In the past 11 + years of diabetes, we've been given all sorts of advice about my daughter's health and care. Advice has come at all stages, from all sorts of people. At this week's endocrinology appointment, I was reminded of a piece of advice which falls at the top of my list of favorites.
Looking like perhaps he'd just been through a challenging appointment or two, the endocrinologist sat down at his desk, glanced at the dexcom printout and the A1C slip and said, "Ahhh...this should be easy."
"This A1C is very nice. And these graphs look pretty good too." He shared the A1C and discussed it with my daughter. Then he asked us, "Do you know how you did this?"
"Um...not really. If I did, I think I could make a fortune," I replied as my daughter merely shook her head.
"Well I do. Look at this printout here. This part of the graph is the overnights."
Ah, yes. The advice we received years ago from our first (and favorite) diabetes educator:
If you can stay in range overnight and wake up near your target number, everything else will fall in place.
Being in range overnight takes care of 10 hours of the day right off the bat. Then, if she wakes up at 100-ish instead of 180-ish, the breakfast spike is less significant and the lunch number is better too. All those other spikes from the miscalculation of carbs or the crummy site become blips on the screen rather than compounding factors for an already high average.
If, the uninitiated or the overachiever might ask, this overnight thing is the key to success, why don't we just keep her numbers in range overnight all the time? I wish we could, but as the old pro and the realist know, stuff happens. In this case, growing happens and hormones happen. Every so often things slowly get out of whack, particularly in a growing kid. The 5 a.m.creep up begins. Or the 2 a.m. correction comes into play. The evening carb ratio no longer quite does the trick. Sometimes, all of these things seem to happen at once.
At our winter endo appointment, my daughter's A1C was 3/4 of a point higher than it was last week. We spent a good part of that appointment addressing high numbers at 10, 2, and 6 a.m. It felt like the whole night had gone haywire all at once and like untangling those numbers would be like untangling the Christmas lights: a task best left to somebody else. We gladly accepted the help.
As winter turned to spring, we continued to tweak basal rates and the evening carb ratio. Problems crept up one at a time and we apparently managed to keep things under control. Can we keep it up all summer? I don't know. I do know that I should pay close attention and call in professional reinforcements if I need to, because:
If she can stay in range overnight and wake up near her target number, everything else does, indeed, fall into place.