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The Santa Conundrum: Santabetes?

(Note:  This post contains spoilers.  If you are like my girl Brittany and you believe happily in the story of Santa, skip down to where it says "Diabetes is like Santa Claus.")

My husband and I share a philosophy on Santa Claus.  

Santa gets too much credit.  Why should Santa get all the glory for the gifts that show up underneath the Christmas tree on Christmas morning?  Mom and Dad work their tails off to provide a fun and comfortable life for our child, and to have the fun thunder (funder?) stolen by Santa Claus is unfair.  "Thank you, Santa, for the Barbie and the Rockers van!"  I shouted as a kid, not realizing that Mom and Dad put in some extra hours (and spent half the night assembling the stupid thing) to get that Rocker Van under our Christmas tree. 

So BSparl will be fed the Santa story, but she'll also understand that her Christmas gifts come mostly from her parents, and not from a fictional cookie thief who shimmies down the chimney.  Santa doesn't work as hard as we do, so he shouldn't get all the credit.

Diabetes is like Santa Claus.  (Welcome back, Brittany!)  Only in this case, it SHOULD be the one given most of the credit for certain things.  And I shouldn't give myself so much of the blame and guilt.  I have a tendency to look at a blood sugar reading and instantly blame myself for it. 

"Oh, 236 mg/dl.  Great.  What did I do?"  And then I start musing about what I may have eaten or if I under-bolused.  Same guilt for a low.  Same reaction for any number that may be deemed "bad."

Only it's not my fault.  Even if I did overeat or over-bolus.  It's the fault of diabetes.  I can't assume all the blame for the effects of this disease because there is plenty that is out of my control.  I can count carbs and test often and make use of all the technology and medical advancements available to me, but when things go awry, I can't sit around and blame myself.

Last week, I was talking to some parents about "good" and "bad" diabetes numbers.  And I hate nothing more than assigning such adjectives to a moving target like a blood sugar number.  236 mg/dl isn't "bad."  It's out of range.  100 mg/dl isn't "good," but just in range. 

Holiday photos.  :)

It took me a very, very long time to not see my meter results as something I should feel badly about.  Growing up with diabetes, everything was tagged with either "good" or "bad."  But I can't carry that kind of guilt.  By blaming diabetes for these fluctuations, I'm able to remove myself from the guilt cycle, and move on faster from an out of range number.   Diabetes is to blame for my body's inability to maintain a consistent blood sugar.  This kind of "Santabetes" viewpoint is not an excuse for me to slack off, but the detachment makes it easier to bounce back from a tougher diabetes day.  I can't blame myself for everything - that's not productive or mentally healthy.  My job is to do my absolute best to keep things in range with the help of the tools and education I have at my disposal.

And, like Santa Claus, diabetes isn't going to get all the credit for the good stuff, too.  When my A1C was at the Nice Healthy Baby Range, I didn't give the nod to diabetes for being easy on me.  It was the result of my hard work against a pain in the ass disease.  Go ahead and take all the credit for the tough stuff, Diabetes.  I'm not owning that part of it.  I'm just going to keep looking ahead and taking one day of diabetes at a time.

... and mentally prepare myself for the Christmases to come, when I'll be up all night assembling whatever goofy gift is on my daughter's list.  ;) 


Barbie and the Rockers! I have to ask. Did you like Jem and the Holograms, too? I still miss that show!

I like your Santa approach. At my house we grew up knowing (sorry Brittany!) that he was pretend but participating in all the fun anyway. That way we got a present from Santa but we knew where it "really" came from.

She writes as she listens to the Glee Christmas album :)

I loved this, K. I must have grown up in a weird house. We were told that most of our gifts came from mom &/or dad. We got one or two things from Santa and the rest from the parents! This worked well, especially for my youngest brother, because after the divorce it became pretty clear that Santa was not a *real* thing, just magic or spirit. Anyway the parallels you draw are genius, as is often the case. Thanks for this!

