One of my favorite parts of the holidays is the food! Everyone with me on this? I’m trying to prepare for my impending food-baby belly by being very careful not to overeat before Christmas gets here! 🙂
As someone with Celiac, though, there is one problem – parties/pot-lucks. I USED to really look forward to seeing what creative specialties everyone brought to the table (literally), however, now it has become my most dreaded thought. Is there going to be anything I can eat? If so, which items CAN I eat? Can I trust the home-made dishes when they SAY they are GF? Do I really have to ask them for the list of ingredients for every dish?
I’ve learned the safest and easiest way to survive food-based parties is to follow my new eating motto – “When in doubt, leave it out!” So, instead of being that pain-in-the-ass picky girl asking 50 bajillion questions about the food, I just quietly look for the salami and cheese cubes, and I always bring in a GF dessert that I know I can eat. That way, I know there’s at least ONE thing I can eat safely…AND it allows me to focus on and enjoy the rest of the party and not have to obsess about just the food. It’s worked so far, and it keeps me from over-indulging!
So, in light of the many office pot-lucks and holiday parties that are starting to pop up on our calendars, here is a funny Celiac video to give you a laugh. 😀
And yes, I’ve met every single character in this video… several times.
Things I’m thankful for today:
1. Beautiful poinsettias! Thanks to my friend Christi, I have won pretty much any pissing contest regarding the biggest or most beautiful poinsettias in the office! They are absolutely gorgeous! Thank you Christi… 🙂
2. My nail girl who gave me the cutest Christmas nails – all red, with one finger having a Santa belt on it. 🙂
3. My Christmas stuff! It’s been about 4 years since I’ve been able to put up my tree, so it was quite literally like Christmas opening up the boxes and going through all the goodies and decorations I had forgotten about. With all the new stuff I’ve been able to add, I absolutely LOVE my tree now!
4. Christmas sales. I was able to stock up on a few cozy, cuddly sweaters at the mall the other day for an awesome bargain!
5. For that matter, Christmas shopping! I know I always brag about getting all my shopping done online to avoid the crowds, however there is something warm and fuzzy about being in the midst of all the hoopla. The decorated windows, the random stocking-stuffer ideas at the cash register (offering things I never thought of), the Christmas music playing, the huge tree in the middle of the mall, the excitement of wondering if the gift I chose will bring a smile to that person’s face, the amazing sales… the amazing sales…
As always, I am late. I’ve been told (on NUMEROUS occasions) that I will be late to my own funeral! However, this time there are no annoyed people waiting for the star of the show to arrive! 😉 Just kidding. *Enter every single one of my friends and family members slapping me upside the head and rolling their eyes*
I am one day late to celebrate National Diabetes Awareness Month (November). I didn’t want it to go by without some sort of mention, so to give everyone a glimpse into life with Type 1 Diabetes, I thought I’d share something we experience many times a day – our roller coaster.
The other day, I was making some brownies for a work event, and as I was mixing the chocolate mix in the bowl, the aroma took over. My stomach started grumbling. (I hadn’t eaten yet…big mistake!) Then my mouth started watering. So, by the time I finally poured the last amount of mix into the pan, I went to TOWN on that bowl, licking it spotless and eating every tiny spec of brownie mix left on the mixer blades! Followed by a nice ice-cold glass of milk, of course. Culinary nirvana in my mouth!
Mmmmmmm… but then I’m instantly slapped back to reality as I remembered, oh crap, I didn’t measure how much I ate! How much sugar was in that amount? How much insulin should I take to cover that? I should’ve taken my shot BEFORE pigging out on the scraps! Now my sugars are going to fly through the roof and damage my precious Kirby (and all my other organs I shamefully haven’t named)!
Yeah, the satisfactory “moment” was very short-lived, and ironically, this type of guilt and fear is very common for anyone who has diabetes when indulging in even the smallest amount of food we “shouldn’t have”.
I’m not perfect. No one is. We all partake in those small (or sometimes big) “treats” to ourselves… our fave pizza, an extra beer… because it TASTES SO GOOD! Who could blame us? I mean, this is what living is about, right??? Don’t you hate it, then, when that little angel wearing the doctors’ wings on your shoulder starts shaking his head in disappointment? I hate that angel. Such a killjoy (does anyone ever say that word anymore, or is that a total 50’s thing? LOL!). I have to give it to him, though, he sets me straight. I know it’s a treat I can’t eat too often because, while those treats could have the same effect on everyone regarding the extra poundage we might gain, the sugar has the added effect of tearing up my organs to pieces… in a very slow and drawn out process that only us lucky diabetics get to enjoy. Weeeeee!
