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Confessions Of A Former Child With Diabetes And Unusual Eating Habits

Growing up, we had these large, potted plants in our dining room, within throwing distance from the dining room table.  (Stick with me – this is an important detail.)  The plants were big and had wide, draped leaves and they made the corner of the dining room look like a veritable jungle.

Also, these suckers were really convenient for hiding food.

When I was little, the “diabetic diet” school of thought was based on the exchange program.  This meant that my meals were structured around my calorie needs and the needs of my (then) peaking insulin doses.  An average dinner would include one meat exchange, two starch exchanges, a dairy exchange, a fat exchange, and a fruit exchange.  (Exchange, exchange, exchange.)  When I was on insulins like Regular, NPH, and Lente, I needed to consume these portions in proportion, or I would end up with a very high, or very low, blood sugar.

So my mother (bless her anecdotal-medical-degree’d heart) would carefully measure out these exchanges and that would be my dinner.  EXACTLY one meat exchange, and those two starches, etc.  She worked very hard to make sure my meals were calculated and well-balanced.

And in response, I would hide my vegetables – aka “gross things” – in the dining room plants. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*

Mom’s Perspective: A Gluten-Free Diet In Baby’s First Year To Reduce Risk Of Type 1 Diabetes

(Alternate tittle:  “Bring out yer bread!”)

Now that the little bird is the big O-N-E, we have completed one year as parents.  And one year doing the gluten-free diet with our baby.  This was important to me because I felt strongly about the ties between the early introduction of gluten and type 1 diabetes diagnoses. And after doing some research and discussing this as a family, Chris and I decided to keep our BSparl gluten-free for her first year.

It was pretty easy, to be honest, keeping a little baby off gluten.  (Especially since she doesn’t have celiac, so our decision was elective instead of required.) The ease came mostly from the fact that BSparl breastfed for almost six months, and didn’t start on solid foods until just after she turned six months old.  All breastmilk and/or formula made for a pretty streamlined food schedule for that first half year.  When we introduced solid foods into her diet, we went with organic rice cereal and formula first, then mushed up fruits and assorted other mushed up items (like avocado and shredded chicken breast) mixed with food pouches like these from Ella’s Kitchen. Her diet was pretty mushy for a good long time, since it took about 8 months for her first tooth to bust through. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*

Diabetes: When Being “No Worse” Means Progress

“Everything looks good.  No progress is good, actually.  Means your eyes haven’t deteriorated any further in the last five months.”  Dr S, my eye doctor at the Joslin Clinic, ran her fingers across the keyboard, typing notes into my online file.

“So it’s the same as back in November?  When I moved from mild to moderate retinopathy?”

“Right.  Still non-proliferative, but the same.  Not worse, by any stretch.  We’re working with a few spots, a very small bit of leakage, but nothing I’d recommend treatment for, other than watching it closely.”

I let out the breath I didn’t realize I was holding.  The fluorescent bulbs in the room were bright and ricocheting off the white walls, making me feel like I was in an avalanche of light. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*

Coffee Talk And Type 1 Diabetes

It’s been well-documented that my coffee addiction is … substantial.  Briefly on hiatus during my pregnancy, I was reunited with my beloved beverage after the baby was born, and now I’m back in the habit.

Since I work from our home office and I’m also the primary caregiver for BSparl, sleep is a hot commodity.  Actually, I don’t get to sleep much, so the coffee is very much my friend these days.  Work hard, play hard, drink much of the coffee.

The other day, I was out with the baby, running a few errands.  I had to visit the post office, the grocery store, CVS … and Dunkin Donuts.  I try to make my order sound fresh and new (versus something I say almost without thinking), and I leaned out the window to order into the drive through speaker.  (Instead of into the garbage can, which is something I’ve done more times than I’d care to admit.)

“Hi!”  Total joy.  “Can I please have a medium iced coffee with cream and two Splenda?”

“Sure thing.  Please drive up.”

So I drive up.  But when I get to the window, there’s a little bit of confusion.

“Okay, so one coffee with milk and sugar, two doughnuts, and a bagel with cream cheese?”  The boy attending the window had a bag of deliciousness in his hand.  My stomach said “YES!  YES. THOSE BELONG TO ME.”   Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*

What I Want Her To Know About Diabetes

After a tough low this morning:

I want her to know that she was wanted so much, well before she arrived, and that her parents went to great lengths to make sure her arrival was as safe as they could manage.

I want her to know that those moments when she has to wait while I test, or while I bolus, or the times when I have to set her in her crib and gulp down grape juice while she stands there with her big, brown eyes staring at me while her mouth tugs into an impatient smile, that I love her and I just need to deal with diabetes for a few seconds so I can be the best mommy I can.

I want her to know that if my eyes don’t get better, it’s not her fault. It’s not my fault, either. The fault lies with diabetes.

I want her to know that the reason I’ll sometimes frown at a soggy diaper or a voracious pull from the bottle isn’t because she’s being “bad” or doing something wrong, but because I’m worrying.

I want her to know that just because I have it, and because some of her best buddies have it, doesn’t mean that she will have it. But I also want her to know that if a diagnosis of any kind ever touches her life, we’ll manage just fine and take the best care of one another that we can.

I want her to know that when she smiles at me, it’s like a thousand online communities inspiring me all at once. That the hope of her was once the biggest incentive to improve my health, only to be superseded by her arrival in my arms.

I want her to know that regardless of what she may hear about this “diabetes,” her mommy is going to be just fine. Just fine.

*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*

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