I made a New Year's bet that I am now regretting. I had some other New Year's goals-to finally finish the book and get it published and to rebrush my teeth after the 2 a.m. sugar fest to fix the low blood sugar. But this one was much more difficult. I was to give up Diet Doctor Pepper. Really, I had to give up all soda. I know of the perils of soda, how the carbonation can rob your bones of calcium and leave them open to breaking and weakness. And how the nutrisweet could possibly cause some sort of cancer thirty years down the road. I know my mom hates that I drink so much. The caffeine dehydrates me so that my athletic performance dwindles. I know it is not even a real food, how it is made in a lab by scientists in lab coats who play with the right 23 different chemicals (they call them flavors) to make it taste just so good.
I've also noticed how pervasive this habit is within the diabetic community. Every where you look you'll find a diabetic toting around a twenty ounce DDP as we have affectionately renamed it. At parties there will be a sea of two liters of the magical liquid. And I've found Diabetics are often the worst offenders when it comes to overindulgence of the stuff. It is not uncommon to find ones who drink upwards of twenty a day. Most have some sort of habit. When I first joined the diabetic community (I had been absent from it for the first twelve years) I was comforted in finding that I was not the only one who drank mass quantities of soda. And it got me to thinking why it is that this habit is so pervasive int he community and I realized it is one of the few joys I have that diabetes has not taken from me and twisted into a stressful mess. the simple pleasure of fodd has been taken away. It is still good and enjoyable, but simple it is not. I must measure carbs. I calculate insulin. I plan ahead. I'm never to be caught without a source of food and sugar. And I'm never to overindulge without consequence.
But DDP is free. It needs no insulin to cover it. I can overindulge without consequence. I can have it whenever I want without having to stick to a schedule to match the curve of insulin firing off in my veins. I can drink it without thinking, without stressing. And it tastes good. Especially after a long, hot day on the water, there is nothing better than coming onto land and grabbing a thirty-two ounce fountain soda with a straw and sipping it as I tidy up the boat. I've been known to jump overboard to swim a quarter mile to shore in fifty degree water, walking into a store in my soaking bikini just to get one.
Diabetes is such a pervasive disease that I will live with for the rest of my life. It creeps into every aspect of my life, into every relationship. After a few days without soda, I realize I deserve one thing that cannot be touched by diabetes. I don't smoke. I rarely drink. I exercise daily. I eat simple, healthy, unprocessed foods. If the only thing I do is drink some diet soda than I think I am doing pretty will.
Now I just have to pay off that bet. (And if it's not too entirely humiliating, maybe I'll even post the video.)
To read more, go to www.diabeticsailor.com