Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Joslin Diabetes Blog Project: Changes

I'm really honored and stoked to be part of the the team of bloggers participating in the Joslin Diabetes Blog Project and working together to raise $5,000 for the Joslin High Hopes Fund
The subject of this post is CHANGES, as in the changes noticed after we were diagnosed with diabetes. 

The changes I remember most after initially being diagnosed with diabetes revolve around food. 
All of a sudden food took on a whole new meaning. Food was no longer about being both tasty and nutritious - It was so much more that that. 
As an 8 yr old who was put on a 2500 calorie a day diet after being diagnosed with diabetes because I’d lost so much weight, food became both a challenge and a chore, weighed out and measured in precision like portion and served out 6 times a day. 
The American Diabetes Poster hung behind my seat at the dinner table and it became our Food Bible that we referred to multiple times a day.
Bananas were never served whole again after my diagnoses, but cut in half and accompanied by 1/2 a cup of low-fat milk and a tablespoon of peanut-butter. 
Grapes were doled out in portions of 12 and always meant that I would argue with my mother for more: Who the heck can eat 12 grapes?! I’d yell after begging and pleading for more. I still have a tough time with grapes, even though I know I can bolus for more than just 12.
Juice was no longer filled in a glass and orange juice became associated with lows, not breakfast.
My mother bought small baking potatoes instead of giant ones and cookie boxes were hidden out of sight. 
Whole grain bread instead of white became the norm and my 8 year old self longed for the Wonder Bread days of her youth.

I began to associate certain foods as being FREE, meaning that you could eat as much as you want, like my beloved dill pickles and raw peeled carrots.  And other foods as being the complete opposite of free - Like pasta and ice cream, which was replaced in our house with Rainbow Sherbet - Which was actually pretty tasty. 
And yes, there were times when food became contraband - And I became an expert at sneaking food. 
I could lie to my friends parents without batting an eye: No Mrs. Schlesser, I really am allowed to eat Cookie Crisp cereal - Especially after playing Barbies, no need to call my mom. 

There were summer nights when I would ride my bike for an hour to counteract the contraband Reese’s I’d just eaten in my bedroom and whose wrappers I crumpled and  flushed down the toilet. 
Back when I was diagnosed  - A lot of things were off limits & my parents and I did the best we could. God bless them for keeping me active with tap, jazz, gymnastics and voice lessons. And for still letting me lick the cake batter bowl and enjoy cupcakes at my birthday parties and at my friends birthday parties. And for allowing me to continue with my pre diabetes life.  I participated in community theater and babysat (I was one of the best baby sitters out there) and I made a ton of money in middle school, babysitting other peoples kids. And as much as I know my parents worried, they still let me do what my friends were doing - And I really appreciate that so much now that I’m an adult.

Two years after I was diagnosed I started going to Diabetes Camp because my parents knew it was important for me to be with other children with diabetes - But my parents never had the opportunity to bond and confide with other parents who had children with diabetes - And they must have felt so alone at times. 

Times have certainly changed - Nothing food wise is off limits to people with diabetes and support for all of us living with diabetes is literally at our fingertips ;) 

If you're interested in donating to the Joslin Diabetes Blog Project here's the link & thank you in advance!


Scott E said...

Interesting that you conclude your post by mentioning diabetes camp. I remember when a bunch of campers in our cabin at Camp Nejeda discovered a pack of cookies among one of the (non-D) counselors' belongings, and oh boy did we go to town on them! Though 25 cookies divided 12 ways didn't really amount to much. But anyway...

I, too, felt like the only person in the world who counted grapes, counted potato chips, and measured cereal (I still do). I, too, was on the six-meal-a-day plan until I begged and pleaded with my pediatric endo to drop my 10am snack. I had grown tired of leaving class every morning to eat my peanut-butter and rice cakes in the presence of the sick kids in the nurse's office.

My, how times have changed ... for the better. Thanks for the memories!

Scott K. Johnson said...

This part cracked me up: "No Mrs. Schlesser, I really am allowed to eat Cookie Crisp cereal - Especially after playing Barbies, no need to call my mom. "