Behind the A1C secrecy
What I didn’t tell you is what that goal was. I’ve made it a personal policy to NOT share my A1C (although I will tell the change from one to the next). But I’ll say it was modest – a baby-step from my previous two results. But I’m still not happy. I don’t know if that goal is good enough, and I fear setting an even more aggressive target.
Why? Because while some people would love to have A1Cs like mine, others have A1Cs that are significantly better (or lower- perhaps that’s the preferred term). And yet, there’s a third group that has been coasting along at my longtime target for an eternity already. I know this because they’ve told me – and told the world – what their A1C is. And, in a way, it makes me jealous.
I know that it’s morally wrong to think of other people’s test results in the same context of my own, but it happens. I believe that, when knowledgeable of one’s own number and that of a companion – whether regarding test scores, income levels, or lab results – it’s human nature to compare. This leads to the inevitable judging of either the other person, of myself, or both. That makes me uncomfortable.
A couple of weeks ago, my father-in-law was reflecting back on his college days. Though he majored in engineering (and worked as an accountant), the lesson he remembers is one derived from classical literature – Homer, Aristotle, and the like. That lesson: human nature, at it’s very core, doesn’t change. It hasn’t changed in thousands of years, and it will be the same a thousand years from now. People will always compare their situation with others, and people will always want what others have. I believe those core feelings can’t be changed.
My point: there’s no point in denying it. The best we can do is remove the temptations that trigger the natural, sometimes undesirable, response from the outset.
My doctor tells me that my A1C is good. But I know that it’s higher than that of a non-D person, and that it’s even higher than other T1D’s who’ve shared their numbers. This fills my head with questions:
- Is my doctor not setting the bar high (low) enough?
- Would I feel happier if these others didn’t share their A1C?
I don’t know the answers to these questions. I will say that the other people have served as a bit of an inspiration to me. While I have no inclination to go to a low carb diet, or to deny myself certain foods and freedoms which I now enjoy, the numbers that they’ve shared has helped to adapt my perception of what’s within the scope of possibility. And I know that I can be even better. I want my A1C to be better. (Yet I don’t want to make the sacrifices for that to happen. I’ll play all kinds of silly insulin-games before I pass up a good meal.)
So, on the plus side, sharing one’s A1C can serve as motivation to others.
But on the minus side, it can make people feel bad for the person sharing — or bad about themselves. Though nobody will say it out loud, someone will be perceived as a winner and someone else perceived as a loser. That isn’t nice. Or fair.
So if you tell me that you’re happy about your A1C, I’ll feel happy for you. Tell me you’re sad, and I’ll commiserate. But if you tell me you scored an 8.6 or a 6.8, you’ve now claimed a rung of the ladder on which I’m already standing, and I can’t help but notice you there. I’ll congratulate you if that 8.6 is a milestone accomplishment, and I’ll console you if the 6.8 fell short of your expectations. But in my own head, I’ll wish I’d never assessed our relative positions, regardless of who may be leading.
In this community, we share a lot, and we find mutual comfort in sharing those things. But to me, the A1C isn’t one of them.
But that’s just me. Your diabetes may vary.