When I stood in line for my booster, I was reminded of the hope I had the last time I walked the halls of this community center – the elation I felt at the prospect of seeing and spending time with loved ones again without fear of death.
After my brother’s short-term visit last November, I didn’t see another friendly face for three months. I spent Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s alone. And while I created coping mechanisms and relied on a community of support virtually, that isolation had serious ramifications for my mental health – some of which I am probably still processing.
One of those community members who helped me through it was my 89-year-old Papaw, who’d recently discovered the wonders of gifs, emojis, and text (and who surprisingly shared a similar love of ABBA). He lost his life to COVID in September. So, as I approach this holiday season, it is hard to reconcile another winter without him.
The holidays are always a tough time for someone with Type 1 diabetes. I’m constantly surrounded by holiday treats and carb-heavy foods. Holiday parties tend to be the worst culprit.
This could be why I’ve been a bit anti-social lately. I don’t want to be tempted. This past year, managing my blood sugar levels became increasingly more difficult. Maybe it’s because I’m older and my body is less resilient? Maybe it’s because I “cheat” more than I used to? Maybe it’s because I’ve had this disease longer, and it’s starting to take its toll on my mental and physical health?
Maybe all of the above? I recently took out a life insurance policy. That felt weird. And although I do my best, I know there is no guarantee with this disease, and in case anything terrible should happen as a result, I want my loved ones to be taken care of. But in the meantime, I’m still rooting for me. Continue reading
There’s something to be said about being diagnosed with a chronic condition as a young professional. For one, you skip the growing pains and hormonal changes of adolescence. Two, your family never has to reconcile their lifestyle habits as a result of it so when you return home for the holidays, there is no reminder of your disease.
In fact, every sweet-toothed temptation surrounds you. It’s not inconsiderate. It’s nice, actually. Your family may have not changed their holiday menu line-up based on your diabetes, but that just means for once a year, you can splurge and forget you have this haunting disease.
That is until a few days later when the sight of another chocolate truffle makes your blood sugar soar. Your aunt offers you a piece of pumpkin pie, and when you check your continuous glucose monitor (CGM) receiver to see that your blood sugar has been a steady 250 for the past two hours, you politely decline. You fall asleep on the couch, overwhelmed with exhaustion, but really, your body is suffering the effects of long-term high blood sugar. You haven’t been running in a week, and the short walks with the dog in 20-degree temperatures are not enough to increase your energy levels.
You suddenly miss green vegetables and juice. Every time your blood sugar drops as a result of overestimating your insulin to carb ratio, you run for the kitchen because across the green marble countertop are rows of cookies, some homemade and some store-bought. You start with chocolate chip, then pecan sandies, and finally fudge. You feel nauseas, and even though your blood sugar is no longer low, it doesn’t take it long before it soars high. Continue reading