Ode to all the Type 1 Spouses

My husband will be very embarrassed after reading this but I don’t care.

The night after my second date with my now husband I went on Amazon and got him a copy of “Type 1 Diabetes for Dummies” and shipped it to his apartment.  He told me later he had read it cover to cover in one day.  Even though I was embarrassed and ashamed of my diabetes, he wanted to learn everything he could.  And that is because of love.

I have always been very independent in my diabetes management.  I let my mom help me when I was first diagnosed but took over all on my own by the time I turned 12.  I had managed my own diabetes for fifteen years before I met my husband.  Although our loved ones can never truly share in our diabetes – our highs, our lows, our ketones, our finger pricks, our connection 24/7 to diabetes machinery (insulin pumps, CGMs) – they get an insider look everyday (and night) at what it takes to manage a chronic, life-threatening auto-immune disease.  I never had a diabetes co-manager until I met my husband.

Every night, before I go to bed, he asks me if I have enough juice and fruit snacks to get through the night if I were to wake up with a low blood sugar.  If the answer is no, he gets the supply and puts it on my bedside table before I go to sleep.  If I wake up low, I won’t have to get out of bed and walk to the kitchen to get a snack.

When we leave the house, he always asks me if I have my glucose meter and fruit snacks.  If I am wearing a dress or don’t have room in my purse, he carries all my diabetes equipment for me.  We recently skied in Colorado, and every day he packed a backpack full of diabetes essentials, and skied unbalanced with a heavy backpack each day!

I have a telltale for my lows, where I start coughing.  He always calls out to me from wherever he is in our house, asking if I am okay.

Now that I am pregnant, I have become even more grateful, if that is possible.  He wakes up at 6 AM on the weekends and entertains our dog so I can sleep in.  He makes dinner for both of us and tells me how many carbohydrates are on my plate when he hands it to me to make it easier for me to bolus my insulin.  He then separates out the leftovers into carbohydrate-friendly portions for lunches.  Since I cannot figure out how to give insulin for pizza (still after almost 19 years!), I have given it up during pregnancy (not worth the risk) and so has he.  We both love pizza and are counting down the days until this baby is born!

My husband has helped me insert my continuous glucose monitor when I put it on my dominant arm – which is no easy feat!  He recently learned how, and did an entire insulin pump site change for me, as I had read that I soon may get so big I won’t be able to twist my arms to insert on the best spots.

He puts up with the emotional roller coaster of high and low blood sugars, and will wait to eat a meal with me if I have an unruly blood sugar that I’m waiting on to come down – even if we are both starving!

He wakes up to countless CGM alarms every night when I haven’t yet awoke to clear the alarm, and I have never once heard him complain about me turning on a very bright light to test my blood sugar in the middle of the night (nowadays it’s multiple times a night).

When we visit relatives and they try to tell me what I can and cannot eat, he is quick to come to my rescue and educate them – something I often feel too embarrassed or ashamed to do myself.  I believe these feelings come from childhood where I was teased for being different or weird because of my diabetes.

My husband spent an entire Saturday clearing our backyard so we could plant a Scarlett oak tree and a lilac bush – two plants I got to represent the children we lost in miscarriages these past 6 months (Miscarriage and Type 1 Diabetes).  The plants are already growing leaves, as I water them each day.

I find myself constantly being grateful for my husband’s efforts and when I’m really on an emotional roller coaster from high and low blood sugars apologizing for my diabetes.  My husband never asked for this, for life to be this hard, and I remind him of that from time to time- to which he says neither did I.   And that’s love.

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