Periodically, I am reminded that we do not live with this disease alone. Our Loved Ones live with it, too, day in and day out. To be honest, I don't often stop and think about what it might be like for them.
My exceptional partner has been urging me for some time to reach out to all the people out there living with diabetics -- to give them a voice, and a forum for sharing the feelings and experiences that accompany living with us PWDs (person with diabetes). He seems to believe that the large community of "significant others" might be able to learn from one another and share what he calls "best practices" in dealing with the challenges and frustrations, etc., of living with a PWD.
So we welcome you here today for the first time to the DiabetesMine.com "Diabetic Partner Follies" -- an occassional series from the people who love the PWDs. Note that we use the term "follies" in the revue sense of the word, i.e. an elaborate, multi-faceted dance production -- my metaphor for life with this sometimes outrageous disease.
My man volunteered to kick the thing off with the first contribution (gulp), below. Do have a look. Then we'd like to invite other partners of diabetics to join in "the follies" and tell us what goes on in your (D)world.
If you'd like to submit something -- no need for a lengthy post, even the teeniest anecdote will do -- please email me here. And now, without further ado, a word from my (most cherished) sponsor:
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Ever since surviving
a near-fatal car accident over 20 years ago, not a single day passes where I'm not
consciously grateful for living a healthy life. I know my good health won't
last forever, but as long as it does, I appreciate a life without pain, pills
When Amy first
started losing post-pregnancy weight at a rapid pace, I thought it was cool and
congratulated her. Then I went on a business trip and didn't see her for a few
days. When I came back, she had dropped a lot of weight, and I started to worry.
That day we learned
that for Amy, the days where she didn't have to deal with a disease were
years and a month, and you'll notice many changes in our home. When our
9-year-old daughter and I cook a family dinner on the weekend, she makes sure I
don't inadvertently use wheat flour, but instead a gluten-free replacement. The
girls know what it means when mom has to take a break from playing to eat candy
or drink fruit juice. We've long stopped even noticing when Amy injects for a
meal. Our three-year-old talks about "diaveetes" and "Dora the Explorer" in the
same sentence, and occasionally the seven-year-old says, "I wish mom didn't
have diabetes." I nod and smile at her.
At the same time,
we've never been happier as a family, and Amy's life with diabetes has actually
also had a positive impact on us. It has brought us closer together as a
family, and it certainly has motivated us to live a healthy life. Our kids can
tell a good diet from a bad one, and we all understand the value of regular
Getting used to
living with a diabetic partner at first wasn't easy. For instance, I couldn't
understand that "I'm really hungry" was supposedly a valid excuse for snapping
at me right before lunch. And what do you mean, you can't wait until 8:30 PM
for the first course of a long meal with friends? Just have a snack.
Over time we
figured this out together, and Amy has been very patient with me. In general, for
us as a family, getting used to diabetes has not been difficult, but I know it
hasn't been easy for her. I try to be as supportive as possible, which isn't
always easy, given the daily challenges that come with a busy job and raising a
What has really
helped me was educating myself about diabetes. Amy and I attended an
educational session at UC San Francisco, and I started reading and discussing
the disease with my father and brother, both doctors, and my biologist sister —
and of course with Amy. Learning about diabetes helped on several fronts.
First, I was no longer so ignorant and could more easily understand Amy's
actions, reactions and worries. But just as importantly, it prevented me from
hating the disease. The more I learned about the body's insulin and blood sugar
interplay, the more intrigued I got with the whole topic and with ways to use
diet and exercise to achieve healthy blood sugar levels. This knowledge enables
all of us to live a healthier life.