Tag Archives: diaversary

29 years: “Perfect storm for an eating disorder”

Apparently furniture is to be given for the 29th anniversary, but for me, all I got was guilt.

There’s a part of me I am not fond of; a part of me that scares me; a part of me I’ve feared, hated, fought and succumbed to; a part of me I don’t like discussing much, but a part that is very much there – always. It is something I have lived with for 29 years.

My relationship with food.

The other day I was chatting with a pediatric dietitian who works with young diabetics at a local hospital, and so much of what she said to me resonated. We were talking about the different methods of treatment specifically with diet, post diagnosis. There’s the Nazi-like conventional method: no sweets, no treats, you best be perfect or you’ll die. And then there’s the flexible method: make it personal, make it healthy, do what works for your child and the family as a whole, no labels.

When I was diagnosed it was Nazi style only.

As this dietitian said so perfectly: It’s a perfect storm for an eating disorder. Unrealistic expectations are being put on a child who just yesterday could eat what they wanted, when they wanted, how they wanted, and now you’re telling them nope, you can’t eat that, you can’t do that, eat more, eat less, if you don’t listen, you’re doomed.

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My first trip to the hospital courtesy of Dear Diabetes.

So, my story.

For over two decades my moms has been telling people I was malnourished Ethiopian child thin for the first four or five years of the disease, so thin the doctors kept adding to my diet, telling my parents I needed to eat more, they had me on a 2,700 calorie diet, and when I did start gaining weight, they didn’t take me off, so by the time I was 15, I was hiding my suddenly soft frame behind baggy clothes.

bday cake
My 15th birthday. Look closely and you’ll see the low self-esteem.

And sure, yeah, that happened. But what also happened is I became the child who would throw her “healthy” lunches in the bushes; I became the child who hid under her bed eating Halloween candy after Halloween candy; I became the child who would sneak spoonfuls of ice cream every chance I got, and one time hid under the table with the whole bucket thinking no one would see me there; I became the child who found bakers chocolate in the cupboard and ran to my room, crawled under my covers and took a nasty chomp. I didn’t learn from that. I hid in my room with a mixing bowl full of raw cookie dough; I ate Christmas chocolates in the bathroom; and something I am so not proud of and have never told anyone, but am now telling all of you, I used to snake my way into my parent’s room, on my stomach, in the early hours of the morning, when my moms was having a bath, getting ready for work, and would steal money from her purse – to buy chips and chocolate at the high school canteen.

Seriously, I am so sorry moms.

My relationship with food was not a good one.

For me, when they closed the door on all things sweet, when they took my control away in what I could eat, when they forced me to drink milk, something I had loathed my entire life, and something I was allergic to up until I got diabetes, and something I still very much dislike, they took my personal power away.

They took a part of me away.

My only control was a full-throttle diabetes/me revolt.

Did I have an eating disorder?

Yes, I believe I did.

I didn’t starve myself, I didn’t regurgitate what I ate, but I binged. I struggled for years to get my eating under control, and ultimately to get my diabetes in control – on my terms. And even now, although I am now crazy healthy, and in complete control, I still struggle. I don’t gorge out on sweets and treats like I did years ago, but I question nearly everything I eat now as a result; I worry about the softening of my body; and sometimes I berate myself of indulgences. Not always, but it is there.

It doesn’t go away.

Dear Diabetes gets the thanks for that.

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My relationship with food hasn’t always been a confident one.

Today, Aug. 23, is my diaversary. I have had this disease for 29 years.

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26 years of Dear Diabetes

About 30 years ago I had a dream. In my future, I wanted to be a doctor and an author. The author part was natural; I loved reading and I loved making up stories. But the doctor, well, that was the more the evil meanderings of a younger sister 😀

You see, my big sister Jules is nine years older than me, and back then (and sometimes still) she was always the boss! Jules, at the time, had great notions of becoming a nurse, and me, at just five or six years old, already knew doctor trumped nurse. Finally I’d be the boss. Mwahahaaaa!

Fast forward a few years to the day I got diabetes. It didn’t take long to change my mind about wanting to become a doctor, what with the long hospital stays, trips to the ER, endless amounts of blood-sucking needle jabs. No thank you.

Thanks for that Dear Diabetes.

