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Boiled Ham

Ever feel like you’re doing what you THINK is right, rather than doing what you KNOW is right? “Bean, that makes no sense...” To that I say... Boiled ham. Growing up, my household consisted of my mom, daddy, older bro and me. I was (am) a daddy’s girl and always wanted to do what he was doing and be his little shadow. I would wear his PJ shirts to bed as nightgowns and when he went away for work, I’d put his aftershave on an old shirt of his and took it with me everywhere. (I still have that shirt actually...) So when I realized my mom and brother always ate baked ham sandwiches with Hellman’s mayo, and my dad would make a boiled ham sandwich with Miracle whip... the line in the sand was drawn. I had to eat boiled ham sandwiches with miracle whip to be like my daddy. Somehow, this way of thinking manifested into me thinking that if I DIDN’T eat the boiled ham, my dad wouldn’t be “allowed” to get it at the deli. So, from then on- I asked for boiled ham sandwiches. It’s what I THOUGHT was right. I did not like boiled ham and I wasn’t a fan of Miracle Whip, but it’s what I thought needed to be done, so I did it. I ate em. And truth be told, I felt like I was helping my daddy so I choked down the sandwiches and watched wistfully as my bro enjoyed his stupid, baked ham. ... My parents and I disliked my pediatric endocrinologist. (And “dislike” is a very polite word for how strong it really was...) Years and years of tear filled appointments, anxiety weeks prior to the appointment, the fear of being yelled at again, the gut wrenching fire I’d feel when he’d tell me how I’d lose limbs, not have kids, etc - it was horrible. My mom was always the one who took me to the appointments and although she didn’t like him either, we never tried to change doctors because she didn’t think we could and she knew how celebrated he was as a doctor. She was doing what she THOUGHT was right for me and my diabetes care. She was essentially, eating boiled ham. ... I’m afraid many of us, in life and specifically diabetes, eat the boiled ham without much second thought. We do what we think is right, rather than what we know is right for us. We either follow the pack, listen to a doctor simply because they’re a doctor, or maybe sometimes, we’re doing it to keep another person happy or comfortable. Whether it’s staying MDI, or staying pump, whether it’s eating low carb, keto, high carb, whatever it may be, or whether it’s staying with a doctor/care team/ care routine because you THINK it’s right - don’t eat the boiled ham anymore. It took me years to finally ask for a baked ham sandwich and I know that sounds crazy but I wasn’t being true to what I wanted. It took years for my mom to switch my endo despite our horrible experiences, which sounds crazy but we were caught up in what we THOUGHT was the right thing to do. I can remember telling my daddy I didn’t want to eat boiled ham anymore and telling him I didn’t really like it. I was nervous. I remember seeing the new endo (in the same building) for the first time and being scared the old Dr. Dodo would see me. Looking back, it all seems so silly, but at the time - it was huge.

Make your diabetes choices about you. Your thoughts, your experience, your gut. Try to cancel out the noise we all get bombared with and look inward for your answers. Don’t be afraid to “fail” because as long as you’re learning, it’s truly not failing.

So go on, eat the baked ham! Switch to the new endo! Try a different eating plan, a new pump, a different exercise routine- but do it because you feel it’s right.

Don’t settle for the boiled ham.

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