‘Tisn’t the Season

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I hope everyone is having a happy holiday season and that those of you with diabetes are enjoying a safe yet indulgent gustatory few weeks.

My life with Type 1 diabetes in December, up until about a week ago, had been an uneventful, quiet, life-as-usual autopilot existence. As I wrote in my last blog entry, I was happy that my diabetes self-management was chugging along without many hiccups while I focused my mental energies on that other medical concern — thyroid cancer — that has jumped into the number one spot in my health-concern queue.

Well, I’m here to confess that I lulled myself into diabetic complacency as I headed into the holiday season. At any other time of year, any other time, I wouldn’t be writing about this, because the events of the past week or so wouldn’t have come to pass. However, since the writing of the blog entry I’ve attended several holiday parties, hosted another, and spent so much time around so much delicious food-at-the-ready during this most joyful of seasons.

I had been doing quite well, too, in spite of the smorgasboard of goodies. But then came Christmas Eve day. The deluge. That day — and in truth, since then, for the past four days or so — there, in all its siren-song glory: the delicious appetizers, those wonderful meals, the desserts, and the buffet of wines, sangrias, beers, nogs.

Not to mention, of course, awesome leftovers.

As I entered into this time of plenty with an already-weakened willpower for battling comfort foods (the cancer diagnosis has helped me rationalize overindulgence), I should have known that simply bolusing wouldn’t be sufficient. Simply exercising wouldn’t work.

The hodgepodge of unknown carbohydrates, the grazing, the return to the fridge…all of it conspired to raise my blood glucose into the mid-200s (mg/dl) last week and to keep it steadily high since then. Yes, yes, I should have backed off soon, but again, I fell prey to the psychological weakness that is the god-shaped hole of drowning one’s fears and anxieties in calories. The correction boluses entered into my insulin pump didn’t take. My middle-of-the-night blood-glucose checks didn’t return lower numbers.

And because so much of the reaction my body experienced to these foods was foreign to me, I had to play that guessing game of erring on the side of too much insulin or not enough. I chose to err on that side that avoids the potential for hypoglycemia. I’ve also passed the worst of it and I’m settling now into healthier living, this week, into the new year, and beyond (sort of back to where I began December!).

I realize now I can’t lull myself into complacency in assuming that all things will be fine with my Type 1 diabetes just because experience has given me that confidence. It’s an insidious condition, and I’ve paid what I hope is simply a short-term price for directing too much of my attention elsewhere.

CalgaryDiabetic quoted Abraham Lincoln in a comment on my previous post: “One war at a time.” It was, I believe, a reference to a diplomatic incident the United States had with England in November of 1861, during which Lincoln released Confederate officials to avoid war with England. “One war at a time.” Maybe, though, my diabetes and my thyroid cancer should better be thought of as battles on different fronts in the same war. I shall not lose my focus on either front.

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