Today is a day to give thanks, and like most folks, we're taking the day off to be with family and friends, watch some football and enjoy some great holiday dishes.
Of course, there's never a day off when it comes to living with diabetes. So we have to get clever about managing our "manual transmission" pancreases in the face of holiday feasts.
We asked around among the Diabetes Online Community (DOC) about how they do this at Thanksgiving time -- and their general thoughts on dealing with this food and family-heavy holiday -- and here's what we heard from you all via social media:
Food and insulin pairing
By and large, this topic brought in the most responses from our DOC friends, from Instagram and mostly Facebook.
- Tom Goffe: Thanksgiving diabetes trick: eat the same as I did on Wednesday -- intelligently and in moderation. Emphasis on intelligently.
- Anita Nicole Brown: Stay stress-free, active and remember to bolus accordingly!
- Scott Irvin: Easy.... Turkey, ham, green beans, sweet potatoes (not candied) dressing in moderation (avoid other breads), deviled eggs, kernel corn, turnip or collard greens.... a slice or two of tomato won’t kill you.
- Linda Balcom Jinks: Try to remember to bolus for what you think the carb count might be... if is a bit off remember the correction bolus is your friend at this time of year LOL and it's ok to use it (proactively) instead of bolusing too big at first and going low ;) <3
- John Roth: Have some tenacity and stay away from all the junk you know will cause problems.
- Enrìco Rìos: I always say, "everything in moderation."
- Pete Scott: Don’t let BG worries rule you
- Tyler Begg: Bulk up on NovoRapid (a DOC'er from outside the USA, apparently!)
- Teresa Borders Wright: Keep checking those blood sugars!
Needless to say, we're always grateful to see advocacy groups like Beyond Type 1 sharing helpful resources like carb-counting guides for some of the more common Thanksgiving foods at this time of year.
When family and friends become "diabetes police"
Spending tiime with family and friends during Thanksgiving can often be stressfull, especially when well-meaning individuals start acting like the "diabetes police" -- you know, by paying way too close attention to what we're eating or what they think we should NOT eat and offering unsolicited advice. For tips on that, please see our recent piece: Fending Off the Diabetes Police.
Also, one of our faithful readers on Facebook, Enrico Rios, who lives with type 2 diabetes and formerly worked as a truck driver, offers this anecdote:
"I was sitting in a truck stop restaurant one time after taking a shower and pulled out my glucose meter and started sticking myself to bleed. Someone who saw me asked if I was diabetic. When I said yes and asked if they had a problem with it, they responded that they did not. I'm not known for being politically correct and when caught at the wrong time I will snap. If someone asks if I should/could eat that, I ask them if they put poison in it and then tell them they need to do their homework on what people with diabetes can and cannot eat. I've also been known to tell the person to shut up and leave me alone."
Sometimes it's hard not to get angry, we get it.
On finding gratitude
But while life with diabetes can present challenges and be anger-inducing at time, there's also a clear sense from our D-Community that at times, we can see diabetes through a lens of appreciation and gratitude.
D-peep and advocate Randall Barker, who not only lives with T1D himself but has a daughter diagnosed, shared on Facebook: "I am thankful for the #DOC and everyone I have met with a diabetes connection."
On Twitter, @HumnPincushion echoes that: "I’ve made some amazing connections and had opportunities/experiences I never would have otherwise. It’s shown me the importance of community and uniting for a cause. A lot of negative in the world, but this community shows me positives."
Evelyn Rogers shares this on FB: "I am thankful that I have survived T1D since 1966. That was the dark ages of diabetes care. Glass syringes and stainless steel needles that needed to be sterilized by boiling them for 10 minutes BEFORE each use. No way to test blood sugars unless you went to the doctor to have blood drawn, and the only way to test was a urine sugar level using test tubes and pills and watching the color change to indicate the sugar level in your urine. I am thankful for ALL of my fantastic doctors and the medical care that I have had since being diagnosed."
T1D Roslynn McBem also spoke up on FB: "Diabetes paved the way for my love of science and career path. You learn far more medical knowledge and physiology then regular people. You know how to listen to your body. If you’ve had diabetes a long time, you know how to play the insurance game and can help others out. You are more inclined to care for yourself because you’ll see it reflected rather quickly in your BG... And the good care my mom and doctors gave me in the very beginning as it allowed me to have little complications and 3 kiddos."
Diabetes Dad Tom Karlya shares insights on his blog about why he often finds himself appreciating what has come from diabetes entering his kids' lives and his work in the field:
"...This disease, as dreadful as it is, was, and will always be, has also always driven me to my knees with incredible thanks. Not for the disease itself, of course, but rather what has transpired since that fateful day in 1992 when diabetes entered our world. I’ve seen incredible generosity. People giving of their hard-earned money to help move the dial in our diabetes world. Whether it was a device, an education initiative, or toward scientific research advancement for a cure, I’ve witnessed people give generously time and time again. From millions of dollars to just a handful of change that was all a senior citizen had, have all touched my heart with gratitude over the years. People giving their time and talents to do battle against a disease that no one surely wanted. My life and millions of others have been changed because of who came across our path during this diabetes journey."
From our 'Mine team to you on Thanksgiving, we hope it's a great one. We appreciate you visiting us here and being part of our D-Community!