Dealing With An Unexpected Number

Unexpected numbers can come at you in any shape or form.

A speeding ticket you definitely didn’t expect. The bill for your groceries (wait, what the heck did I just buy…? Gold?). Your phone bill after a month of especially exciting news, that clearly everybody needed to know (and sometimes Facebook just doesn’t cut it). The amount of (really annoying) red little numbers on the screen of your iPhone.

Or these sneaky numbers can be health related. Your weight. Your blood pressure. The amount of carbs in a chocolate bar.  Or, your blood glucose reading.

What they all have in common is that split second of freezing. The world stops spinning for just a fraction of time, and your hopes, ideas, and yes, even self esteem just plunges to way below sea level. 

I’m sure you know what I’m talking about, and I’m certain you’ve experienced it, too.

I recently had one of these come and slap me across my very unexpecting face. Naturally, this happened at my doctors office.

A few days ago, I went for my bi-yearly diabetes check up with my endocrinologist.

Finger pricks were done, blood pressure, weight and circumference were recorded and I landed back in the waiting room for a few minutes.

The visit started really well, I didn’t have to wait long (yay, always a bonus!), and my doctor seemed to be in a good mood.

In short, all was well and good. Until she gave me the result of my HbA1c test.

It had increased, not decreased. There was a higher number staring back at me from her bleary computer screen than I’ve seen in more than 1,5 years.


“But… all that effort… I’ve done everything imaginable to tame this.” I almost stuttered, feeling those darn tears burning inside my eyelids. Why the eff was this happening? Surely she must know, she’s a doctor, right? … were two of the thoughts that immediately hit me.

“Hanna. It’s nothing that you’re doing wrong, you’re handling your diabetes really well” she replied (and I almost fainted for the opposite reason, because I’ve NEVER heard that before!)

“It’s not your diet, it’s not your exercise, it’s not the sleep, it’s not the stress,” she continued, “it must be something else.”

Ah, so she’s basically as clueless as I am myself. Well, that’s a relief. Kind of.

“We’ll put a continuous glucose meter sensor on you for a week and see if there are any unknown peaks in your blood sugar. And we’ll check your thyroid again, along with a full blood panel. How’s Monday to start wearing the sensor?”

“Ehm, yeah, I guess…” is all I could say at this point.

She followed me to the laboratory, where my favourite nurse (thank god) already waited for me with a needle, ready for a blood test.

Throughout this, I kept feeling those effing tears burn, making the nurse think I’d suddenly developed a paralysing fear of drawing blood for tests. After reassuring her she’s awesome and the best one I’ve ever known for taking my blood, I just switched off into thought mode.

What’s going on? How can I have missed such high blood glucose spikes that would make SUCH a difference? I mean, I know there were 2 instances I had no control, but seriously? What else can I do? Is there anything else i CAN do? What’s wrong with me? I give and I give and I give this disease attention, energy and sacrifices on a daily basis – why can’t it just play along?

My ego clearly wasn’t ok with this result.

I mumbled thank you to the nurse, and headed out the door. I walked 3 km downhill  to my house, crying, being angry, annoyed and frustrated all at the same time. Cursing my own body for being so shit. For not working properly, and for putting my life at risk.

The rest of the day I cancelled everything I had planned and watched tv. That’s how numbing this was for me. (Although Season 2 of Orange Is The New Black is absolutely brilliantly awesome.) What can I do? What else can I remove/add/do in my life that would help me out of this crap?

I already do and give and sacrifice so much for this, things that, if I’m honest, I probably wouldn’t take as seriously if it wasn’t because of my disease(s). I meditate, exercise, recently begun exploring EFT tapping, I work with my attitude, emotions and anything else that can kick me out of my routine daily, I drink tons of water, I eat healthily and according to how I’ve figured out my body does best (and (almost) never have cheat meals), I take my medication and supplements on time, I don’t stress very often, I do the things I love, the things that make me happy (like my job!), I have a routine and keep to it, I make sure I spend enough time on my own so that I don’t take on too much… I’m seriously depleted of things that I could be doing more to accommodate the diabetes in my body.  It feels like I give everything I have, but I just can’t win. And that feels like crap.

The following day I realised what it was: nothing. I can do absolutely nothing else than I already am to improve this. All I can do is to keep going. Just like I have before. This may seem daunting to you, but for me it was part of healing from the shock and coming back.

How you react to an unexpected number is completely up to you, you always have a choice. But you need to have the courage to brush yourself off and try again, after the initial shock has passed. Sometimes it isn’t even your fault at all – you can do everything completely right and still get an unexpected number.  Especially when it comes to an autoimmune condition. But it’s so essential not to give up, even though it very well may seem a lot easier at the time, and to stand up and tell this number to go shove it, because that’s all it’ll ever be – a number on a paper. You can improve, you can and will do better, but that number is still going to be the same. Whether it’s your weight, telephone bill or your HbA1c result.




0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *