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For the first 25 years of my life, Christmas was just Christmas and to be fair, since my diagnosis of diabetes, that has not changed. I have never felt the need to change the way I celebrate the festive season just because I happen to have diabetes now.  Diabetes doesn’t rule me.

I work hard all year. I deserve a break and a bit of down time. I will not let diabetes rob me of that!

Before diabetes, I’d overindulge a bit over the festive period.  I might drink a bit too much. I knew that if I did, I would have to take a few steps to make sure I was safe, like get a cab (not drive) and drink plenty of water to try and minimise the inevitable hangover. That kind of thing.

I knew I might feel a bit rough the next day, but that was a calculated risk. The enjoyment of the night before would always outweigh the way I felt the next morning.

After my diagnosis, I took the same approach to both social drinking and eating. I was not going to let diabetes deprive me of the foods I loved and associated with an enjoyable Christmas. Why should I? The almost inevitable higher than usual blood glucose levels could be sorted out the next morning. The hangover would just feel a bit worse.

I do remember one enforced change.

Every year my grandparents would give me a gift of chocolates. A very welcome gift that would not see the light of December 26th!  However, the first Christmas after my diagnosis in 1994, I opened my gift from them.

CHEESE!

They had decided (incorrectly), bless them, that as a person living with diabetes, I could not eat chocolate. So, for reasons that will puzzle me to the grave, they decided cheese was the next best thing…

At Christmas as on any day of my life now, I don’t associate diabetes with enjoyment of food. If I did, then I would be allowing diabetes to rule my life, instead of me managing my life with diabetes.

Even at the age of 25, I thought how bad it felt to be treated differently than my siblings because I had diabetes and that I was very glad this had not happened to me as a child. The fact that their assumption was totally incorrect added salt to the wound.

At that moment, I made sure that I corrected anyone with such assumptions and that it never happened again. At 6 feet 2 inches tall, I still didn’t have the courage to tell my 4 feet 6 Nan (grandmother) that she was wrong, so I got cheese every Christmas for the rest of her life.

At Christmas, as on any day of my life now, I don’t associate diabetes with enjoyment of food.  If I did, then I would be allowing diabetes to rule my life, instead of me managing my life with diabetes.

Carb counting and insulin are just extra utensils that I need along with cutlery to enjoy my food.  It’s a bit more complicated, but not as complicated as chopsticks! I really can’t get the hang of those.

Follow Chris here on twitter: The Grumpy Pumper and for his blog, here.

Happy Holidays to all and best wishes for 2020!

 

Chris Aldred was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 25 and has lived with the condition for 25 years. He writes about living with type 1 diabetes under the name Grumpy Pumper.


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