“Mom, can I have this candy cane?” That is what I heard the most of this year. And so it goes…a twelve-year old, a nine-year old and an 8-year-old, asking me the same question. Oddly enough I often wonder if other twelve year olds actually ask to eat a candy cane. Or do they just grab it and eat it? I honestly cannot remember if my oldest son asked me those kinds of questions at that age? And speaking of candy canes..it was the biggest treat in the world to load the tree up with candy canes. Oh and remember the big giant candy cane stick we would all get in our stocking?? Right..didn’t everyone get a candy cane stick in their stocking. Oh well…I did. And I miss them.
I go through life with these 3 kids who have Type 1 diabetes and I am amazed at what I…no what WE!! It is a WE thing here for sure…so what WE have adjusted to and what has become a way of life for ourselves. I am actually bothered by this feeling of immunity to typical life. You know it’s not anything I can change or do anything about…how could I not “forget” what typical life is when day in and day out I am counting carbs, asking for blood sugar checks..you name it. We live a diabetes lifestyle for sure times 3!! It is everyday life to find myself in situations where I am not the “norm” and my kids have to ask to eat their candy canes. In fact I kid you not my son just walked in to ask me if he could eat a candy cane!! I am always happy when most of the candy leaves our home. But it usually never does because we actually DO need sugar on hand. It’s an emergency necessity around here.
I am asked often what my kids are allowed to have. Most people assume that sugar is limited. And yes it is…but not always. Sugar is not the cause of this Type of diabetes, and it is a disease that sugar has its limits but with Type 1 Diabetes..carbohydrates is the thing that is the key component we balance. And yes low blood sugars are treated with fast acting sugar..like candy canes. However, they are kids and they have to learn how to balance their blood sugar and limit their sugar and carb intake. But by no means is this a disease they cannot feel normal with.
Holidays do kill me as the parent and caretaker. The interesting thing many people do NOT realize and maybe many do…but many do NOT realize that the stores are BOMBARDED with CANDY at every single holiday. It isn’t until you suffer from a disease with LIMITS or diets with true health related complications that force you to manage your sugar intake, that you notice just HOW MUCH candy is sold. It kills me. And also opens my eyes to what is really a commercial industry with no regard to a person’s health, only their money-making industry. Which believe me, I have my favorites. All you have to do is put a Reese cup in front of me and watch it disappear in less than 60 seconds. I never said take the candy off the shelves. Why would I do that to my own self. I wouldn’t!! But it is an awareness that I learned through my children having a disease and such great limits..that made me realize just how ridiculous the candy making business really is.
So do I limit them eating candy canes at Christmas and enjoying all the festivities? Yes and no. Many people are incredibly thoughtful to what they buy and bring in sugar-free candy. And sadly..the misconception with SOME of those sugar-free candies is because they are sugar-free they are better. But in reality..sugar-free ingredients are substituted with sugar alcohols and they can cause some people with Type 1 diabetes to have higher blood sugar with the alcohols than the regular sugar itself. So I don’t always go for sugar free. And no I cannot let them eat a whole bag of candy without serious consequences. Some kids could just get sick..while mine could be hospitalized for that action. And many times adrenaline alone can kick up a blood sugar so I have to know what the blood sugar is before I can let any sugar into their blood stream and make it go even higher. So yes..we absolutely can eat sugar, enjoy some cake and cookies and my answer is yes they can have a candy cane. In fact..Halloween candy does last a long while in our home. We use it for low blood sugars. And just now..I used a candy cane to treat a low. They are children with limits…but no deprivation is necessary. Holidays for us mean this..we just notice the candy and goodies so much more than before. All that is usually overlooked or taken for granted. We have to pay attention to.
And so it goes like that..a balancing act. And sometimes we feel like it’s our own circus and if truth be told living with 3 kids that suffer from Type 1 diabetes, 2 with Celiac Disease and now one with EoE, you can bet your bottom dollar that life is one big circus act for me. NO WAIT…for us!! Always a team thing here. But as a caretaker and parent..I learned juggling a long time ago. In fact..I would bet that if you saw my act you would know that I’m not your typical juggler of 3 items. NO..I’m up to about 6 items to juggle at once. Now that is just a representation of the “diseases” my kids are suffering through. And yes most definitely I do drop the balls from time to time. And I pick them back up and start my juggling act one more time.
It just is a life of when my kids ask if they can have a candy cane..that is normal life for us. There is just no grabbing and eating. There is none of this..I feel like a candy cane and popping it in our mouths. We have to communicate every thing before it hits their mouths. I am always curious to life of those that don’t have to think about this simple thing we call a candy cane. Do other twelve-year olds ask or do they just eat it?
We did survive the holiday and the great thing is..things last around here. Like candy canes!! So if anyone wants a candy cane..or a strawberry filled candy (that kind of tastes like soap) I always have sugar available.
Love, Peace and Prayers,