Summer, to me, is an oxymoron breathed into life. You spend your entire year consumed in schedules pining for those blessed three months when you can take time to relax and recharge. Then summer comes and you spend your time trying to develop a new routine, dealing with the ups and downs of days that can change at a moment’s notice. As a diabetic, summer scares me. What some people would view as being confined to the regimentation of schedules I see as a blessing; knowing what every day will bring eliminates the extra stress of having to determine how my body will react. I hate feeling that way. I really do. I wish doctors could concoct an insulin pill you could take at the beginning of summer that would magically adapt to the rollercoaster of barbecues and beach trips, ice cream excursions and pool outings, late nights and lazy days. Unfortunately they don’t, so you seek to make the best of it. It’s what a diabetic does, right? A couple more pricked fingers, a few more boluses. You know the drill. You keep it going because it keeps you going. You survive. You suffer. You live and smile because you get to see a summer after all.
This summer, like all summers, has brought for me incredible moments of joy. In June, I celebrated my oldest daughter’s 14th birthday, and I followed that up in July with my youngest daughter’s 7th birthday. As you can imagine, having children at these ages brings very different adventures. For my oldest daughter, she wanted to attend her first real concert. I broke down in June and bought the tickets, excited to go with her but trying to mentally prepare for being in a throng of teenage kids for three hours—could I bring in food? If we danced, would my sugar drop a lot? Would the excitement cause my sugar to spike, triggering a seesaw of lows and highs if I over-bolused? Regardless, I wasn’t going to let it deter me. I brought my super-cool, black man purse with my diabetic equipment and got a drink and a candy bar before the concert. And yes, we had a blast! We danced and I checked my blood sugar at intermissions and even turned off my Omnipod pump for a few increments to keep things stable. It went well.
For my youngest daughter, she was more simple. A trip to Dan Nicholas Park in nearby Salisbury, NC, riding paddle boats and enjoying Cheerwine slushies, a local favorite. Again, the same mental checklist came into play—do I take food on the boat? Do I need to bolus for the slushie? Would the sun wear me down and cause low blood sugar walking around the park? Happy to say, the day went off without a hitch. The slushie offset the boat paddling nicely and it was a balmy 80 degree day. Summer was going to be alright after all. (: