Nicky Gil is thirteen year old Ainsleigh's mom... Nicky wanted to write for blog week and tell the story of the fear that she felt as she contemplated meal preparation during the first days of her daughter's diagnosis with type 1 diabetes. Her words really get to the heart of how a type 1 diagnosis can make a person feel.
I can make eggs 10 different ways...
I can make eggs 10 different ways. Just ask my daughter. That’s all she ate in the first few days after diagnosis when my refrigerator became this vast, cold box of completely forbidden and potentially deadly foods; but eggs, the “incredible, edible” were warm, filling and safe. We’d had nutrition training the first week of diagnosis. We’d met with the dietitian, the endocrinologist, multiple nurses – all sources of solid, reliable dietary guidance; this was not the issue – fear was. I would stand in my kitchen at mealtime, paralyzed that my wrong choice would cost her a leg, a kidney, her eyesight, her life. I wasn’t ready risk it for the sake of a piece of toast. Eggs! Eggs were safe.
hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, bolus, basal, diabetic ketoacidosis,“carb to insulin” ratio
The eggs weren’t the only scrambled things those first few days. New vocabulary bounced around my brain in no particular order - hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, bolus, basal, diabetic ketoacidosis,“carb to insulin” ratio - flashcards wouldn’t have been a bad idea. Meal creation was too daunting a task, I thought, given my limited knowledge of what was “safe.” Thankfully, our diagnosis occurred in the summer, when I had access to a carton of eggs and a stove all day long and mercifully didn’t have to contemplate meals beyond the house just yet. Perhaps, this would have nudged me to conquer my fear a couple days sooner and saved my family my unfortunate foray into poaching – perhaps.
My daughter took her reduced option menu in stride as, I’m sure, my confusion was nothing compared to hers. Overnight, her world had completely transformed. The pantry during the summers her first eight years was an open door – stocked (somewhat) nutritionally as the hours between a prepared breakfast and a prepared dinner were much more free flowing than during the school year. Our pantry might as well have had an armed guard standing next to it the first week of diagnosis; it was right up there with the refrigerator in terms of its standing as a weapon of mass destruction. In addition to her now (severely limited) food choices, we kept coming at her with small needles a few times a day and sticking them into her fingers and slighter bigger needles at mealtimes and sticking those into her stomach. And we were full of (misguided) directions those first few days – no soccer, no ice cream, no sleepovers, drink this, eat your eggs.
It took three days for my daughter to decide she’d had enough. As I approached with the needle, my shaking hand not very reassuring despite her telling me in exasperation multiple times, “It doesn’t hurt,” she took the insulin pen, looked me in the eye and said, “I’ll do it!” Three days. She’d had enough. She’d was growing weary of fear – mine and hers. I followed her lead, albeit a little more slowly. She seized control of her situation in three days. I branched out to toast with the eggs a few days after. She learned to prick her own finger and I began to mentally unlock the pantry and the refrigerator. As she learned to cope, I learned to manage my anxiety.
Four and half years in and I’ve just picked up a package of double stuffed Oreos at her request. Funny, this isn’t something I would have given her pre diagnosis but, now, I fund the rebellious cookies. She’ll carb count, she’ll program her pump, I’ll advise against more than one. Our meals now include a variety of foods, most healthy, some not so healthy. She ice skates daily, she goes to sleepovers (and texts me her numbers religiously if she wants to be allowed to go to the next one), she packs her lunch bag. We worked our way slowly out of our first protein packed, miserable days. We fought fear in our own way that first week, now we fight diabetes together, daily.
Ainsleigh still eats eggs...
Nicky Gil - Mom of Ainsleigh Gil, age 13
Remember, anyone that wants to write for blog week and doesn't have an outlet for their words only needs to email me - I am happy to give your writing a home. - Scott