As a diabetic, Christmas can be difficult; this is only my 4th Christmas as a Type 1 but I’m oh too aware of the many pitfalls that lay ahead. Naturally, the holiday season brings with it many temptations: nights out, fine meals, plenty of seasonal snacks and, of course, an abundance of alcoholic drinks. Now, just because I’m diabetic and supposed to take these things in moderation, doesn’t actually mean that I do (sorry Dr. Christian). To be honest, during the year, I actually eat quite healthily (when I actually eat) but during the holiday season I really do let go and just enjoy myself; I eat far too many mince pies, stuff my face with advent chocolates, and
slightly massively over indulge in alcohol throughout pretty much the whole of December. The 12th month is when I make up for looking after myself possibly too much during the other 11; I really do love it.
All of this gluttony sounds great, right? Well, it can be, but it also has it’s downsides. Though I enjoy letting loose, it only creates more work for me as a diabetic; the more snacks I eat, the more I have to check my blood sugar, work out how much Insulin I need, and finally inject. Now, imagine any Christmas party; you’ve had a meal, drinks are flowing, snacks are being dished out, and you’re joining in the fun. Hey, why hold back? It’s Christmas after all. As a non diabetic, the worst thing that can happen is you have a few too many and possibly throw up or fall on your face. But, as a diabetic, after a few hours, blood tests, and injections; you can end up in one of two states. You can be sat shaking, with cold sweats, looking pale as death, passable as drunk because your blood sugar levels are low, or, you can be stood with the resting heart rate of a psychopath, breath smelling of acetone, and burning up because your blood sugar levels are too high. Doesn’t that sound fun?!
Well, actually, it is fun. Do you decide to give up drinking just because you’re severely hungover one day? No, well this is the same; diabetes doesn’t stop you from enjoying yourself, it just occasionally makes you regret it. If I was really that concerned about going hypo (low) or hyper (high), I wouldn’t let myself go in the way I do. Just like any other life lasting condition, you can’t let it beat you. If it stops you from doing everything that you enjoy, then you’re letting it win and you’re not living. There are many diabetics who play by the rules 100% of the time, and I respect them for it, and on the other end of the scale, there are diabetics who really don’t give a s**t, and I respect them too; but there’s no right or wrong way to manage diabetes, it’s a condition that is very individual. I consider myself roughly in between; I tend to look after myself the majority of the time, but occasionally just don’t really care about it. OK, I get it wrong from time to time and become a little ill but, at times like Christmas, there are more important things to worry about.
So, as my last Christmas in the UK approaches, and the thought of where I’ll be next year dominates my thoughts, I can’t help but feel I need to make the most of this one. This will probably include an over-indulgence in all things seasonal, a high amount of emotions, and many good times but, you know what?
Diabetes won’t be getting in the way of any of it.
-Type 1 Traveller