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 "Diabetes Partner Follies" -- an occasional 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, Burghardt Tenderich (just call him BT):
Diabetes Partner Follies: A Guest Post by Burghardt Tenderich
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 and impairments.
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 forever gone.
Fast-forward three 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 exercise.
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 family.
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.
Thanks, My Love! I couldn't do this without you!
Do you have your own "Partner Follies" stories you'd like to share here at the 'Mine? Please let us know at via email. We look forward to hearing from you!