Thanksgiving Lessons Learned

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Thanksgiving Lessons Learned

There’s nothing like a break from school during which time you’re surrounded by tempting foods and lack of exercise facilities to teach you a few diabetes dos-and-don’ts.

I’m approaching my seventeenth year with T1D, so you might consider me a diabetes veteran. But I’m constantly learning ways in which I can strengthen my diabetes care regimen, proving to myself and others that diabetes management is not a static thing.

The proof is in the pudding – or in this case, the turkey dinner. This year, my family gathered at my Aunt Paula’s house for an absolute feast. The selection of dishes included staples like mashed potatoes, rolls, green bean casserole, broccoli casserole, asparagus, stuffing, squash, cranberry sauce, and the turkey centerpiece. Oh, and I can’t forget to mention the several different kinds of wine to wash it all down with.

When I scan that list of food, all the starches jump out at me and make me cringe. The fact that I indulged in a bit of all of them, however, makes me throw up a little. Don’t get me wrong, each and every one of them was positively delectable. What makes me nauseous is the amount of carb counting (or in my case this year, the lack thereof) that is involved in the process of consuming them. Needless to say, my carelessness resulted in some unwelcome hyperglycemia that lingered through dessert time. As a result, I found myself rage-bolusing to correct the high and to account for the slivers of pumpkin pie and blueberry pie that were calling my name. I waited about 45 minutes for the insulin to really take effect, then happily helped myself to some treats.

I’m proud to say that I exhibited impressive self-control when I went to cut my super-skinny slices of pie…but ashamed of my inability to resist adding a couple of fancy chocolates to my dessert plate. Before long, high blood sugars haunted me again. Luckily, upon returning home that evening I was able to get them level again in no time, but the misery of chasing self-induced highs all afternoon long really drove the point home that I need to be more careful.

Lesson 1, learned.

The second lesson is the story of my dependency on my CGM – and its apparent dependency on me. I’m trying to give myself some distance from my CGM. After all, its incessant buzzing and beeping drive me up the wall half the time. But it seems as though my CGM simply cannot bear to be away for me from long before it gives me the cold shoulder and refuses to report my blood sugars.

When I’m at work, visiting family, or hanging out with friends, it can be annoying to have my CGM clipped on my body at all times. So sometimes, I’ll leave it behind in my pocket or in my purse, never straying too far in case it needs to alert me to a blood sugar that I’m not fully aware of yet.

Usually, my CGM is great about picking up a number up to 20 feet away, letting me move into another room or up the stairs without there being an issue. But the other day, when I slipped my CGM into the pocket of the jacket I was wearing, it totally rebelled against me for being shunned into this location. For nearly an entire hour, my stubborn little CGM said it was out of range. I couldn’t understand why it was doing this to me. I felt betrayed. In an attempt to compromise with Mr. CGM’s needs, I clipped it onto my jeans so it could be as close to the chip as possible. This strategy worked, and my CGM gladly recommenced communication with me. I know, we have a complicated relationship, but we’re trying to work things out as we get to understand each other better.

Lesson 2, learned.

As you can see, there are issues faced on a daily basis – some big, some small – by people with diabetes. A little patience, good observational skills, and occasional cursing help us cope as well as prepare for the lessons the next day of diabetes has to teach us.

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