It was the end of January, and I was in a tight spot. My endocrinologist had threatened to prescribe additional medication for my diabetes for the past several visits. I kept putting him off, hoping that my exercise regimen of walking eight to nine miles each day combined with exerting some additional will power over snacking would lower my Hemoglobin a1c readings. My blood draw after that late January visit came back with an a1c of 8.5 – the goal for someone with Type 2 diabetes is 7.0 or under. I avoiding calling in to speak with him, again hoping that a near-miracle would occur that would let me avoid being prescribed more medication or even insulin at my next appointment at the end of April.
Then came Covid.
Shortly after arriving at work on Friday March 13, my boss notified me that starting that same day I would be working from home for the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic. One of my biggest concerns about working from home was that I wouldn’t be able to maintain my usual amount of walking; my workplace has an indoor hallway that’s one-eighth of a mile long – four trips down and back equals one mile. On a typical day on site I could walk five to six miles without worrying about the weather, added to any outdoor walking I could do before going in to work. While working from home, my ability to walk would rely totally on the weather. I resigned myself to the probability of the added expense of more medicine and the possibility of dealing with insulin injections.
I went to my next visit with the endocrinologist about six weeks later. Due to a cool spring season, I had been able to get 10,000 steps (about five miles based on my stride length) on most days. I had also noticed some improvement in the readings from my twice-daily finger sticks. Since leaving the office I was no longer exposed to the daily temptations of the cafeteria, break room, and vending machines. I was also able to avoid the departmental food days, cookies, and donuts that I had trouble resisting when I was working on site. I was anxious to get the results of my next hemoglobin a1c test.
The doctor acknowledged that my daily readings had improved, but as usual he reserved judgement until my a1c results came back. I received them a few days later via the testing company’s app. The reading had dropped to 7.8 – something was working. My next visit at the end of July would tell me whether there could be additional improvement or if I had hit a plateau.
Moving into the summer, I began doing most of my walking in the mornings before time to clock in for work. It got too hot for me to walk during breaks and over lunch, so I spent my lunches working on the first draft of my fourth book and read during my breaks. My a1c came back at 7.6 – it was still going the right direction, so the doctor stopped talking about more medicine.
In September, the a1c reading on my annual wellness screening came back at 7.2, which was backed up with a reading of 7.3 at my October doctor visit. And on top of the reduction in blood sugar, I had lost an average of one pound per month. I’m pretty sure I could have lost more if I had been able to maintain my exercise level from the time before I started working from home.
My next appointment with the endocrinologist will be in late January. With winter temperatures and precipitation on the way, I’m not sure whether my readings will continue to drop or if they’ll increase due to a decrease in activity. My morning walks have already become more sporadic over the last couple of weeks, but my daily finger stick readings are still dropping so I’m hopeful that my a1c will at least remain stable. I’ll do what I can over the next few months to make that happen. In the meantime, I’ll be sharing my office with one of my favorite co-workers.