I love the holiday season. I love waking up to a fresh layer of snow blanketing the grass and trees in a sparkling white. I love seeing the trees, streets, and buildings twinkling with colored lights. I even love braving the crowded malls and stores in search of the perfect gift. For me, the holidays mean spending time with family, getting together with friends, and enjoying delicious food. Despite my affection for this time of year, winter and the holidays are also a challenging time. This may be true for a lot of people, but I find it especially hard at times as a diabetic.
Being a visual person, I decided to create a series of photographs, my interpretation of the holidays through the eyes of a type 1 diabetic. Inherent in these photos is the juxtaposition of beauty and pleasure with disease and discomfort. Sweetness and enjoyment isn’t without careful deliberation and vigilance.
Cold weather brings challenges with blood sugar testing. When the temperature drops and your fingers get cold, it becomes even more difficult to get enough blood to take a reading. Sometimes I think my fingers might as well be covered in snow with how little circulation there is in the winter cold.
I love sweets. I’ll admit it. Being diabetic doesn’t necessarily mean that I can’t enjoy these treats, it just means knowing exactly how many carbs I’m having, giving enough insulin to cover it, and anticipating spikes in my blood sugar. That being said, it’s hard for me to look at candy, alcohol, or baked goods without thinking about calculating insulin, counting carbohydrates, and testing blood sugars.
The holidays are about remembering and appreciating what is truly important in your life. That may mean ignoring those questioning looks when you grab a brownie or excuse yourself to check your blood sugar. It’s about remembering everything you have to be grateful for instead of focusing on the inconveniences.
Warmest thoughts and best wishes for a wonderful holiday and a very happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year to you all!