As I grudgingly pulled out my glucose monitor to check my sugars and see what kind of damage was done by my brownie mix tear-down, I got angry. First at myself for being stupid enough to go hog-wild on something that I knew could be bad for me. Then I start to get angry because I SHOULDN’T be getting angry at myself. I’m human! We only live once and I don’t want to live with regrets! It’s just a freakin’ brownie for Pete’s sake!
Then I start getting cocky… why am I so worried? It’s not going to cause any immediate damage to me NOW. It’ll take YEARS and bathtubs full of brownie mix before I ever start seeing any kind of damage! Right? Then I get a bit scared… wait… Um, hello?! I’ve ALREADY been seeing those damages. What the hell brought me to my current situation in the first place!?! Will I lose my kidney again? What if I go blind overnight? I’ve heard that happens! Why did I eat that brownie mix!?! And why did I follow it up with a stupid glass of milk (added carbs)!?! I’m going to lose my foot now!!!
Then the guilt sets in. I can’t believe I allowed myself to place myself in such danger… I don’t want to be an amputee! I don’t want to go blind! I don’t want to damage and possibly lose Kirby (whom I’ve fought SO HARD for)! I’m never going to eat another brownie again! NEVER!
All over a few stupid fingerfuls of brownie mix.
Ok, so seriously, I don’t bust into an all-out panic attack with every bite I take, but there is always a quick 5-minute wave of the entire process above that shoves it’s way through my mind when I veer from my usual, approved meal plan. Most of that, I know is due to the years of fear tactics my doctors have shoved down my throat. (They have to. We wouldn’t take them seriously if they didn’t, especially when we never see immediate damages!)
I’ve been lucky enough to manage these feelings of guilt and fear by educating myself with the facts. I’ve been taught how to correct these sugar overloads, which aren’t “mistakes”, they’re “human”. I’ve learned to discipline myself and not go overboard with any of the foods that can badly affect me. I’ve learned it’s OK to have the occasional “treat” if I cover it with enough insulin (note – “occasional” is key word here).
So the next time you grab a donut (or two…or three) at the office this Friday, or stop at an ice cream shop just because you have the craving for a double-dip vanilla cone, stop and observe what your thoughts are when you eat it. I’m not asking you to feel guilty because you can more easily eat these items, I’m simply asking that you understand the difference of what the thought process is behind your treat and ours. And please don’t ever guilt us into something by saying “oh, a bite or two won’t kill you” because, again, you’re setting off that entire emotional process above that shouldn’t have to go with enjoying a bite or two…
Things I’m thankful for today:
1. If you’ve gotten to this point of today’s post, I’m thankful you actually took the time to stick around and read this whole thing! Whew…
2. Sooooo thankful that my first Thanksgiving turkey dinner went off without a hitch! Everything turned out so yummy and I had a blast cooking it all! (I should also be thankful that my family actually liked it all! hee… )
3. Manini’s GF All Purpose Flour – the Cadillac of GF flours! This flour allowed me to make the best, fluffiest, softest dinner rolls I’ve had since being diagnosed with Celiac! SOOOO good! No brick breads for me!
4. That I was able to spend fun quality time with my closest friends and family during the holidays! (Shout out: Steve, Nick, Elissa, Kim, Matt, Mom, Dad, Barbara, Ladonna, A.Kathy) 😀
5. I’m thankful that my Aussie kidney friend, Maria, has a chance to share her experience via a possible book deal! Check out her website here! Good luck Maria – we’re rooting for you!
I have to vent today, since I’ve been kind of “holding it in” this past week…
You know how your car starts to get all kinds of little problems after you’ve owned it for say, ten years? The horn starts wavering, the windshield wipers start turning on by themselves, the brakes need to be replaced… everything starts to break down almost magically at that 10-year mark, all at once! Suddenly, you’re shelling out thousands of dollars to get everything fixed and staying up at night wondering why you didn’t just buy a new car! Well, I feel like that’s what’s happened with my body. Twenty years after having diabetes, and all of a sudden, when it rains, it pours! Every single complication that could seem to happen is happening, all at the same time, only I don’t have the option of running out and buying a new body to replace it. A new kidney hopefully, but that’s it.
