Celebrations like Easter always involve food - tasty food, and a lot of it. The association between food and special ‘feast days’ like these always sets me thinking. Christmas, New Year's Eve, Easter, and all the other national holidays throughout the year and around the world: pretty much everything that it is possible to coat with chocolate or sugar gets coated in it and served up as a treat. Dishes full of tempting goodies are proudly presented, making the blood sugar rollercoaster extra exciting: Easter eggs, Easter bunnies, Easter biscuits, and the family Easter brunch.
It makes it all the more important that you estimate your carbohydrates as well as possible. On the other hand, at least you know for sure that you can get yourself out of a hypo if you need to. And let's be honest about it: eating a whole bag of mini chocolate eggs in one sitting doesn't do anyone any good, but for those of us with diabetes our internal calculator definitely works overtime as soon as we see a bag full of chocolates. Along with the celebratory atmosphere, the chance to spend time with loved ones, and all the fun that goes with it, diabetes is still there too. It never goes away, not even on special days. Sometimes it might be a little more in the background, and sometimes it’s more in your face, for instance when you measure your blood sugar or your sensor alarm sounds.
These are the days that make the mental side of diabetes an extra challenge: you have to guess the amount of carbohydrates, hoping for a stable line, trying so hard, and in particular not feeling guilty when that inevitable spike in your levels comes, despite your efforts to prevent it. And that's okay. After all, you always want to get it right, and that is enough of a challenge in everyday life, never mind on days when there are so many extra factors (and Easter eggs) to be taken into account.
Not keen on the idea of swapping your caramel sea-salt praline filled chocolate eggs for a low carb option? Let's all hope for a sunny Easter so we can take a walk to smooth out the fluctuations. Or you could ask your partner, sister, or mum to hide all the Easter eggs around the house and garden so that you A. can't eat them all in one go, and B. have to do a little exercise in searching for them before you can eat them. Alternatively, you could hide them yourself to make sure family members don't run off with them and so you know where they are if you want or need some.
Despite all the extra calculations, the extra thought, and the extra counting and plan changes to add an extra sandwich (and the extra bolus as a result), I'm glad that we have these kinds of days so we can spend more quality time with family and friends. And we will never let diabetes get in the way of that.
Happy Easter! I hope you manage to keep your blood sugar levels at happy levels too.
My name is Donja. I'm 22 years old, and I've been living with type 1 diabetes for 21 years. A life without diabetes is therefore unimaginable for me. Living with diabetes is a full-time job, but I always try to use diabetes in a positive way, to energise myself and to be able to help others wherever possible.