Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Diabetes Memory #2393: The One Where I Lied About Sneaking Food & Broke Up A Friendship

The names in the story have been changed to protect the privacy of the individuals.

Growing up at the beach you had your regular friends. The friends you went to grade school, dancing school and CCD with, and the ones who came to almost every birthday party you ever had.
And then you had your summer friends. Summer friends only lived in your town during the summer, and you almost never saw them during the school year.
Summer friends were the friends that you played flashlight tag with, and whose cousin Chip gave you your first sort of real kiss when you were in 6th grade. You’d spend all day at the beach with your summer friends, and then play over at their house all night, until it was time to go home. Then their father walked you around the corner & dropped right at your front door.
You slept over your summer friends houses and read Nancy Drew & Little House On The Prairie at the same time, then acted out the plot of the books.
Summer friends were great, except that by the end of the summer, we all got sick of one another and couldn’t wait to see our school friends again.

Still, every June, the summer friends would come down and the cycle of “Summer Friends” would begin.
I had a whole gang of both summer and regular friends who lived around the block - And we played together from the time we were about 4 until we were in our early teens.

Then, times changed the summer I was 13.

We still hung out, but I could tell it was different. The whole neighborhood kid dynamic started to drift.

That was the last time I was with my neighborhood gang, and it all started with the break-up of my summer friends, the sisters Lucy & Ethel.
Lucy was a year older than me and Ethel was a year younger. Most of the kids in the neighborhood were closer to their ages and that was the summer when age lines started to be drawn in the theoretical sand. Sometimes Lucy would play with me, other times she couldn’t bother. Same with Ethel - who could be moody anyway.

Now the break up was mostly my fault, and I’ll admit it.
I’d begun to sneak food (Oreos & Entenmann’s pastry) from Lucy & Ethel’s kitchen on my way to the bathroom. I’d take the contraband carbs into the bathroom, close the door, down the carbs, rinse my mouth out with water , and went on about my business like nothing happened.

It was the summer and I was incredibly active and growing like a weed, and I was ALWAYS hungry.
Test strips had only been out for a few years and our family shared both a prescription and a meter for 3 people. And since it was the Diabetes Dark Ages, anything and everything was off limits.

It was also the first summer in three years that I wasn’t going to diabetes camp because my family couldn’t afford it. My dad had lost his job and my sister Debbie kept getting sicker. I felt my world changing faster than I could keep up with.

One day I went over to Lucy & Ethel’s - And out of the blue, the jig was up.

Lucy: Kelly, my mom saw you take a danish from the kitchen yesterday afternoon.
Me: No I didn’t . ( I SO TOTALLY DID)
Ethel: She saw you take it to the bathroom and she heard the sink water running in there while you ate it. It’s not good for you, Kelly - You could get sick.
Me: I didn’t eat anything!
Ethel: You did too!
Lucy: It’s OK, just don’t do it again.
ME: I DIDN’T DO IT!!! I don’t know what you’re talking about, but I’m going home!

And then I ran out the door and I never went back.

I was so embarrassed that I could barely see straight and the tears were streaming down my face! I ran down the block, took a short cut through my neighbors’s yard, hid behind the giant Honeysuckle bush and cried my eyes out.
I felt like such a bad kid. I told myself I was loser and a dork and I felt so alone. The diabetes diet back then was so restrictive and just wanted to enjoy food like everyone else.

I spent a lot of time that summer alone, babysitting and taking long bike rides after dinner.

8th grade sucked for many reasons, and all too numerous to mention, The following summer I started hanging out with kids I’d be going to high school with, and a new group of summer friends.

And I steered clear of the gang around the corner - I was so afraid that Lucy & Ethel had told them what I’d done,

Whenever I think about getting caught and how I handled it, my face still turns red with embarrassment.

It’s never easy growing up, and growing up with diabetes adds a whole new twist - Add growing up the Diabetes Dark Ages, and the twist turns into a big, fat, sinewy knot of denial.

I wish I could have been honest with Lucy & Ethel. but more importantly, I wish I could have been honest with my self.
And I wish I wouldn't have felt like I had to lie. I wish I could have just taken extra insulin and not worried about it.

But that's not how it was back then.

I long to tell the girl I was that it would all be OK, and that she was going to be OK.

I can’t go back in time, that’s impossible. But I can share my story with you, because I know I'm not the only person living with diabetes who's ever lied about food as a kid - or an adult. But back then, it sure felt like it.

Now a days when we eat something that was once forbidden fruit, we can bolus for it and enjoy it!
Because today, nothing is off limits - AND THAT IS A BEAUTIFUL THING. ~


Meri said...

You have a knack for making me cry K2. I want to hug that little girl so much. I often hear of friends children sneaking food, even now. It breaks my heart, I want to wrap my arms and hug both the children and the parents and tell them there are worse things. It is going to be ok!

Look at you now though dear Kelly...I bet if someone said that to you now you would have more than enough to say, and no qualms about it either!

Cara said...

I had summer friends when I stayed with my grandmother. I sometimes tried to sneek food too. It was such a different world back then. Even though I was diagnosed after meters, they were still so expensive & diet was still super restrictive.

Amanda said...

Sad, sometimes when my daughter comes up with some crazy unexplained high I ask her if she sneaked food and she always replys like you did, NO! I DIDN'T, I SWEAR! I tend to believe her, and I hate that it's the first thing I ask her. Thanks for sharing, BIG HUGS for you!

The Diabetic Camper said...

Isn't it funny how sneaking food is bad. I once read a story about a father whose son bad diabetes and one day he went into the struck and found a stack of empty butter finger wrappers. The dad explained how it was sad that his son had to hide candy because of his disease and did not want anyone to know.

babscampbell said...

Thanks for sharing this part of you. What a great story. . what a great lesson. You Rock Diazon Queen!

shannon said...

such a heartbreaking story, told with such emotion. thanks you for sharing.

(it took me until the end to realize you probably used aliases for your summer friends. or not. either way, it makes me smile.)

Anonymous said...

Love love love this!!! I used to take chocolate eclairs that were wrapped up and shove two or three in my mouth, until dad caught me one day, with all the wrappers in my hand and mouth full hard eclairs stuck in my mouth! He didn't talk to me for a week. I also ate Nutella from the jar and blamed my brother for it, when asked. Family members and friends would report to my folks if I ate somehing 'forbidden'!! I was about 12 or 13 when all this went on. I used to feel so ashamed. There are many more stories...and yours is touching, but funny too. Xoxo

Janis Nussbaum Senungetuk said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I certainly understand, since I also have my memories of "forbidden foods" during a difficult adolescence that occurred decades before glucose meters came on the scene. Because the exchange diet was the available tool for glucose management, strict adherence wasn't optional. That made food the focus of our rebellion. Hugs!