The Good Enough Diabetic
My A1c is 7.4, and I’m a good enough diabetic.
I’ve been diabetic since you had to purchase a bottle of strips and use one each morning as you pee. When glucose monitors came out, you had to plug them into an electrical outlet, and they were costly.
I have started and given up on a diabetic diet about fifty times. My finger pricks number in the millions.
This week I changed the insulin port (a hole in the stomach) and sensor (a hole in the arm), and I gave eight vials of blood at the lab (a hole in the other arm).
I’m skipping over the holes obtained during the ten years before my pump.
I Am Alive
If you can’t tell, I am annoyed with having to live this way. But I am alive, and my A1c is 7.4—yes, I’ve had complications, more holes poked in my eyes with needles from cysts and retinopathy.
I also have four straight screws in four of my fingers where the rheumatoid disease crumbled my finger joints.
You see, I didn’t present my symptoms until I had damage because the first line of treatment for RA used to be prednisone, and I knew from watching an old episode of E.R. that people with diabetes can’t take prednisone.
I had little to no family support because my parents were busy dealing with their diseases, the ones they passed to me through the miracle of genetics. I did not appreciate the ADA magazine and their “diabetic family of the year.”
It served to remind me that I was on my own, in debt for school, uninsured, and very ill.
You may be thinking...
- How did she manage with so much courage and grace?
- What tricks did she use to raise a child single-handedly and earn a Ph.D.?
- How could she manage to follow this up with a twenty-seven-year university teaching career?
There are several answers to those questions, but today I will present only one.
I’m a “good enough” diabetic. I cut corners. I ate lots of ice cream while seeking any legal source of endorphins I could find.
The "Good Enough" Diabetic Diet
Let me explain the diet I settled on about ten years ago because the principle behind it could help you design your diet. It is a simple idea.
For me, I had to be able to eat something I enjoyed, keep binge eating to a minimum, and quit the constant counting. I estimate for my pump’s sake, but I don’t eat numbers. I eat food.
The starch and sugar component I broke down as follows:
Eating a healthy, fibrous cereal for a snack or breakfast lasts about three days for me and then I find myself eating Apple Jacks out of a mixing bowl. So I said no to cereal.
Keep The Sweets In Moderation
I eat sweets whenever I am eating away from home. A friend offers strawberry shortcake after dinner? Sure. A restaurant serves cobbler? Oh, yes!
How do I get away with this?
I do not have any sweets in my home. I quit baking. My pound of stock sugar has lasted me ten years. I never buy a box of cookies or donuts to “nibble” on at home. Even birthdays—if it is held at my house there is no cake.
This way, the only time I have sweets is in moderation, outside my home, a one-off deal. Then I provide insulin, and it’s over. I go back to eating my usual healthy way.