Check out 14-year-old Summer Asman’s experiences managing diabetes during special occasions.
Before diabetes, I used to love all of the desserts provided at special occasions, but now I dread eating dessert with people who don’t understand type 1 diabetes. It is hard to eat with people without diabetes. I try not to be jealous when I watch them stuff their faces with hundreds of delicious, sugary carbs (like I used to do) and I have to sit there and refrain from eating as many as them.
Celebrating events with my family is especially hard, because my cousins, uncles and aunts don't understand. They bake pies and cookies, and they eat with ice cream and pudding. It takes a lot of will power for me to only eat my “sensible” portion of cake! Sometimes I wish my relatives wouldn’t bring so many different kinds of cakes and pies, and eat a little bit of each. They don’t understand how I feel watching them eat. How do I feel? Jealous, frustrated, hurt - and then guilty that I feel that way!
One way I have learned how to face the challenge of the dessert table at special occasions is to remind myself that they’re not just about eating all day. I love spending time with my family and friends, and enjoying whatever it is we’re celebrating. When I start to feel down about my sensible meal in the face of a six-foot long dessert table, I try to focus on all of the other joys.
As sensibly as I eat, I still enjoy some treats with my family. Another way I face the challenge of eating during special occasions is with the help of my Omnipod insulin pump. The Omnipod can't help the way other people around you eat, but it can help make things easier for you. When I was using the insulin pen, it was hard because I had to bolus at the beginning of my meal for the exact amount of carbs I was going to eat. And I would have to take multiple shots of insulin for anything extra, which was miserable. I remember being at the first Christmas after my diabetes diagnosis and bolusing for a ½-cup of mashed potatoes and wanting more. I did not have seconds, because I did not want to take another injection! I even skipped dessert because it was just too much of a painful hassle.
Now, with the Omnipod, I can count my carbs along the way and bolus for only a few at the beginning of a meal. Then, I can bolus easily as I eat more. So maybe I can have that extra cookie on Christmas! I also input my insulin-to-carb ratio into my Personal Diabetes Manager (PDM), so I don’t have to waste time on my calculator calculating how much insulin to give myself. My PDM does it on its own. The Omnipod made Christmas especially easy this year for me, because the mashed potatoes were extremely salty and buttery (just the way I like them) and I ended up eating seconds. Without the Omnipod, that would have been two needles in my arm! Ouch! Yes, family at events is wonderful, but so are seconds of mashed potatoes.