My first reaction when I got the diagnosis was: WHAT DO YOU MEAN I AM A DIABETIC?
After all… I don’t eat candy bars or a lot of sugary desserts. On Halloween I was far more interested in the houses that gave out money than the ones that gave out candy. All of my friends ate more candy and cake than I did and they don’t have Diabetes. I got heartburn from even a donut hole, I exercised every day (well, Monday through Friday anyway!), I watched my salt and cholesterol… I should be the specimen of good health, right??? OK, OK, so my father was a diabetic, my brother and sister were both diabetics, but no one on the other side of the family was diabetic, and I look more like them. Nonetheless, the diabetes diagnosis came down in December of 2008. What did I do wrong?
What You Have To Know Is:
You have diabetes. You are not to blame for it and you did not cause it.
My doctor sent me off to a diabetes center for some much-needed education and advice and I met with a nurse specializing in diabetes care. Prior to the meeting, I was upset, excited, and looking forward to it. I was proud that I had just figured out that it was not just sugar that was a problem, but carbohydrates… and I also felt incredibly guilty and stupid that when my diabetic brother or my diabetic neighbor would come to dinner, I would make a sugar-free dessert but serve them bowls of rice or potatoes. Like most people, I did not know any better.
At the diabetes center, after taking my vital signs, the nurse pulls out this little black bag and removes a device. “This is a new way to do your sugar testing, it will not hurt as much as the old method. This device can be used on the hand or the arm to get a blood sample.” So, to show me how to use it, she jabs my forearm. Nothing! She jabs it again in another place…. Nothing! Third time the charm? Well maybe. On the third try she gets a little drop of blood. It turns out that it was too small to get a sample. After the fourth try, success!
The nurse starts packing up the device and hands it to me. I said “Thank you… but if you can’t do this easily, how in the world do you expect me to do this on my own?” She tells me that we will just have to throw the device out since it was already used on me. I suggested that tossing it was a good choice.
The next step was to meet with a dietician. Oh joy! I had been saving up questions since I read the pamphlets my doctor had given me. I already knew that it was suggested I have 45 grams of carbohydrates at breakfast, 60 grams at both lunch and dinner, and 15 grams as a snack. That added up to only 180 grams a days if my math is right. Pasta was something I missed a lot. I was not happy with the ¼ cup portion for 35 grams of carbs. I WANT A BOWL!
Question 1– If I have black coffee for breakfast, lettuce leaves and tuna for lunch, can I use the 105 carbs I saved, add it to the 60 for dinner and have a bowl of pasta? The dietician looked at me and rose from her chair, leaned forward, and started screaming, I mean screaming at me: “YOU CAN’T DO THAT!!!” OK, I was just asking.
Question 2– I saw that alcohol is either low in carbohydrates or does not have any carbohydrates. Is it all right if I have a drink? She asked me how much I drank. I told her that on weekends we would usually split a bottle a wine. She rose from her chair again, “YOU CAN’T DO THAT” she screamed. “OK, how much can I have?” I ask her. “No more than 2 six ounce glasses”. I hate to keep doing the math… but half a 750 ml bottle of wine is 12.25 ounces. I am willing to take one less sip. Now in her defense, it has been suggested that the dietician might have thought I meant a jug or a box of wine. I don’t think so and forgive me, I am not willing to give her the benefit of this doubt.
After being screamed at twice in less than twenty minutes, I thought it was best to leave…and maybe get a drink?
The story may strike you as funny. What is not funny is that this woman is still at the clinic and still abusing her patients. Still, this lady did some good. After being treated so poorly, I decided that I could be of some small assistance by writing and putting a more positive spin of eating with Diabetes.
The Bottom Line
Blame is useless. If little Johnny spills the milk, his sister telling mommy: “Johnny did it!” does not un-spill the milk.
It doesn’t undo the situation. You have diabetes. All you have to do is figure out how to manage it in a way you can live with. As for that donut… well, if every once in a while you need/want to reward yourself for all the hard work you have done…it could be a donut.
Enjoy, be healthy, be happy, be DECADENT
Note from Diabetes- What To Know: We are so privileged to have Ward sharing his experience with diabetes AND his delicious recipes with us. To see his incredibly delicious recipe for diabetes-friendly Amaretto Cheesecake, click here. And for more about Ward, check out his website or his Facebook page.