I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when I was four years old and the ‘disease’ has been my ‘life partner’ in far more ways and for far more years than my ‘real’ life partner! Having lived with it for 27+ years I have an almost kinship like the association with the disease so much so that calling it a ‘disease’ is making me uneasy! Yes, it is a disease but it’s also a part of who I am. While people (particularly those diagnosed with type 2 diabetes) make it sound like a lifelong punishment, it really isn’t that big of a deal or hurdle in my life (Alhamdulillah, touch wood). I believe diabetes is a fairly ‘good’ disease to have compared to other life restricting and threatening diseases doing the rounds. The poor thing only asks for some balanced eating, timely monitoring and management and perhaps being slightly more aware of your body’s well being and cries for help than others. Modern science, medicine and time have certainly taken the disease-yness out of the ailment for me for which I am truly grateful.
It’s never obvious whether someone has diabetes.
It becomes harder still to believe that someone like me, an average 31-year-old with a 2-year-old son, a 3-year marriage, sweet tooth the size of Everest and a junk food craving akin to King Kong’s love for that pretty blond woman, has diabetes. You see, I happen to be an ‘odd’ diabetic…one whose sugar levels are always low giving my sweet tooth loads and loads of margin to wiggle and break the dance floor. Add my hyperactive toddler and my city’s hot weather conditions into the equation and you have an ideal junk food grubbing, sweet drinks chugging hypoglycemic me!
I decided to write this blog to show a different, ‘fun’ side of diabetes which I have been lucky enough to experience. This is not to belittle the disease for yes, it does have dire consequences if not monitored and controlled properly. But my family and I have been lucky enough to enjoy a few memorable and funny moments thanks to my old time friend which I’m sharing here.
One day, for example, after watching a video on facebook about how men would react if they ever had PMS my husband confessed “It’s different with you! You get weepy when your sugar gets low AND when you’re PMS-ing. It gets hard to figure out which ones the culprit sometimes! :p” I, of course, didn’t get what he was complaining about…”What’s so hard about it?” I asked. “A bar of chocolate sorts both problems out perfectly!”
My non-diabetic husband leads a more diabetic life than me! He doesn’t like desserts, chocolates make him nauseous, he cannot drink more than half a glass of any sweet drink and he simply steers past the dessert tray at every single dinner party or event. It gets really awkward at times when we’re out somewhere, the main course is over and it’s time for dessert. He disappears from the face of the earth and my sweet tooth is left to fend for itself in the realm of others (especially type 2 sufferers) and their questioning, disapproving looks. “It’s less for me and more for my son,” I tell them to which they all smile a knowing smile. #AWKWARD.
My two-year-old son has inherited my sweet tooth and every time I’m eating or drinking something sweet when my sugar drops low, he pops out of nowhere and demands a 50:50 share. God knows I need it more than him at the time but he’s my baby and we eat everything together so a split is inevitable.
My son, touch wood, is also a real trooper (MashAllah). He has never been afraid of vaccination shots (he’s been seeing his mom take her insulin shots since forever so… (that and maybe also because he has an amazing vaccinator). Recently, my son developed a sore throat and his doctor prescribed him a bitter tasting medicine. He asked us to mix the medicine in juice or water if he had trouble taking it. When it was time to give him the medicine my husband was ready with plain and sweetened water, juice and chocolate flavored milk to aid his son. I told him he was overreacting…”He’s my son and I grew up drinking boiled bitter gourd juice every morning for 7 years (its popular diabetes controlling tip in my part of the world)…he’s gonna drink it like a champ”…and he did! He laughed and licked his lips after drinking the medicine like nothing had happened. #Bless