Sharing in the joy of a big part of being a kid.
By Deanna Glick
Editor's Note: While this columnist is no longer writing for dLife.com and we have ceased to update the information contained herein, there is much to be read here that is still applicable to the lives of people with diabetes. If you wish to act on anything you learn here, be sure to consult your doctor first. Please enjoy the column!
June 2010 — Ever since my diagnosis 16 years ago, I've felt thankful to have had a childhood without diabetes. A childhood filled with kid's treats like birthday cakes, candy hearts on Valentine's Day, candy eggs on Easter, candy everything on Christmas, and quarts of ice cream at slumber parties, all without a second thought about the carb content of it all.
Some of my greatest childhood memories involved consuming large amounts of food at slumber parties. Not only ice cream, but chips and candy and popcorn that would end up exploding all over the sleeping bags upon jumping in fear during ghost stories. The kid's treat fest would continue into the morning, when one dad in particular would make these fabulous chocolate pancakes with smiley faces on them. I can only imagine how much less fun the whole thing would have been had I had diabetes at that time.
It wasn't until the month of my 21st year that my pancreas began failing me. I may have gotten my childhood, but I certainly missed out on plenty that month. In fact, I was still in the throes of my diagnosis on my birthday and therefore had to eschew cheesecake (my chosen birthday dessert) and what would have been my first legal alcoholic beverage.
Other than on birthdays, by then, cake, candy, and ice cream were not a high priority in my life. Neither was motherhood. So it never occurred to me that I really hadn't escaped a childhood with diabetes. It would just be years down the road. And it would be my daughter's instead of my own.
From our earliest years, food – particularly treats – become a big part of our lives. And I'm now experiencing that a second time around with my daughter, as I am all the wonders of childhood. I remember telling a former boss how I missed the excitement I felt as a child about Christmas morning. His response: "Have children." Although I still lack motivation to get out of bed to see what Santa left behind, I admit it's easier and more rewarding with a kid who's smiling and squealing and laughing with delight.
But then, there's the damn kid's treats.
Just yesterday I found myself curled up on the couch with my kid breaking open plastic eggs she brought home from preschool and sharing the candy we find inside. The day before I was visiting the "cupcake store" (a local bakery) after she begged me to go. I cannot pass up the coconut concoctions. Last week, I filled the afternoon hours one day by firing up the Kitchen Aid and baking a batch of molasses cookies. And eating them.
I try to keep our kitchen free of unhealthy food that's way too easy to eat too much of. Many a visitor have peered into my pantry or refrigerator and were greeted with disappointing contents. This strategy helps me stay on track at home. But it doesn't prevent my indulgence during outings or seeking out various ingredients that can be made into something delicious (i.e. the molasses cookies).
Thankfully, an appropriately calculated bolus can rescue me from future hyperglycemia. And it allows me to share in the joy of a big part of being a kid. Such a treat.
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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