Supporting spouse with type 2


#1

Hi, My husband was diagnosed with type 2 about 15 years ago. Unfortunately, he had to go right to insulin and combined with some physical issues he gained approximately 100 pds which puts him at a BMI of 52. He does manage his diabetes well (other than being overweight) and has reduced his a1c from 10 to 7.1. However, to do this, he quit his job 3 years ago and says he cannot work or his diabetes will get worse again. This is not financially feasible for us though, but am trying to determine whether I should be mad because he won’t work or compassionate. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Thank you.


#2

Hi @Limenlemon, welcome to TuD! What is it about his job that interferes with managing his diabetes?


#3

He has worked in IT, computers. Also, we live in an area with a lot of government based jobs. He would be required to sit in a chair. He wouldn’t have to do heavy lifting.

I think he is concerned that he would fall asleep and not be able to keep up with the pace. That he wouldn’t be able to show up consistently in an office environment (has always had issues with back/shoulder pain, etc). Also, due to his weight has trouble reaching to properly clean himself after #2.

He is not willing to talk or submit a resume. My opinion is try to find something part time at least to make the motions and to see how it goes. Then from there if people see your skills they might work with him.


#4

What treatment is your husband on? If it is the physical nature of a job or even having to be in an office every day then what about a job that allows him to work from home?


#5

I have had Type 1 diabetes for 33 years and have worked the same office job for almost that long. On weekends I sing and play piano and guitar at church and do weddings and funerals as well as other singing engagements.

I have never found anything about diabetes that made me feel like I can’t work. I’m 59 years old and plan to work at least another three years. My husband is already retired. So if I retire, it will be to have more freedom to travel with him and not because I feel like I can’t work. I’m usually able to run my a1c in the low 6s.

I would say maybe your husband’s reluctance to work may be more a mindset thing rather than a physical limitation. There are plenty of people on this site that work and have careers and manage their diabetes just fine.


#6

Your husband needs to want to improve his health. If he does decide to take action, you and he will find all the support, compassion and encouragement you 2 will need to achieve small goals that ultimately lead to huge victory. If he is willing to commit to taking a few small dietary baby steps for just a few weeks, he will start to see improvement and that should give him the encouragement to go the distance. In preparing his meals, you have a huge challenge to make meals he enjoys while at the same time help him lose weight.

Good luck to both of you.


#7

I might suggest you plan some activities for yourself, theatre , movie, family events, Hopefully your husband will want to attend, if not go by yourself and enjoy. Care givers need time off for fun too.


#8

He takes Treshiba and Humalog (insulins). He also takes blood pressure medicine and I think cholesterol medicine. He is in IT, computers, so no heavy lifting.

Very much appreciate your input! Thanks.


#9

I would have to agree, that with him it’s a mindset. If he was determined he would work. To him, it’s an excuse I guess.


#10

What would you like to see happen, for yourself.


#11

Is he worried about highs or lows while he’s working? A continuous glucose monitor can really make all the difference in his confidence and he will learn how to spot when his BG is dipping or rising so he can take action before it turns into a real issue. You can see if your insurance will fund one.

Since diabetes is covered under the ADA he is allowed some leniency for health issues at work as long as he informs his HR department and boss.


#12

Given just the information you have provided, I have a hard time thinking that his diabetes would be “worse”. It sounds like a sedentary job. If a sedentary job was impacting the glucose then being sedentary at home would impact your glucose too…(though they one thing I would say is at home you don’t have the stress of the job- if it is a stressful job) Depending on his employer and such paperwork could be put in place to request accommodations, such as extra time to check his blood sugars or specific meal times , etc. (Some smaller employers do not have to provide accommodations because of their small size). Again, depending on job, he could have Family Medical Leave Act paperwork in place. I would also think that with IT you could find something that allows you to work predominantly from home…

The one thing I will say is he is classified as “morbidly obese.” That cannot be comfortable and can make day to day life things awkward because of the extra “baggage” you have to bring with you.

I still would exercise some compassion. Who knows what is going on in his head…He may be very depressed and embarrassed by this all and that could be affecting his outlook.


#13

It’s a very tricky situation just as MOOBM stated. From speaking to my husband just this evening, he is just as you say depressed and embarasssed (don’t know if those emotions exactly but in the same negative vicinity as those emotions). He has diabetes, but also back issues, asthma, etc. along with excessive weight. Apparently, his doctors refer to this as a “vicious cycle”.

At this point, even losing any weight is practically impossible. Fortunately, I think we’ve built some momentum again and are on a new fresh start with his diet. Hopefully, this time he can push through and achieve long term loss. (However, his history with dieting has been lose, gain back).

It’s really very difficult. My emotions are involved, but at the same time its not my life (although I am affected). So I need to give him adequate space to do his thing. The bottom line is that financially we can’t afford for him to be out of work long term. It’s very frustrating.

