As we know all too well, the mental side of diabetes can be even more of a drag than the daily blood sugar checks, medications and meal planning aspects. Not to mention the effect it has on those living alongside us. With this weekend marking "Sweetest Day" on Oct. 20, we wanted to literally focus on our Other Halves -- those who love us and help us get through life with this exasperating illness.
Ironically, National Sweetest Day evolved from "Candy Day" established in 1916, but has morphed over the years into a focus on encouraging folks of all ages to be kind in small ways, and offer little gifts to those in need of sweetness.
Here at the 'Mine, we try to recognize our sweethearts, or so-called "Type Awesome" partners regularly, with a Diabetes Partner Follies series that gives a voice to those living with and supporting us PWDs (people with diabetes). It's a team effort, for sure, so we worked together to get a little feedback from our very own spouses today:
Amy's Husband BT
Let's start by revisiting our very first Diabetes Partner Follies post, written by Amy's husband back in 2006 to share a bit of what it was like for their family following her D-diagnosis three years prior.
Amy says much of it remains true today, including this snippet:
"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."
Nice to see that a recent champagne toast is still in order. And it's just gosh-darn nice to know that our partners "get" how much energy we spend on diabetes, no?
Mike's Wife Suzi
My loving and supporting spouse Suzi is no stranger to the DOC, as she's shared her stories a few different times through the years. I asked her about this mental component, coincidentally just after having a severe hypo that got me pretty grumpy (sorry, my Love!). Suzi says this:
"This morning, you were Low and in a bad mood. It's not necessarily your fault, but no one likes getting yelled at and that just puts us both in a worse mood. That doesn't make me want to help, but then I feel guilty. I used to absorb the moods and maybe I still do; but it's difficult to help when that's going to be what I get in return. That is just the way it is sometimes.
"It can be tough to know where the line is, and not get offended. That was the case as we began navigating the data-sharing with Nightscout, and I was concerned because of Highs and Lows and that made it seem like I was acting like the 'diabetes police.' Totally not the case, but I understand where Mike is coming from. The mental gymnastics can be a lot of pressure, and sometimes it's tempting to just ignore and let him deal with the ups and downs himself and just stay in my own little bubble. But then again, we're a team and we work together... so it becomes a 'grin and bear it' type situation that balances out in the end."
Rachel's Husband Brad
Our social media assistant Rachel Kerstetter (who blogs at Probably Rachel) also asked her husband to share his thoughts:
"When I asked Brad how my diabetes affects him mentally/emotionally, the first thing he said was, 'Constant nagging worry in the back of my head when I can't get ahold of you, or even just in general. That's why I get so angry when you don't have your ringer on.'
"I asked if he feels like he has to worry when we're together, but he said no. 'When we're together, I can take care of you.'
"One example of this worry is that when I'm at work, if I have a Low, other people wouldn't know what to do or what I need. He says the Dexcom Share helps, but isn't the be-all, end-all. He reminded me that 'normal people' don't have to worry when their spouse leaves the house.
"And according to Brad, diabetes affects too many things in our lives. We can't just go do things without first dealing with diabetes. His example here was going for an outing at Cedar Point; we can't just hop in the car and go. I have to pack a cooler with ice and bring extra glucose... Then he blamed is gray hairs on me (and diabetes)."
Luckily, Rachel was chuckling while relating this, so it seems she and Brad share a sense of humor about the annoying burdens of D.
Big props to all the Type Awesomes out there who endure all of the craziness with us, because in the end, love runs thicker than #bgnow!
And happy Sweetest Day to all y'all!