us to not end up where we started – or worse.
Willie Braudaway strives to make life better as a librarian, genealogist, and member of various community organizations. Contact her at email@example.com