I just learned that I now have diabetic retinopathy – with is basically damage in my eyes. It is the #1 cause of blindness in America right now, and I’ll be honest next to kidney failure, it was the #1 thing I was most afraid of happening to me with my diabetes! Lucky me, now I have both! What angers me the most, is that I was seeing a specific eye doctor for the sole purpose of catching this early, if detected, and he COMPLETELY MISSED IT!!! Even after talking to him about my symptoms, he gave me a clean bill of health! I had to make an appt with another doctor to get a second opinion and she said I had a moderate level – which is a more advanced level than “mild” and should have been caught by my first doctor. Once again, I have more damage done that could have been prevented but wasn’t based on misinformation given me by the professional s who are paid and TRAINED to know this stuff!! It’s made me LIVID! I have had several days to let this soak in and calm down, but I’m absolutely going to bring this up to my first doctor and tell him I am not going to return. Not only that, since my endocrinologist was the one who referred him, I’m going to inform him not to refer any more of his diabetic patients to this guy.
What sucks even further, is that I had to go to the retina specialist today, and after four-hours of running tests, they told me they can do laser to repair a few things, but then threw me the words I dread hearing, especially when it comes to my eyesight… “there is nothing I can do for this.” I’m sorry, but that doesn’t work for me. That is NOT an answer I’m willing to accept. I’ve been doing my research to see if what they say is true, and it looks like they are correct. Unfortunately, the only way they can help me is if it gets much, much worse. At the stage I’m at, they say there is nothing to correct! How frustrating is that? Instead of catching it early and doing something to prevent it from getting worse, I have to just wait for my vision to almost disappear before they can even begin to help me! Again… this does not seem right to me, so I’m going to try and find another doctor to get yet, another opinion.
I know this blog was supposed to be about my process to the kidney transplant, but it has become a huge hodge-podge gathering of all this BS that has come out of one main problem – diabetes. I hate it. I hate it with all my heart! It’s such a misleading and sneaky parasite that just sits in your body silently for years, allowing you to think that life is good and nothing is wrong with you…until it’s ready to explode and then all hell busts loose. I don’t voice this often, but my life has been turned completely upside down in the last few years for this very reason. I try to stay as positive as I can, but this has sucked almost every ounce of my hope and optimism out of me. It’s absolutely the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to deal with, emotionally, more than physically ironically. My future does not look as amazing as I once believed it would, but despite this big gray cloud that is constantly looming, I WILL NOT let this break me. I may become a one-legged, blind old lady with 80 cats and another dialysis machine, but I refuse to let this thing kill me off! It may have taken my grandmother and my aunt, but it’s met one stubborn red-head that is not ready to let go, and I’m going to keep fighting every single obstacle it throws in my way!
Damn, that was dramatic. So I forgot to cue the patriotic music and flags flying behind my head while saying all that, but I’m pretty sure it somehow showed up in your imagination while you read it. 😉 I’ve got to interject something more positive to this post… and how appropriately timed is this? This month is Diabetes Awares month! WEEEEEE!!! The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) has launched a campaign where you can receive texts from a sports celebrity (who has Type 1 Diabetes) and see what it’s like to have diabetes for one day. I’m very curious to see how his experience compares to mine, so I’m going to sign up! If you’re interested, please click here to get more info! Also, here’s an ad/video that was created for a brand new blood glucose monitor that attaches to your cel phone! It’s actually pretty clever, and brings humor to a painful process we have to put up with multiple times a day. 🙂 Bravo Dario! I don’t have your product yet, but I’m already a fan!
Update on transplant: I forgot to mention, the liver specialist who is on the transplant committee has looked over the results from my most recent MRI, and has decided, once again, that they are “inconclusive”. The transplant coordinator has informed me that a possible “next step” might be to have a biopsy done on my liver. She was supposed to meet with the committee this past Friday to find out what they wanted to do, but I haven’t heard back from them yet. I’m afraid of inserting a joke about multiple organs going bad in the process of trying to fix just one, for fear that, at this point, it might come true! =: O
Things I’m thankful for today:
1. Tomorrow is my mom’s birthday! Happy birthday Mom! I can’t wait to celebrate! Love you!
2. We have awesome neighbors. 🙂 Met a bunch of them at our Halloween block party, and you’d think it was one big family! So cool…
3. I was able to catch up with my friend Anna, whom I haven’t seen in a few years, and meet her new husband! I had a great time at lunch… thanks for letting me know ya’ll were in town!