Thanksgiving Through The Eyes of Juvenile Diabetes
Start writing a post
Arts Entertainment

A Very Hungry Holiday— Thanksgiving Through The Eyes of Juvenile Diabetes

This little boy can teach you about learning to balance disability and childhood during this American Holiday.

A Very Hungry Holiday— Thanksgiving Through The Eyes of Juvenile Diabetes

For those fortunate enough to meet Christopher, you'd see a handsome, energetic eight-year-old with sweet brown eyes and a heartwarming smile. He is just like every little boy- he loves LEGOS and Ninja Turtles and climbing trees in his yard.

What people don't see is inside his body his immune system attacked his pancreas, leaving nothing to help fuel get into cells. Chris was only 17 months old when he was diagnosed.

"When the doctor first told us he had Type One, I had no idea what it was," says Chris' mom, Sarah. "My first question was, "Will he have this for the rest of his life?"

The answer was: yes.

Chris, like the 1.25 million other Americans, has Type One Diabetes. Unlike the common form of Diabetes we often associate with obesity and sugary diets, Type One Diabetes is unpreventable and can affect anyone at any age.

Currently, there is no cure for Type One. However, there are many treatments available for managing Diabetes.

"We first started on a very strict regimen," Sarah explains, "He could only have a set amount of carbs regardless of what he wanted to eat."

For Diabetics, carbs mean everything. Carbs are the parts of food containing sugar, which the average body breaks down with the help of insulin- into glucose, essentially the fuel for cells. If the body doesn't produce insulin, the sugar is trapped in the bloodstream.

"High blood sugar levels can lead to vision problems, nerve damage." Sarah has now had six years of experience in managing her son's Diabetes since he is too young to do so independently.

"We used to restrict what he could eat, but now we try to let him have whatever he wants."

Ensuring her son's childhood does not become consumed by his disease is very important to Sarah. She even learned a slogan many parents in support groups for Type One Diabetes like to use.

"Kid first, Diabetes second," she relays lightheartedly.

For Sarah, and any mother of a young child, it's all about give and take.

"The other night Chris wanted candy, but it had been a high [blood sugar] day." Like any seasoned mom, Sarah was able to get him to have a salad instead. "It satisfied his hunger, but I'm sure he would've rather had the candy."

As it is that time of year between the months of October through December where we show our holiday spirit through the sharing of food and passing out candies, it can be tricky to cope with Type One.

"Last Halloween… it was another low [blood sugar] day, so Chris was able to pick at some of his candy as we went from house to house," Sarah reminiscences of her children all dressed up in their costumes, running from house to house in their neighborhood.

This year, however, was different.

"His blood sugar kept going up and up and up," Sarah recalls, "then I caught him sneaking candy from his bag."

Like any child, a large sack of sweets is all too tempting. However, contrary to popular belief, Chris can still enjoy candy, his favorite being Sour Patch Kids.

"People tend to assume it's about avoiding sugar," Sarah notes. In fact, having not enough sugar can be just as dangerous as too much. "He could have seizures."

Life with Type One Diabetes is all about balance, which is why holidays like Thanksgiving pose obstacles for Chris as he sees his family and friends overindulge themselves in the name of giving thanks.

Chris has two words for anyone curious about how he feels on this day: Hungry. Angry. "If they were to rename Thanksgiving, it should be the Very Hungry Day," he adds.

To this little boy, it is just another reminder of his disease and his differences, which he does not always feel comfortable expressing.

"I only tell my closest, closest friends," he admits, "And I tell them not to tell anyone."

Chris is at the age where children begin to pick up on differences and worries classmates won't be kind, if they knew. So, he keeps his answers short.

"None'ya," is his go-to response to kids asking about his Diabetes.

Sarah, on the other hand, had a very positive experience of talking to Chris' first-grade class a few years ago.

"We talked, and I answered questions and brought in things for them to see," Sarah explains, "They were just curious."

Teachable moments like this helped Chris have better experiences in school, and Chris wishes adults and kids had more conversations about disabilities and differences.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
New Year Resolutions

It's 2024! You drank champagne, you wore funny glasses, and you watched the ball drop as you sang the night away with your best friends and family. What comes next you may ask? Sadly you will have to return to the real world full of work and school and paying bills. "Ah! But I have my New Year's Resolutions!"- you may say. But most of them are 100% complete cliches that you won't hold on to. Here is a list of those things you hear all around the world.

Keep Reading...Show less

The Ultimate Birthday: Unveiling the Perfect Day to Celebrate!

Let's be real, the day your birthday falls on could really make or break it.

​different color birthday candles on a cake
Blacksburg Children's Museum

You heard it here first: birthdays in college are some of the best days of your four years. For one day annually, you get to forget about your identity as a stressed, broke, and overworked student, and take the time to celebrate. You can throw your responsibilities for a day, use your one skip in that class you hate, receive kind cards and gifts from loved ones and just enjoy yourself.

Keep Reading...Show less

Unleash Inspiration: 15 Relatable Disney Lyrics!

Leave it to Disney to write lyrics that kids of all ages can relate to.

The 15 most inspiring Disney songs

Disney songs are some of the most relatable and inspiring songs not only because of the lovable characters who sing them, but also because of their well-written song lyrics. While some lyrics make more sense with knowledge of the movie's story line that they were written for, other Disney lyrics are very relatable and inspiring for any listener.

Keep Reading...Show less

The Six Most Iconic Pitbull Lyrics Of All Time

Mr. Worldwide just wants to see you succeed.

a photo of artist Pitbull

It is no secret that Pitbull is a gifted artist, but many fail to remember that he can be a source of great inspiration as well. The following is a list of iconic Pitbull lyrics that we know and love. Read on to feel empowered — if you think you can handle it.

Keep Reading...Show less

11 Essential Expectations for Becoming the Ultimate Cheermeister

Mastering Festive Expectations: Tips to Shine as Your Holiday Cheermeister

Crazy for Christmas

So you’ve elected yourself as this year's Holiday Cheermeister, there’s no shame in that. The holidays are your pride and joy, and you've taken on the responsibility to get everyone in the spirit. With only one week until Christmas, here are some things we expect from you, Cheermeister.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments