A diabetic marriage

This is primarily a love note to my wife. Linda will never read it because she does not belong to TuD. My reasons for writing are twofold; 1) she deserves it and 2) I have learned a lot about what’s possible from people sharing on TuD and sharing this is sharing what is possible in a diabetic marriage.

Last Thursday I was sitting in a new doctor’s office filling out forms. One question asked me to rate my general health. Of course I picked “healthy.” On the other hand, I have been a T1 on MDI for almost 43 years. I have Hashimoto’s Thyroid and severe asthma and sleep apnea and lymphedema and peripheral neuropathy (haven’t felt my feet in over 20 years). I have arthritis but so does everybody who lives long enough. I have had three vitrectomies, two cataracts, three shoulder operations, a ruptured Achilles heal, carpal tunnel and cubital tunnel syndrome. I have a plate in my left hip from a bicycle/car accident (I was not in the car) and torn cartilage in my left knee. I was in the new doctor’s office because I have added a new condition called post tussive syncope. It is pretty interesting – you cough a little then pass out without warning – like somebody hitting a light switch. I am sharing this stuff so that you know what Linda has to deal with. I think I am healthy – she may not.

Linda married me 38 years ago. She knew I was diabetic but I don’t think either one of us really knew what that meant. She was lovely (still is) petite and had world-class dimples. She had options – I wasn’t the only suitor chasing her at the University of Florida. I was a fairly athletic 180 pounds (am now 300 pounds).

I did not want to have children because I did not want to pass this diabetic misery along. So, we had had 4; boy/girl twins and a spare of each gender. After they each reached the age of 23+ they became perfect children. Before that, not so much. They have no signs of diabetes. We also have one very healthy granddaughter. Linda has no chronic diseases and has a long-life gene in her family (particularly the women).

Yesterday while she was helping me with my new Lymphedema regimen, I started thinking about how much my diabetes had become part of her life. She is our family Chief Financial Officer so she knows how much money we spend on all my prescriptions and medical treatments. There are bunches of vacations, new cars, clothes, jewelry, etc. that she did not get to enjoy because of those medical expenses. She drives me to and from my surgeries. She is the one who knows how impossible it is to get life insurance on a T1. She is the one who injects glucagon about once a year. She is the one who calls the EMTs (once) while I was spasming on the floor. She has changed her diet to adjust to my needs.

She does not see herself as a saint, martyr or a hero. She is my best friend and partner. She does not “keep score” or a balance sheet of all the things large and small that she does. She doesn’t police my conditions but understands them. She asks questions rather than give directions. She knows what scares me about my conditions and shares what scares her. Because of her, diabetes is a fact but not a factor in our marriage. If our roles were reversed, I would hope I would be as special – but I am pretty sure that I am not that good a human being. I loved her before all these diabetic changes in my life and I love her still. I must admit, I don’t think I deserve her but that’s my problem – not hers.

I think you wrote a love letter for all of us who have non diabetic spouses. My story is about the same, I hope my wife reads this blog and understands it is for her as well.

I really think you should give this letter to Linda! Thank you for sharing.

How beautiful, thank you for sharing your love story. My husband and I have been married for 30 years and I feel the same way about him.

Having a supportive spouse makes the burden easier to live with. Don't waste your energy with "she deserves better" type thinking. If your wife does "deserve better", make the effort and commit yourself to improving your health and relationship. It'll be hard and take a lot of work, but that's really all you can do.