It happened a few weeks ago. “V can’t do it!” – a random flash of awareness hit me one day, as I was mindlessly reaching for a snack. If she wants a snack, she’d need to carefully measure it. She’d need to consider her BG and decide if a carb snack is worth it. She’d need to test and bolus. What is it like for her? And then an idea struck me: I need to walk a mile in her shoes. I need to experience as closely as possible what it’s like to live with her restrictions, routines and rules. I need to live my life like I have T1D: testing BG multiple times, counting my carbs, sticking to a reasonable amount of carbs per meal, saying no to things I may really want. I will do it for a day to see what it’s like, I thought. Almost a immediately a little voice in my head started screaming and laughing at me: No, one day is lame! Anyone can do anything for one day. It’s not really enough time to experience her life. Go big or go home – do at least one week. I relented. It only made sense that if I wanted to have a glimpse of lived experience, I needed to give it some time. I started to feel a mix of excitement, curiosity and apprehension about what was ahead, thinking of how much my life would change, even if just for one week.
And then a second flash of awareness hit me: crap, I have to go strictly gluten-free, too! With that realization, I wanted to backpedal immediately. No way, it is too much work, I don’t want to do it, it is not worth it. I am already stressed out, why would I want to add to my plate? But the same voice that told me to go for a week instead of a day told me to just shut up and stop whining. V is 9 years old. If she can do it every day, for almost two years now, I can do it for a week.
This is is how the idea of the Awareness Project was born. Starting Monday, February 9th, I will live my daughter’s T1D and gluten-free life for one week. I will check my BG multiple times a day. I will cary diabetes supplies with me. I will count the carbs. I will impose the same structure of 40-70 carbs per meal, plus some snacks. I will wear a CGM and a dummy Pod. I will follow a strict gluten-free diet and treat it as if I have Celiac and have to be mindful of cross-contamination. I will do everything in the open, which may invite questions, comments and discussions. I will be blogging about my experience daily, so stay tuned to Project Awareness week, with a special preview tomorrow as I get everything ready to go for Monday.
I am still filled with excitement, curiosity and apprehension. I am sure it will be a week to remember.