I see this happening in front of me but there is nothing I can do to control or stop it. This is a really tough situation to be in. Honestly, this is the last thing I ever thought I’d ever go through in life.

You think of people being sick as black and white. But in this situation you are in a grey area and there is nothing. You’re not sick enough to be “disabled” but not well enough to be “healthy”.


#14

One doesn’t have to search very far on the internet to learn that losing weight is really hard — and frequently not successful. I’ve been a Type I diabetic for sixty years and have always been overweight. I’ve tried several types of diets, but never had long-term success.

A little over a year ago, I started on a low-carb diet. You will see vigorous discussions on the forum as to what constitutes a low-carb diet. But I think many agree that some degree of lowering carbs improves diabetic control and may also provide some weight loss. I lost about 30 lbs, but more importantly improved my A1c to under 6.0 at one point. It was back up a couple of tenths this time, but that may be due to some other temporary medications.

The important thing for me is that I FEEL better and believe I can sustain this diet for the long term. And I think the key to success is finding recipes that taste good. In 1976 when I talked to Richard Bernstein and subsequently bought my first blood sugar meter, I tried to follow his low carb advice. But a lot of his food selections felt like a terrible deprivation. I couldn’t keep it up.

A huge help for me has been to look up keto recipes online. I’m not trying for ketosis, but using some of those recipes make meals more enjoyable. So, I’m “starving” myself on bacon-cheeseburger casseroles, chocolate-peanut butter mug cakes, fathead pizza, etc. I’ve discovered if you type the words “keto plus almost any type food” you’ll find some tasty recipes.

You do have to be careful when starting a diet like this. If you lower your carbs, your insulin or other medications may need to be adjusted downward. And if you’re not careful could result in low sugar episodes. A CGM is really helpful, but it can be managed with frequent finger-sticks as well.

Good Luck!


#15

Baby steps. Work on controlling what can be controlled at this juncture.

I’ve been a T2 for 15 years and been obese all my life. My former good glucose control on metformin & diet faded away in 2014-2015 and my A1C shot up to 12.8. It did not help that I had crappy insurance with high deductibles. I felt awful most of the time. I got a new job with much better insurance and found a great primary care doc that was committed to helping me get well. We started with Tresiba and blood pressure meds as that was also an issue for me. Then we added Humalog and I got serious about managing my diet. Within 6 months my A1C had improved to 8.0 and now is below 6.0 consistently.

I am very disciplined about what I eat and when I eat-planning is a key thing here because setting yourself up for success helps you actually be successful in the long run. I bring a bag of groceries to the office on Monday which has all my breakfasts, lunches, and snacks for the week. I have a meal kit subscription which covers 3 dinners during the work week so that’s one less thing I have to worry about and is way better than takeout/fast food. I focus on being active rather than “exercising”, getting up once an hour to walk a lap around the office, stretching, parking in a spot farther away from the building, when the weather is nice I will go for a little walk during lunch. I like working on my yard and garden during summer. Adequate sleep is also very important for good blood glucose control and mental & physical well being. It’s helpful that my spouse and kids are supportive of me and the management of diabetes.

Hopefully this provides some encouragement.


#16

Apparently it is very hard to lose weight, and even more so it seems as struggles and stress increase. Appreciate your response. Will continue to try and make healthier options tastier.


#17

Yes this does provide encouragement. My husband takes exactly what you take, Humalog, Treshiba, blood pressure meds.

He has sleep problems. He has sleep apnea so on a machine (Can’t get more than 4-6 a night so very sleepy all day), plus has narcolepsy so on meds during day for that as well (to keep him awake during the day). He definitely feels that the overall quality of his sleep is fair to poor most days. Which doesn’t help.

It is encouraging to hear you carry weight but are still able to function and control your T2 anyway. I wish he were doing the same. He is not successful at managing his situation at the moment. He has been in the past, and has even had periods where he was able to lose weight.

Due to his current state, he is reluctant to go back and get back to work. So added to the stress, is the financial implications of not working.


#18

I guess at this point he doesn’t feel that work would help him out as you cite with the ADA requirements. I really wish he would at least try. At this point, he seems to have given up.

I think he’s concerned about bathroom issues, needing to sleep during the day (daytime tiredness), perhaps needing to take extra sick days, being given flexibility on the amount of time it takes to finish tasks (not having constant daily demands). Also he gets moody because of being in the hot seat (Due to his health issues) which doesn’t work out well I’m work environments. Plus he has back issues, asthma, etc. which add even more issues.


#19

For myself, I realize for one that I am unable to meet my monthly bills with him not working. So I wish he would get a job. I realize he has issues, but at this point he has to step in and make an effort to find employment.

Typically, I’m very good at just going about my business and keeping myself content. However, with this situation as it is and continues to be, it is at a point where things that used to soothe me when stressed are no longer working for me. I feel completely stressed.


#20

At this point, it’s getting hard to distract myself. But yes, agree that I need to find some fun outlets for myself as well.