“How Do You Prepare For A Big Event Like This?”

So Frank, how would you prepare for a big event like this?” My aunty asked me from across the table.

You might not necessarily class a Sunday afternoon family function as a “big event.” However if you’re from an Italian (or European) family, or if you’ve ever been to one of their functions, you might have some idea as to the context of this comment.

Antipasto plates were first brought out that day, piled high with bruschetta, sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, arancini, priochutto, buffalo cheese, provolone cheese and bread. Followed by entrees of creamy ravioli filled with minced pork. For mains we had the choice of sirloin steak with roast potatoes, or grilled snapper. Then the trays of Dolce (sweets) were brought out, filled with biscotti, biscotti and more biscotti. That was followed by cake. Two cakes, actually, because we were celebrating a Christening and a birthday. Then there was Champagne for the toast, which I politely turned down, only to have another waiter come over and place a glass in front of me. This is pretty much typical of anything you refuse at a family function. And if you make a big fuss about it, then you’re obviously not feeling well. Finally, coffees were served (traditional Italian espresso, of course).

By now you probably think we’re crazy people.

And you’re probably expecting some strategic, well thought out answer to dealing with events like these.

I’m (reasonably) sensible when I’m at home. I eat breakfast every morning. I bring my lunch from home most days of the week.  I have home cooked meals at dinner time. I rarely drink alcohol, much to the disbelief of every healthcare professional who asks. I’ve never smoked or done drugs, either, for the record. Burgen bread, Weet Bix, multigrain crackers, fruit, water, nuts, eggs and muesli bars low in sugar form some of the daily staples in my diet. There’s also generous helpings of coffee, chocolate and the occasional cake, cannoli or other treat that tempts me throughout the day. I test my blood sugar levels ALL the time, and always remember to give my insulin accordingly. All in all, I’d say I’m pretty sensible.

So, when it comes to occasions like these, I honestly just enjoy myself. I don’t live by rules or restrictions. I’ll dial up a generous dose of insulin to account for what I eat. I’ll keep a close eye on my blood sugar levels in the hours afterwards. Normally I’ll need another shot a few hours later to account for the delayed effect of the fatty foods. And I normally increase my next long acting Lantus dose by 20 to 30%, because I find that it helps keep my levels more regulated against the increased carbs that I’ve eaten.

As I sat there explaining this to my Aunty, I could see the look of pity for me in her face. Unintentional, I’m sure, but a look of pity that I’ve seen all too often when talking about diabetes with others.

But I certainly didn’t pity myself that day.

The only thing that I did pity that day, was my aunt’s pity for me. Pity that was completely unnecessary.

Because I was still able to have a great time that day. I was still able to enjoy the good food. And I was able to successfully navigate my own diabetes through this occasion.

And I did it again, last week, when I enjoyed this delicious birthday cake that I never thought my sister would be able to pull off (not my birthday, FYI).

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And so did Grumps on the weekend. Seriously, love this quote.

Bring on Christmas.

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