Wednesday, August 11, 2010

the intimacy of food, part 2~

Wow, I seem to have a pasta theme going on lately with this whole "sometimes I just wish I could eat" topic.

The reason this blog post is broken into two is because the first time around I was just thinking about the most essential ingredient to type 1 frustration: the desire to just eat. Like normal again. To just, you know, get on with it.
But the second part involves something so much more external. It's hard enough having a somewhat, shall we say, strained relationship with food. But what can be even harder is when other people get involved.
Oh, you type 1's all know what I'm talking about:
the good old Diabetes Police.
When I'm in a situation with what we folks from Pittsburgh call "nebby" (aka, "nosy") people, I sometimes feel strangely obligated to eat something overly healthy. Or, to not join in on the shared lava cake for dessert. Now, with understanding people and close friends, I don't feel that way. But every once in a while, when I'm at a party, some loud mouth's gotta say, "Emily, get your hand out of the cookie jar." No joke.
But what can be more difficult is when you have to go to the Endo or the CDE---as nice as mine are, they're only human---and sometimes when they're looking through my logs and spy a day I had a real problem meal, comments like, "My god, what did you eat?!" can come flying.
Ouch. There has got to be a different way to say that, Doc.
What makes this hard is that in the first place, I have to talk about my food. Talk about feeling like you have an "eating disorder." That we have to even do this; show "food logs". So.Darn.Weird. But don't get me wrong, I willingly hand over my logs and am anxious to learn and perfect this sometimes extremely unkind disease. So all in all, things work out. But every once in a while, when I'm hit with the comment, "What happened here?!" there is a rush of guilt.
No, anger.
No, embarrassment.
No, shame. That's it. Like I have the ability to control every outcome of this disease. Like I should be able to predict and determine every meal's perfect 100 ending. Sometimes, diabetes really is like being in the flippin' Olympics. You try ice-skating while serving drinks to the judges and audience, then land a triple axle on one foot.
The bottom line is that again, the intimate relationship we should be able to have with our food as human beings---as snackers, munchers, decadent chefs, sense-blowing souffle indulgers, is not so easy with diabetes. It can be so hard to eat certain meals when you're thinking, "if this goes wrong, my CDE might say, what on earth did you eat?!"
A lot of this might still be due to the fact that I've only had type 1 for a little over 2 years. I'm still learning about certain foods....even the healthy ones, like beans. Beans can be tricky for me (all that fiber combined also as a carb and a protein). However, I wouldn't trade the discussions I have with my CDE and my Endo. I learn so much from pouring over my logs together. And, as my very first Endo said (and I still really believe this is what defines a good Endo; one that is gentle and does not judge):

You own this disease and understand it in a way I never will.
My job's just to help you see the forest from the trees.


Julie said...

I completely understand your frustration with food. Let me tell you, it gets easier. It eventually just becomes second nature. I don't have to measure out anything now, because I can tell by looking at just how many carbs are in it. And it takes practice. I lived in Germany 3 years after I was diagnosed, and not being able to read food labels forced me to learn exactly what 15 carbs tastes like.
And about the fries, ask your endo next time if they have a carb book sort of thing. It lists off a bunch of common foods, and how much carbs are in a certain amount and so on. They are very helpful.

birdy said...

hi julie! ya, i think the 2nd nature thing with some of the harder foods is still coming my way...;)
i have one of those carb counting guides, but you know, sometimes i think with especially processed foods, it's just not fries or whatever. however, even with the spelt bread i buy that says "8grams per slice" i realized was so off. and that's a healthier/more whole grain food! oh my. these things are just NOT a perfect science!! thanks for the great comment, girl!

Scott K. Johnson said...

One of my friends around here describes diabetes as "a glorified eating disorder".

There's a bit of truth in there. Having to count every last little thing can push us over the edge of sanity sometimes...