Baby steps. I have to remind myself of that every single day.
Most of my adult life, I have loved to cook. The act of preparing something special for family and friends was a labor of love and something I enjoyed so very much. Then one day, after not feeling so hot for a few weeks, I found myself in the hospital — the diagnosis, Type 1 (autoimmune) diabetes. I’ll share the full story of that day soon, but for now, I want to focus on how it took something I loved and made it into something that caused me stress, anxiety, and depression.
My most vivid memory of that time (December 2014) was my first trip to the grocery store. The idea of having to count carbs so I could figure out how to dose my insulin was daunting. At that point, all I knew was what they told me in the hospital. Eat 45 carbs at each meal and 15 carb snacks in between meals. Take X units of insulin at each meal (I can’t even remember that part!). So there I was. In a Wholefoods, trying to add up carbs and not knowing if I was a little off one way or the other even mattered. I was on information overload.
Don’t get me wrong; I knew my way around a nutrition label. I’ve spent my entire adult life on one diet or another. But there is an enormous difference between wanting to be healthy and having a misstep here or there and having your life depend on it. And please understand, when you take insulin, your life depends on it. The fact that the information they sent me home with was woefully insufficient and fundamentally wrong was just a bonus. But again, that is all for another day.
So, fast forward to 2019. I have barely cooked a thing in the last three years. Bob has been the best, jumping in there and taking over cooking duty in our home. I haven’t wanted to think about it. I’ve had a severe case of decision fatigue. Everything that passes my lips has a price. Every time we go out to eat, I have to guess how much insulin to take because the carb counts on the menus rarely end up in the result I should expect — adjusting for sugar alcohols, fiber carbs, and whether the meal has a high-fat percentage (which will cause my blood sugar to go high later). Every event we go to, I have to peruse the entire place to decide what I’m willing to take a chance on, what might come out later, how long it will be until we eat, can I inject somewhere without someone staring or getting grossed out by my syringe. I have considered food my enemy.
Here is where the baby steps come in. I tend to like to throw myself into things full throttle. I don’t love to admit that there are some things that I need to ease into. In the last couple of months, I’ve started thinking about cooking again. I’ve looked at some websites with recipes and didn’t forward them to Bob. We did a meal plan for last week, split up the days, and stuck to it. Instead of deciding to create masterpieces, though, I decided to start with some simple classics. My first baby step. It felt good.
I thank God for His provision during this time. He gave Bob a new heart for cooking these last few years. It could’ve been pretty ugly otherwise. I still suffer from the whole deer in the headlights thing when presented with too many culinary choices, but that’s ok. I made it through cooking Chili, Salmon Roast with Feta, and Avocado Egg Salad this last week, and I was smiling the whole time and already strategizing for things to prepare the next week.
The lesson in all this for me? Needing to take baby steps is not a failure, and even in things that seem mundane, God is right there with us, making sure we get what we need when we need it.