I blame my years of insufficient testing on the good/bad thing. I was too scared to see a bad number, so I just wouldn't look.

I finally had to teach myself not testing didn't make my blood sugar any better, and that I wasn't going to get in trouble for an "out of range" number.

When I was little, usually my parents would fill the stockings and give us one unwrapped gift from Santa---but not the bicycles and such; my Dad wanted credit ;).

I think this is why I have been in such a D funk lately!! All the pressure we parents put on ourselves for our children's numbers. We are always striving for the prefect number but in this crazy D life they come once in a blue moon!!

Thanks for this post I will try an use your Santabetes approach :)wish me luck!!

It happens ...like last night...random 333 I thought did i bolus..looked back and I did so no clue about that 333 other than it was almost pod change time(which didnt look kinked when i pulled it). You cant blame yourself if you know you are actually trying to manage things which you are just do what you need to do to fix it and rock on
As also a parent of a CWD as well we try not to use good and bad in reference to bg's..they are what they are hi ,low, on target

Thank you! I will print your blog and share it with my daughter, who was diagnosed with type 1 a year and a half ago...
As hard as we try, "bad" numbers can really wreck a "good" mood!!!

Most of my big gifts growing up came from my parents, not Santa, so I think your philosophy is very rational, and you are neither the first nor the last parents to follow that. As for Santa-betes, I think patients actually take too much of the blame, yet seldom get enough of the credit for things gone right. That's @$$backwards, the opposite needs to happen -- now if only the medical profession starts thinking this way!

Good analogy and something we need to remind ourselves of more often.

As for Santa, that sounds similar to how my parents did and it and how my husband and I do as well.

We do the stocking stuffers and one gift (maybe two) come from Santa. That one is left unwrapped (as are the stocking stuffers) under the stocking. Assembled if necessary.

Everything else is wrapped and under the tree and says from Mom and Dad.

ha! I, also, give myself plenty of guilt when I get certain blood sugars. Who doesn't? And sometimes it's hard to make "normal" people understand that it's not always a science, mostly an art to managing diabetes. Two people can attempt the same cookie recipe and the cookies won't be identical...
Sidenote: my mom tells the story of my toddler years, at Christmas, whenever she went down the Barbie aisle, how I mimicked the "Barbie and the Rockers" commercial jingle. And how she may have gone down the Barbie aisle unnecessarily for that reason...

In our house Santa fills the stockings and leaves a few presents that are wrapped in Santa paper... big gifts (like the ipod nano they got a few years ago) are from Mom & Dad...

You're right about numbers not being good or bad... I knew this yet still succomb to guilt when they're not where I want to be. Like I'm failing my girl. It's a good reminder that you read it, deal with it and move on as best as possible.

But we do have to allow ourselves the successes of in range numbers as the result of decisions we've had to make (guess?)... sometimes it's what keeps us going in this war.

Love this one! Happy Holidays!

I guess I am completely against everyone else here. My DH and I don't care if we get credit for the gifts to our kids! We do so much all year around for them (not presents all year round, but trips, etc) that they have not questioned why all the presents are from Santa and their other family members. We don't put their presents under the tree until Christmas Eve. We want to keep the magic as long as we can, and until they actually start asking...

As for Santa - i give him most of the glory becuase he helps me out so much - many days i can say - "Act right! SANTA is watching." This typically starts around October and lasts thru January and scares the daylights out of them because God knows that their parents will always get them something, but that Santa guy - well he is mysterious and they darn well may not get anything for christmas without him.

Love this Kerri. You are so right on!

Boy, did you ever hit the nail on the head for me about the "bad numbers". Just today I ate a balanced lunch with protein and complex carbs and a *small* helping of dessert, like literally a couple of bites. Two hours later: 227. I kicked myself as I shot up the PP Humalog that brought it down to 103 after another couple of hours, for which I felt relief.

