Happy Mid-Holiday Season, Dear Readers. We had a modest turnout for the DiabetesMine Holiday Survival Stories Contest this year, which wasn't such a bad thing, as it turns out; we judges still had a hard time choosing winners.
In the end, we tried to focus on situations that "typify" what we PWDs tend to go through at this season.
Four stories, two "good" and two "bad" were selected — although the crossover was quite striking in some cases. For example, is sneaking cookies that spike your BG a "Best Of" or "Worst Of" experience? Depends on how you look at it, I guess.
So, without further ado, we bring to you the 2009 winners:
Heidi, of The D-Log Cabin
Kelly Kunik, of Diabetesalicuosness
Karen, of Bitter-Sweet Diabetes
Meri, of OurDiabeticLife
* Please note: being a blogger was not a requirement to win - we're just the types most apt to share our stories, it seems.
Read the winning entries below.
Fork poised for the kill, I deftly stabbed the remaining green bean off my plate and gobbled it up, ready to head over to the buffet for the good stuff (dessert).
Pecan pie...just the sight of it made my mouth water. My favorite holiday treat.
"No, no, that isn't for you," my sister-in-law chided, squashing any dreams I'd had of getting a sugar-high that evening.
"Here's your sugar-free apple pie, I made it myself."
Ugh. In the first place, I'm not overly fond of apple pie,and in the second place,sugar-free does not equal carb-free so it was even more of a bolus crap shoot then the real stuff.
But, to my credit, I ate a slice of the pie. It was somewhat like eating drywall with the faintest undertone of actual apple.
Rough. Crusty. Bland.
"Thank you," I squeaked, after taking another slug of spirits to burn it down my throat. "I appreciate you taking the time out to do this."
While the rest of my supportive family chowed down on the real stuff, my sister-in-law beamed back benevolently at me.
"You're quite welcome, would you like another slice?"
Sometimes keeping the peace is more important then actually liking what you're eating. It's not just diabetes related, but you can show that you do appreciate the love and concern that is put into something. (That is the one of the greatest gifts of the holiday season.) They're at least trying to get things right.
* * *
Back In the Day, Christmas Cookies Were My Contraband Of Choice
Holidays were tough in our house for many reasons. We had a large family and money was tight, plus we had lots of people
with diabetes, which made holiday treats a challenge. Half the people at the table could eat whatever they wanted, and half couldn't- it was rough on everyone!
She'd bake late at night, when I was in bed, but I could smell the chocolate and it kept me up at night. I'd wait until everyone was in bed and the house was quiet. Then, I'd sneak downstairs (skipping the creaky 5th step) and make my way past the dinning room & through the kitchen, and finally arrive in the heater room. We kept our second refrigerator in the heater room, and that's where all the good stuff was stored.
Ever so carefully, I'd take 3 or 4 cookies and wrapped them tight in the tinfoil, (which was a great way to get rid of the evidence,) and I'd rearrange the cookies that were left so that the remaining contraband didn't looked disturbed. I'd grab a carton of milk from the fridge and go outside on the back porch, unwrap and eat my contraband cookies in the dark. Pathetic I know. But also brave when you consider a 9-year-old was eating contraband cookies well past midnight on the back porch in the dark of night. I'd sit on the porch steps, look up at the stars and enjoy my cookies. I'd wash them down with swigs of milk and I'd relish in the fact that I was enjoying something that most people took for granted.
When I was finished, I'd crumble up the foil and toss it in the alley between the garage and the house. Hiding the evidence from any who would look for it. I'd go back in the house, lock the back door, put the carton of milk back in the heater room fridge, and then go to the downstairs bathroom where I'd wash my face and hands and rinse out my mouth with Listerine. I'd tiptoe up the steps, avoiding that creaky 5th step and jump back into bed.
The next morning when I tested my urine (back in the diabetes dark ages we didn't test our blood, we tested urine) was almost always 3% or more, and getting up for school was difficult. Soon enough, my mom would discover the fact that cookies were missing. You see it wasn't just me that was pilfering the Christmas Cookie Stash, my sister and dad (both type 1's) were doing the exact same thing I was.
My mom started sending out the cookies to my brother on a weekly basis instead of sending one big batch.
Am I proud of my "Holiday Fail" as a child? No, I'm not. But, I absolutely understand it. Back then there was no such thing as carb counting or bolusing for extra food. The Diabetes diet was strict and didn't allow for any holiday treats.
I've come along way since then, and I'm proud of the fact that I test my blood sugar between 10 and 15 times a day, and have figured out how to reach "Blood Sugar Nirvana" for most of my favorite bolus worthy foods.
Today, whenever this woman eats a Christmas Cookie, I think of that little girl and enjoy my cookie extra special in her memory.
— Kelly Kunik
* * *
Hmmmm, I've got a Worst that was also a Best...
A few years ago when I was still working, the Account Executives would always give us (the support staff) little Christmas gifts. Val's "presentation" of my gift is a WORST. She came to my desk and said "I feel really bad giving you this for Christmas because I know you can't eat it and I'm so sorry, but here." And she handed me a small bag of Lindt chocolates. I couldn't believe someone would actually feel like that about a gift and still give it!!! In fact, at that time, Lindt used to sell low-sugar chocolate bars that were delicious, so I couldn't understand why she didn't just pick up one of those. This story is also a Worst because I didn't explain to her about counting the carbs and bolusing for chocolate. But it's also a Best because
I didn't fly off the handle and give her a piece of my mind!! I was gracious and thanked her and told her I'd share them with my husband. That was the Spirit of the Season at it's Best!!
* * *
Our worst happened many Christmases ago when I had only two sons...one of which is diabetic. He was two at the time and on some archaic combination of insulin, a combo that made his diet and his meal times alarmingly stringent. Despite my better judgment, we went to visit my Husband's Brother for Christmas. Honestly, I almost levitated off the couch when my Brother in Law presented my little diabetic with a Bubble Gum Machine and a box assortment of Jelly Belly Candies. That night I ended up feeding my 3 year old a dinner of tortilla chips and cocktail weenies, because the main meal wouldn't be ready until 8:00pm. By 8:30pm, I was decidedly grumpy and ready to call it a night. We packed up the boys in our brand new minivan and set out for the long trip home. I think we were no more than 5 minutes on the road when our little diabetic proceeded to throw up all over the seats and floor....not once... but six times. Ketones followed, and we ended up in the hospital for the next 48 hours. It was a hospital stay riddled with problems, not the least of which was convincing a nurse that 10 units of insulin would surly kill my son.
So what does one do with a gum ball machine that serves as a reminder of ignorance and a hospital stay whose memory was begging to be forgotten? Well let me tell ya... One breaks it.
I broke it. On purpose. I took the vacuum and banged it hard against the dresser multiple times until it fell, and (luckily) broke on the floor. (I'm not a complete Scrooge; I saved the gumballs and jelly bellies in a baggie for later.) I blamed my non-diabetic 4-year-old when my husband asked about it. Sometimes an older brother just needs to take one for the team.
And sometimes, a Mom just needs to follow her heart.
* * *
Each winner will receive a fabulous prize pack, as described here. Many thanks once again to our generous sponsors:
Fit4D personalized diabetes exercise coaching.
HAH Originals, makers of fine medical ID jewelry.
StickMeDesigns stylish diabetes supply carry cases.
Blue Bunny ice cream low-carb treats.
HealthiFeet Diabetic Foot Cream.
Thank You and Happy Holidays One and All!