I’ve been running away from Diabetes for a long time. You see, I had somewhat of a traumatic experience when I was diagnosed. The kids in my 4th grade class all thought I was contagious when I came back from the hospital and refused to talk to me or play with me. I was made fun of for having to eat a snack in the back of the classroom at prescribed times, and avoided like the plague. I ended up switching schools, but was still made fun of. Kids thought I was making it up to get out of class when I had to go to the nurses office for low blood sugars. I was yelled at by a teacher for being lazy and ‘sleeping’ in her class when I was having a low blood sugar. It defined who I was, what I ate, who I was friends with, what I could do. I hated it.
So I stopped telling people. When I moved and switched schools again, I tried not to let it define me. I prided myself on being friends with people for years without them ever finding out. I wanted so desperately to be ‘normal’. But the harder I tried to avoid it, the harder it was thrown back in my face. The first job I got out of college ended up being at JDRF, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. I didn’t actively look for the job. It was sent to me through an agency while I was looking for work before leaving for the Peace Corps. Then when I arrived in St. Kitts for my Peace Corps posting, I was recruited by their Diabetes Association to help them with their organizational capacity building. I gave speeches at schools, put on social awareness campaigns and plays to break the stigma behind Diabetes. And then I just happed to fall in love with JC. Another Type 1 diabetic with the same insulin pump I had.
Fast forward a few years and we had Aiyla. The sweetest, happiest little girl I am lucky enough to call my daughter. And my tiny little baby girl was diagnosed with this thing I’ve been fighting and running from for way longer than I haven’t.
I give up on running away from Diabetes. I’m on the JDRF Walk Committee. We’re getting Aiyla a Diabetic Alert Dog (might as well have something cute and fluffy out of this, right?) As soon as I’m not nursing I plan on participating in every trial I’m eligible for to help find a cure. I’m hopeful that Aiyla’s experience will be far far different from mine, thanks to the new technology that makes it more manageable, and the fact that more and more people have a basic knowledge of what Diabetes is.
But having Diabetes isn’t hard just because of the needles. The shots, the constant blood work, the doctors’ visits. It isn’t the physical aspect of poking myself with needles that is exhausting. It is the mental stress that is mind numbing. Multiply that stress by a 1000 and you’ll catch a glimmer of how it is to be a mother of tiny child with Type 1 Diabetes. I’ve been up since 3:00 am, because my little Aiyla was running low. I dream nursed her, then gave her an additional bottle of milk, waited up to test her blood sugars a couple times to make sure she was in range without spiking her, and couldn’t fall back asleep. Sometimes this song and dance starts at 1:00 am, sometimes its how the night starts before she even goes to sleep. It’s a constant worry about whether she’s too low or too high. And if she’s in range, its still this nagging feeling that any minute that is going to change because she is either going to eat, or play or go too long without eating. IT NEVER STOPS.
I love my daughter with all my heart, and it breaks me every single time she cries because she knows a shot is coming. Every time she clings to me for comfort after a shot. Every time she cries because she’s high and thirsty. Every time she cries because she’s low and feels like she’s starving. She’s such a brave little girl, and she handles it extremely well. But I’m so incredibly scared that as she gets older she is going to resent me. And blame me. Hate me for poking her and forcing her to be ‘different’. I am trying my best to accept the new normal, but its hard. It’s really really hard.
I went ahead and made some lower carb coconut financiers. These are some of my favorite desserts to make, but now I try not to eat anything I wouldn’t let Aiyla eat. Which means I try not to bake anything I wouldn’t let her eat either. I won’t ever limit her from trying anything she wants, and I’m hoping when she gets older we’ll put her on an insulin pump which will allow us to be more flexible on her diet. But even then, we still need to be a lot more careful about what we all eat. Hopefully by the time she’s older I’ll have perfected a decent amount of diabetic friendly desserts that even her non diabetic friends will rave about.
- ½ cup swerve/granulated stevia/sugar replacement
- ¼ cup + 1 tbsp flour
- ½ cup + 2 tsp almond flour
- ¼ cup + 2½ tbsp egg whites (a little less than 3 egg whites)
- ½ cup browned butter
- ¼ cup coconut
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Brush 20 mini muffin cups with butter (or spray). Sprinkle some coconut on the bottoms of the cups before placing trays in freezer while preparing batter.
- Place the sugar replacement in a large bowl and whisk to break up any lumps. Add flour and almond flour and whisk everything together. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour in the egg whites and whisk them, gradually incorporating the dry mixture until all the ingredients are well combined. Scrape down the side and bottom of the bowl and whisk again. Whisk in the brown butter in 2 additions. Gently fold in the coconut. Spoon the batter into muffin cups (about 1 heaping tbsp each).
- Sprinkle some more coconut over the tops of each mold before placing pans in the oven. Lower temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 12 minutes. Immediately unmold the financiers and let them cool.