Halloween is my favorite time of year. I love horror movies, playing dress up, and the overall feeling in the air. I’ve always been creative with my costumes. In fact, my husband and I came up with a routine when we dressed up as mimes a few years ago. I pull out all the stops.
Growing up it was a little more difficult. What’s the main goal of trick or treating? Gathering as much candy as you could possibly hold—obviously. This poses a problem for the T1D community. Unlike my friends, I couldn’t stuff my face with the candy without getting sick—I’m talking 350 blood sugar levels sick. No bueno.
Here’s the thing about blood sugars that run that high—the sick feeling doesn’t just go away in a few minutes like low blood sugar does when treated. It lingers (at least for me it does). The next day is a disaster, I have a hard time seeing, headaches are the norm, and my chest feels like it’s closing in on itself.
Over time I’ve reached the realization that it’s just not worth it. I’d rather not feel awful for a full day just because I ate what I wanted (in large quantities). Being a person with T1D requires sacrifice sometimes, which isn’t easy for a grade schooler surrounded by friends pounding down a metric ton of sugar.
My parents got it, so they came up with an ingenious plan (like they always do) to help me through this time of year. They bought my sugary loot (Ka-Ching!), and I got to keep some of my favorite pieces (Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Twix, and Kit Kats…duh). I sold my parents the small candy for 10 cents, medium for 25 cents, large for 50 cents, and extra large for a dollar per piece. In all honesty, I was much more amped to get a payday than to chow down on candy (Hey, $75–$100 for a fifth grader is big money). My dad then spread the wealth by giving my Halloween candy to his co-workers.
Even if you don’t land on a compromise the way my family and I did, don’t let it get you down. Everything is good in moderation. If you want that Almond Joy—eat it, but don’t eat six of them in one sitting. This is just one of many examples where I’ve had to train my brain to a diabetic way of life. The silver lining is that you learn will power and decision-making at a young age. One day, you’ll be thankful for that. I know I sure am.