It’s the middle of flu and cold season. We’ve been relatively lucky this year so far (knock on wood). My kids have had maybe one bad bout of flu, but otherwise they’ve seemed relatively healthy. Sniffles and sore throats have come and gone, but they haven’t missed a lot of school, and they haven’t appeared to suffer too much. However, sometimes I think that I can SEE James fighting off some of these cold bugs that come around. His blood sugar will be unruly and unexplainable. It seems to have no cause and only one effect -- to drive me crazy!
Last week I had an incident in which, for whatever reason, the continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system kept going off during the night. I suspect James was fighting one of those invisible cold bugs. Perhaps he was even winning! Regardless, I just couldn’t get things right, and I have to admit that I woke up the next morning feeling both really grumpy and very frustrated! It was tough to get into my usual morning routine, and I found myself short tempered and impatient with everyone. I needed a turnaround.
So I decided to make soup. Does that sound weird? We eat soup fairly often, so it isn’t that soup itself is a weird choice. But for me, making it at around 9 a.m. is a little more unusual. Turns out, it was just what I needed!
I embarked on making some of my potato cheese soup (here’s the recipe). It came out so great, and making it was such a satisfying process that I’m now dubbing it my “diabetes soup.” It’s not a terrifically diabetes-friendly recipe (not bad by any means, just not remarkable); rather, it’s the cooking process that makes it particularly helpful for this mom caring for diabetes!
First, this soup requires lots of washing, peeling, and cutting potatoes. This somewhat tedious chore is strangely therapeutic for me. It requires only the smallest part of my brain, but it’s active, and it keeps my mind from going to darker places. It is labor that is immediately rewarding. When I’m done with my cuttings and peelings and washings, I have a pile of beautiful potatoes. A small achievement, no doubt, but it feels good just the same.
After the potatoes, I cut up all my onions. This is awesome, because it sort of forces me to cry. After a long and wearisome night, sometimes nothing feels better than just letting those tears flow and rinsing out all the frustrations, feelings of anger, and touches of worry.
My soup is relatively easy once all the veggies are cut up. So in short order, the third real benefit appears: a steaming bowl of soup. A family friend once remarked that there are few things that a hot shower, a warm meal, and a nap can’t cure. As long as I’m watching Ben, a nap may be far away; but that warm bowl of soup goes a long way toward feeling better about the world, about my life, and about the way that diabetes can sometimes make life a little more complicated.
Next time we have a long night, I’m going to remember “diabetes soup” and the world of good it does.
About the author: My name is Jennifer, and I live in Southern California with my husband, Craig, and our four children. Our oldest son James has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I’m thankful for this opportunity -- along with my sister-in-law Kim and her daughter Kaitlyn, who also has type 1 diabetes -- to share our struggles and triumphs with our friends in the diabetes community.
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the "typical" experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.
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