One of the many reasons why I love the month in October is at the end of the month, I get to celebrate my birthday. Even as I get older, I always look forward to celebrating this day because it signals another year I got to be alive, and another year I successfully negotiated the ups and downs of being a diabetic. It’s incredibly ironic that on the date I get to celebrate these things, one of the major rewards of a birthday, birthday cake, I usually forego because of the pitfalls it may present later in the day.
Who am I kidding? Of course I eat cake!
That, to me, is the issue with being a diabetic that we battle daily. We work so hard to be “normal” despite our physical setbacks and then when we get to be normal we either live in fear of the repercussions or resign ourselves to the fact that we’re never allowed that opportunity. Now, it is true that for every diabetic that is burdened with this mentality, there are two or three who have literally given up on proper glucose control and decided to eat and live without care, believing that life is a sugar buffet that can be handled with boluses and blood strips. But for those who really try to walk the gauntlet every day with a healthy balance, it can be tough to allow yourselves things that can potentially cause you problems.
So how do you do it?
My philosophy has always been based on moderation. Having a piece of cake for your birthday is fine. Having three? Not so much. And if you’re going to celebrate, schedule it in like you do everything else. Yes, scheduling these things is aggravating, and it is frustrating to take these steps when others get to live without thinking about it. If I know I’m going to be eating cake, I find out when the celebration is and I schedule a run or cardio workout either that morning or after the party is over. Usually it’s something as simple as taking my dog for a two mile run/walk to burn off the extra glucose I’ve taken in or I’m going to take in. I also check my blood before I eat the cake and about an hour after to gauge the impact and determine how much, if any, exercise I may need to do. I try to be careful not to overcompensate with insulin because of the long-term impact of glucose levels running consistently low for the rest of the day. Finally, and I think this is the major takeaway on things like this, but as a diabetic, you still get to live your life with a sense of joy. Things that bring you joy in life, even simple things like birthday cake, shouldn’t be completely removed; they should be managed. Managing such things gives you a sense of empowerment and self-confidence and creates those opportunities for joy.
So celebrate your birthday. Celebrate each day you survive. And eat some cake while you do!