A husband supportively holds the hand of his wife

Living With Diabetes With a Supportive Spouse

As soon as I heard the words, "You have type 2 diabetes," a chill ran through my body. Not only did I fear the unknown, but needles and finger pricks loomed ahead. And I HATE needles. For me, it was a fear of what the future would bring. But then, LaToya squeezed my hand in the ER patient's office, her warm fingers grounding me in the present. That wifely look of love and support silently conveyed a message that transcended the words, "We got this."

The whirlwind after my diagnosis

And to be honest, when I look back, we did. The following weeks were a whirlwind of doctor appointments, dietary changes, and medication adjustments. I threw away a refrigerator's worth of food LaToya had just bought in the trash. Despite my wife being super mad at that, LaToya became my rock and cheerleader.

She soaked in information alongside me. Learning about carbs, insulin, and the intricate "Texas two-step" of blood sugar levels can be daunting. We transformed our kitchen, banishing sugary treats and processed foods. That was tough because I am an avid brownie and chocolate chip cookie man!

Dealing with many emotions

Although I will admit, I was a grizzly to deal with at first. I was a tornado of emotions. LaToya understood the first few months of adjustment to my new type 2 diabetes diagnosis. My grandmother and other family members had diabetes, which resulted in high blood pressure, high cholesterol, kidney issues, and amputations. The thought of that scared the crap out of me.

Facing learning curves together

Once I got my footing, we began to turn each meal into an adventure. We experimented with creative recipes that were hidden gems of healthy cuisine. We learned to cook and collaborate in the kitchen. Trying to cook and prepare new meals was challenging, but laughing over burnt vegetables and celebrating culinary triumphs was a good learning experience. Although food once served as a source of comfort and indulgence, it has now evolved into a shared journey to a healthier lifestyle.

Working through needle anxiety

We gradually became accustomed to the finger pricks, which initially caused anxiety. After pulling my readings, we would analyze them together. We would celebrate good numbers and strategize for less favorable ones. This endeavor wasn't just about the act but our shared responsibility and understanding that we were in this together.

Becoming exercise buddies

In the beginning, exercise was a chore, but it became an adjusting bonding experience. LaToya and I began with evening walks in the park and the neighborhood. After gradually building our stamina, we began to jog tentatively and, eventually, walk briskly. As we pushed ourselves beyond our expectations, we connected more to shared accomplishments, the high-fives after a nice walk, and the quiet sense of pride in our achievements.

My partner keeps me on track through challenges

The type 2 diabetes journey has not been without challenges. Some days are filled with cravings; others are filled with fatigue, making even the simplest tasks appear impossible.

Despite this, LaToya keeps me on track with a steady source of strength and understanding because her dad and uncle both have type 2 diabetes as well. However, her understanding was not like that of a gentle care bear but rather that of a drill sergeant. Yep, you read that right. She gently pushed me back on track whenever I faltered and told me to keep going. No, I mean she really pushed me, reminding me of my goals and encouraging me to stay focused.

Lessons I've learned with type 2 diabetes

My type 2 diabetes path has taught me valuable lessons beyond managing blood sugar levels. It's shown me the importance of:

  • Open communication: Talking openly with LaToya about my fears and frustrations is crucial. It allows her to understand my challenges and offer support accordingly despite not having diabetes.
  • Shared responsibility: While my wife doesn't have diabetes, her willingness to learn more about it and actively participate in my care makes a world of difference. It fosters a sense of teamwork, alleviating the feeling that I am solely responsible for managing everything.
  • Positive reinforcement: Celebrating healthy choices, however small, keeps me motivated and empowers me to continue making positive changes.
  • Acceptance and understanding: LaToya accepts me, diabetes and all, without judgment. On some days, she understands that the cravings won. This unconditional acceptance created a safe space. I could be vulnerable and navigate the emotional challenges of diabetes. Having love and support has been the cornerstone of my journey, above all. I am constantly reminded that I am not alone.

The lessons I've learned from living with diabetes have been invaluable. In the process, I've learned to practice self-care, to be resilient, and to be surrounded by a supportive partner. My wife's support has been worth it in my journey towards a healthier and happier life.

As I dive into my 7th year as a person with type 2 diabetes, the fight is far from over, but I face the future with a renewed sense of optimism. With my wife by my side, I know that whatever challenges come our way, we will face them together, hand in hand, one step at a time. And that is the sweetest support of all.

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