Note: I was diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes 26 years ago today, on Aug. 23, 1987; the same day as my big sister’s birthday. Do you think she hexed me 😉

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Happy Birthday Jules!!! Now that’s something to celebrate! Heart!

TODAY’S RUN:

  • 10:30 a.m. BG before: 7.9
  • Temp. basal: none
  • Carbs: Larabar 30 minutes prior (19g) half bolus
  • Time: 1:00:15
  • Distance: 10.15 km
  • Average pace: 5:55 min/km
  • Average cadence: 84 spm
  • 11:45 p.m. BG after: 4.4

130823bakeryThis, too, was also worth celebrating – best post-run tuna waldorf and chocolate chip cookie EVER!

The silver diaversary

Twenty five years. Wow. That’s most definitely worthy of a Tiffany’s bracelet, don’t you think … say, one that looks like this 😀

I still remember it as though it were yesterday. It was my sister’s 18th birthday, and I was super excited for the black forest cake (her favourite) we’d surely be having later that day. What kid with a sweet tooth like mine wouldn’t be excited?

But first, I had a doctor’s appointment. I’d been dealing with a nasty flu virus that just wouldn’t go away. Everyone else in my family had had the same virus, so my parents didn’t think much of it – at first – and given that I’d always been a sick kid, the fact it was taking me longer to overcome the flu nasties was no big deal – at first – but I was losing a lot of weight, I was skin-and-bones, and yet, I was eating and drinking like crazy! As the story goes, I ate half a roast and drank a jug of lime Kool-Aid in one sitting while looking like a malnourished Ethiopian kid! It soon became apparent something was most definitely not right.

My parents were both at work that day and so my uncles offered to drive me to my mom’s office in the community next over. They loaded me into the back seat of the car, and we were off. Not even five minutes in, though, we made a pit stop at the side of the road for one of my uncles to, ahem, relieve himself (hey, I lived in the country, this stuff happened). And because my doctor’s appointment wasn’t until later in the afternoon,  my uncles decided we’d make a second stop at my auntie’s who happened to be hosting an afternoon barbecue.

As soon as we got there, I flopped onto the couch in front of the TV. My body felt heavy, my eyes were droopy, I was tired, oh man, was I ever tired. There were people around, chatting, laughing, running in and out of the house, but I could barely lift my head to acknowledge their existence. My auntie (one of the best bakers EVER) swung out from the kitchen with a plate full of sweet treats in her hands. There were cookies, beautiful looking cookies, cookies I would have snatched up in a heartbeat in past outings, but that day, I looked at them, longing for one, desperately wanting one, but knowing my belly would not sustain one. With the saddest puppy dog eyes I could muster, I shamefully shook my head.

Maybe something in me already knew my sweet life would forever be changed that day, maybe it was preparing me for the restrictions that would soon come my way, maybe it was just being damn evil, I don’t know, but to this day, 25 years later, I am still bitter as hell for not taking that last cookie, essentially my last supper – pre-diabetes.


Children’s became like a second home…

Today is the 25th anniversary – diaversary if you will – of me being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. I wasn’t sure if I should celebrate the milestone or punch and kick the walls in absolute fury of being dealt this hand. Twenty years ago, I rebelled against this disease. Fifteen years ago, I feared I wouldn’t survive this disease. Ten years ago, I for sure would have thrown an epic tantrum at having this disease. Today, while it still pisses me off to no end that I never got that cookie and that I never had that beloved slice of black forest cake (even though there have been many others since … thank goodness the once stringent rules of diabetes have grown slack over the years) I am still proud of what I’ve overcome and done with this disease.

But no, I will not celebrate this disease, not today, not any day. Today, I celebrate my big sister, who I love to the moon and back, and whose birthday I stole 25 years ago. So Jules, I think it’s high time we go have that cake, don’t you 😀


Clockwise from top: My sister and I on opposing dragon boating teams; Jules overcoming her fears and ziplining (next to me) at Grouse for my bachelorette party; 1987, the summer I was diagnosed.

And this is my big sis cheering me on and chasing after me at the 34 km mark of last year’s Run for Water marathon, which makes me giggle every time I see it 😀


To read about my last year’s diaversary, click the link: Happy – uhm – anniversary