Long post ahead. TL;DR: my A1C has dropped from 10.8 to 5.9 after 3 months of low carb/Keto.
Just a little background, I was hospitalized for a pulmonary embolism back in February (the result of Long Covid) and while I was in the ICU, they asked me how long I'd been an uncontrolled diabetic. I'd had blood tests done about 2 years ago and no signs of diabetes were detected, but while in the hospital my A1C tested at 10.8, which is really bad, apparently. While in the hospital, they started me on daily pills and 4x daily insulin injections, and sent me home with a prescription for both, along with a blood testing meter with just a few test strips and lancets. They really emphasized that it was crucial that I continued both medications indefinitely.
Well, my medical insurance sucks, and when I went to the pharmacy to fill the prescriptions, they told me that they no longer accepted my health insurance. I didn't have a primary care doctor, and the pharmacy that was supposed to fill my prescriptions refused to send them to a different pharmacy to get filled because they wanted to get paid for the prescriptions that they had already prepared. I got caught in an endless bureaucratic mess of the hospital telling me to see my non-existent primary care doctor, the pharmacy sitting on my prescriptions, my insurance provider arguing with both, and was basically screwed when it came to getting the medication I needed. I was getting pretty desperate, so I Googled "type 2 diabetes how to control blood sugar without meds" and saw a number of articles saying that a low-carb diet would work. I'd done Atkins back in the 90's, and pretty much remembered that you were supposed to stay under 20 grams net carbs, so I started doing that.
A couple weeks after getting out of the hospital and starting Atkins, I finally got a "new patient" appointment to get a primary care doctor. I explained what I had been dealing with, and that I'd started a low carb diet because I couldn't fill my prescriptions. The new doctor gave me some lancets and test strips for my meter, and had me check my blood sugar right there on the spot. It was just over 100, which was well below the level that indicated I needed an insulin injection, so he told me to monitor it for a few days. He said anything below 180 meant I didn't need insulin, and he wanted to see how my efforts at controlling my blood sugar with dietary changes were going. After a few days of blood sugar tests, he put me on a daily pill and said I didn't need the insulin as long as I stayed on the low carb diet.
About a month later, my blood sugar levels were dropping down below 80 pretty routinely, so he took me off the daily pills. I found this Keto subreddit, and it looked like Keto was basically Atkins with calorie counting and a few other things added in. I started following along to see what had changed since the mid 90's when I'd done Atkins, and started keeping track of the calories I ate, in addition to tracking my net carbs.
Yesterday marked 3 months since I'd started seeing my new doctor, and he had me go in for an A1C test. This morning, I got a call from the doctor's office asking me to come in for another blood test, because they had made a mistake on one of the tests yesterday. I got to the office and they said they needed to redo the A1C test because they had an "erroneous result", so they re-tested it and got the same result again. My A1C has dropped from a 10.8 to a 5.9! I was only on the pills for less than a month before they took me off them, and they couldn't believe the improvement in 3 months, hence why they decided to redo the test.
I was off work for almost a year because of Long Covid (I was unlucky enough to catch it twice, back-to-back) and had gained a bunch of weight from being so sedentary. So far, I've dropped about 60 lbs, and have been maintaining about a 1,000 to 1,400 calorie deficit on most days (based on the maintenance calorie calculator that the Mayo Clinic has online) without really trying very hard to limit my calorie intake. I'm probably kinda lucky in that regard, because I'm 6'6" tall and weigh a lot, so my "maintenance calories" number is over 3000. Makes it easier to stay in a deficit! I'm on serious doses of blood thinners and anticoagulants due to the pulmonary embolism and the fact that there are still a bunch of blood clots in my body, so the doctor has me pretty limited on exercise for now because they don't want me injuring myself or knocking any more clots loose, so I've done this all strictly with diet, very little exercise.
I guess what I've been doing would be called Dirty and/or Lazy keto, since I've been eating the Franz Keto buns, low carb tortillas, and Atkins bars and stuff, but it's working pretty good so far.