Going From Famine To Feast

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Thanksgivukkah is a once-in-a-lifetime holiday you probably haven’t heard of, yet it occurs this very week. It’s when Hanukkah and Thanksgiving converge to overlap or, as food writer Veronica Meewes put it, “the fried foods of Hanukkah meet the carbfest of Thanksgiving.”

Some say the next time the two converge is 70,000 or so years away. Others say it’s in 2070. Either way, it’s rare. (Also rare this year is the turkey-shaped menorah: the Menurkey.)

Traditional foods for Thanksgiving include turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, rolls, green bean casserole (I’m told), and whatever else you can come up with to cause the table to groan under the weight of all that abundance.

For Hanukkah, it’s sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts) and potato latkes (pancakes). Brisket is always a good choice for a meat.

The oddity of the occurrence has caused cooks of all abilities to come up with food fusions that cover both holidays, such as brisket with cranberry sauce and pumpkin sufganiyot with a cranberry jam filling.

For my bow to both traditions, I plan to make rolls from pumpkin challah dough and to fry up some sweet potato latkes. People can eat cranberry sauce with that if they want. We have the turkey, my daughter is bringing mashed potatoes, and my granddaughter is making deviled eggs. I’m also making cranberry sauce and pumpkin cake. Forget pumpkin pie: My daughter was born on November 26 and we celebrate on Thanksgiving. Pumpkin cake has always been her birthday cake.

As far as fitting diabetes into the feast, I bake sweet potatoes instead of mixing them with marshmallows and sugar and butter and all, make fresh green beans instead of doing a green bean casserole, go easy on the fatty, carb-laden foods, and get some exercise.

The exercise part is very important: It reduces insulin resistance and can lower your blood glucose. Exercise doesn’t have to be guerilla aerobics — even a walk around the block is useful. Or put on some “get movin” music and dance your way between the dining room and kitchen as you clear the table. Make it fun!

After yesterday, I could probably use some carbohydrates. With a bit of fat and protein thrown in to stretch them out.

It was colonoscopy day. Again. My colon resembles a map of the back roads of West Virginia, with hairpin turns, loop-the-loops, twisty turns, slides down steep hills…you get the idea. I go to a specialist who’s good at maneuvering around in difficult colons. Even he’s had problems the last couple of times.

But I was having problems of my own. Before undergoing a colonoscopy, your innards have to be squeaky clean, which is helped along by committing to a clear, liquid diet: tea, broth, water, etc. I do consume some carbs, but carbs by themselves cause my blood glucose to go up…and then crash again.

Added to the formula here is my tendency not to feel hypoglycemia (or exhibit any symptoms), so I usually wear a continuous glucose monitor that alarms when my glucose goes below a certain number. I say “usually,” because the battery in my transmitter had died and I don’t have a new transmitter yet.

Thankfully, I had some awareness and some symptoms Monday night and Tuesday, because I woke up Monday night sweating like crazy with a blood glucose of 40. At that point, I could drink some sugary soda and get my numbers back up.

Later, however, it was a different matter.

By then, I was at the hospital, in my little cubicle — not even on the bed or in my Johnny yet — when something just didn’t feel right. I checked. Forty-three. The nurse checked. Forty.

My anesthesiologist was called. “Give her some D5,” he ordered. I was never so happy to get dextrose in my life! And, thus, I got an IV before I got into bed and into my Johnny.

But I was ECSTATIC! when I found out who my anesthesiologist was — my favorite! He talks to you and listens and comes up with solutions!

And the first thing he asked? “Does she have that continuous monitor with her?”


As I’ve said before, diabetes is never dull.

The doc didn’t get all the way through my colon again. I get to go back in March. After I’ve talked to my endocrinologist about what to do with my insulin to keep from going low.

Actually, I know what to do. As long as my glucose is in normal ranges. It seems that when you need your brain the most — when your glucose is low — is when your brain leaves your body.

Now, let’s get that transmitter to me. Yesterday! I need it for Thanksgivukkah.

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