I just wish I didn't feel so good when my BG is so high. If I feel really energized and happy for no reason, odds are pretty good I'll get the high 200s or even the 300s. I have to shoot up to get the number down and then I lose the good feeling. Tradeoff.

Santabetes sucks. Is all I'm saying.

What my wife and I dod from all three of our kids is mom and dad gave all of the wrapped presents. The unwrapped presents had no name tag and we told them they came from Santa. The unwrapped presents when we had more than one kid were presents that it was obvious which present was for which kid.

My kids when younger asked me about Santa Claus, if he was real or not.

I told them as I looked to the sky on Christmas Eve.

"Everyone believes on Christmas Day"

I'm proud of myself this morning, I woke up not feeling well around midnight and it didn't take me too long to figure out that my site was not functioning and I needed to put in another. It used to take me hours to finally figure it out, going through the guilt thingy as to why my numbers were climbing. But this time I nailed it in a few minutes and 20 minutes later I was feeling better.
Always learning something new about this body and doing it better each day.
That makes every day Christmas!

I don't let Santa take credit for the bad stuff... No, that's the Easter D-Bunny who leaves chocolate and Peeps all over the place and hides all my supplies like eggs in a scavenger hunt.

We always did all of our prezzies and then on Christmas morning there was the one for each kid left under the tree unwrapped from Santa. Call me selfish, but I wanted credit from the start! However, Santa usually left the "cool, it's what I really wanted" prezzie..but that's ok.

Thanks for the santabetes! My daughter Taylor is 5 and been living with diabetes for 2 years. I am constantly blaming myself for the highs and lows, even thought I know that I cannot always be "right." I am going to try to blame the diabetes more often ;)

Then you have someone like my daughter who I tried to convince that Santa was not real. I would say, "you know Molly, Santa is just a fun pretend thing," and she would respond, "no, he is real, you and dad would never give me all that great stuff like Santa does!" I gave up, Santa IS real! ;)

Growing up I got gifts from my parents, from Santa, and from Baby Jesus. All I can say is I was relieved to eventually find out all the presents were from my parents. It was just easier, lol. I think I'll let my kids believe in Santa and Baby Jesus (I'm hispanic that's where that comes from) and let them lay out little wooden shoes (I'm half Dutch) and maybe I"ll just have fun seeing them question all the madness :) As for my diabetes, I blame myself when my blood sugars are high or whatever, but not in a "your so awful and should feel badly" kind of way. Just a logical, "What did you do wrong and how can we avoid this next time?" kind of way. Taking out the blame entirely leaves me feeling kind of powerless and then I let control slip. But, you're right, we should never let ourselves feel bad about our sugars because all that is 100% diabetes' fault

Came back and reread today after I found the reason for the past 2 days' wonky readings: Vampire Cannula.

Keep up the great work, Kerri!

Santa is a cool cat...but that Jesus guy is even better :)

Good numbers are the ones we take appropriately care actions to without reacting emotionally. Bad numbers are the ones that carry emotions.

I was tempted to write carry negative emotions. The problem then is then the ones with no emotions feel worse than ones with good emotions and the whole cycle of silliness begins anew.

I consider this so profound that I am thinking about setting up as a hermit in a cave and dispensing zen like brilliance to visitors. The problem is I have emotions about temperature numbers.


actually, we're santa purists here ..I guess I've always known who the credit should go to. I guess I feel like as an adult I'm able to give my parents proper credit now and wouldn't have as a child. Just me. Everyone differs.

Where we are alike, Ian has conversations with his blood sugar; If his blood sugar is high or low and he'll say "hey...you...quit it! you're making me feel bad!" I've wondered is this is good or bad - does it make him hate what's happening in his body, like his body is working against him? or is it good that he can detach from diabetes. Still don't know the answer, but it's good to see that at least one other healthy normal person (that would be you Kerri) does the detachment thing too. :)

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