Thursday, 14 April 2011

A diabetic Christmas

The Christmas just gone was my first as a diabetic and I have to say I was hesitant about it. Food features highly at Christmas, Lindt seem to only advertise their chocolate at Easter and Christmas and it all looks so good, melted inner goo with crisp chocolate ... well, you’ve seen the ads. Gone was my festive chocolate orange, Terry can keep it now! And it’s not just the chocolate and sweets, it’s the glorious Christmas pud and the ice cream and the nuts and the wine and the beer.

I know Diabetes UK recommends you do treat yourself now and then, that you don’t live the life of a food monk or flagellate yourself for having a Quality Street. But my problem has always been that I can’t stop at one. Interestingly I was re-watching the ‘West Wing’ on DVD when one of the characters, who is an alcoholic, explains that his problem is not that he wants one drink, it’s that he wants ten. I feel the same way about sweets. I couldn’t have just one section of a chocolate orange, or one Cadbury’s Hero, I want ten, or fifteen or .. oh, it’s all gone, how did that happen?!

So I do give the chocolates a miss, I’d rather not have any then torture myself. On reflection I noted that my parents, whose home I was in for the festive period, also didn’t have any. They would normally have a selection of sweets and chocolates out, but I guess they were thinking of me. Funny the subtle changes diabetes makes to the lives of those around you.

One thing I did ask for was a Christmas pudding. I was determined to have some Christmas pudding with some ice cream on Christmas day. Then I looked at the sugar levels – 1/8th of the pudding was 65% of your daily sugar intake. This thing was packed full of sugar. I was so disappointed I wanted to cry. Surely there must be a pudding out there with a lower sugar level than this! I wanted to ask my Mum why she had gone for this one over any others, hadn’t she checked, didn’t she know? After all those subtle changes this felt like a kick in the teeth. But I smiled and I had about 1/16th of a Christmas pudding and three scoops of ice cream. I think there is a lesson here about communicating more clearly, I work on that one for another blog.

Then I picked at the pudding, a little here, a little there. And I went a bit mad with the turkey sandwiches by adding a splash of ketchup. Oh the sin of it all, bits of Christmas pudding and a splash of ketchup, it just feels so bloody unfair. I tested myself blood sugar levels and I was at 17. I hadn’t been at 17 since I was first diagnosed and it was a bit of a blow. So I stayed away from sugar as much as possible the next few days (except I did have some more ketchup with next day’s turkey sandwiches – to heck with it I thought, let them take my foot).

The thing is I need my foot, and my eyes, kidneys and pretty much everything really. I did feel guilty about letting things get out of control. I also felt bad that my Mum had put so much effort into thinking about my first diabetic Christmas and I had been so damned stupid about the Christmas pudding. I could have gone for a run if I was so bothered. As it was I did little exercise over the whole of the festive period. But it’s back to work now and back to the routine. Structure makes living with diabetes much easier. My bloods are back under control now – at last test 6.8, but this Christmas has shown me how easy it is to slip.

I hope you had a good Christmas and any experienced diabetics out there who want to leave some tips for us newbies – please do let us know.

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