Most mornings when I wake up, I’ve gotten a full night’s sleep (or a wiggly five-year-old with his feet in my face). Most mornings my husband has already given himself three shots of insulin in his side abdomen and possibly experienced out-of-body experiences, and numbing of his feet. Experiences only he and others with Type I diabetes can understand. I sleep next to a fighter. I sleep next to a man that battles day
in and day out for his life. I don’t recognize his silent fight nearly enough, and it’s time that I do. This roller coaster is one that he didn’t choose to ride. One that is never-ending. I’ve chosen to ride with him for some of it, and at other times get off to watch him from below. This is a ride that he can’t ride alone. The hills, drops, loops, and turns can be scary, tiring, and emotional, and he needs someone to uncover his eyes and experience it with him.
I didn’t know much of anything when it came to Type I diabetes. When Josh was diagnosed we were days away from celebrating our first wedding anniversary. He experienced all of the telling signs: extreme hunger and thirst, fatigue, blurry vision, weight loss, and more. He was rushed to the ER when his blood sugar was in the 500s. It didn’t take long for the doctor to diagnose him with Type 1 diabetes. As we sat in the ER, we were in shock. What did this mean? It’s incurable? Insulin injections for the rest of his life? We were immediately sent to the Diabetes Center where we took a crash course in Type 1 for 3+ hours. We left with insulin pens, a glucose monitor, needles, a list of foods, and shocked souls. I couldn’t sleep that night. I was so scared. So FREAKING scared. I cried myself to sleep and asked God, “Why him?!” I cringed every time I saw him stab himself with a needle. Not just once a day. Four to six times a day.
Fast forward 6 years later and it’s just a normal part of his day. Fast forward 6 years later and I had hopped off that roller coaster more times than I’d like to admit, not recognizing his injections, his high blood sugars, his low blood sugars and I had even stopped carrying candy and other sugars in my purse in case of emergency. What had happened? Kids. I had shifted my support and comforting to our two boys and forgotten about his. It wasn’t until the other day actually that it hit me. It was like the roller coaster pulled into the loading station and was brought to a sudden halt, and I got whiplash. One evening before dinner, Josh was taking his insulin as usual. I glanced over and saw his hand covered in blood and him leaning over in silent pain, cringing. He had hit a nerve and blood had started squirting out. His shirt was lifted, and his stomach was exposed. Bruises. Black and brown bruises. 6 years came and went, and I had forgotten about his daily fight. I hadn’t thought about the 13,140 times he had poked the side of his body to keep himself alive.
What a wake-up call and “Come-to-Jesus” moment I had experienced. We love, comfort, support, and encourage our kids every day. My husband was sometimes not receiving any of that. The one person that needs the love, comfort, support, and encouragement from all of us, EVERYDAY. We are all fighting our own battles, some silently and some for all to see. Whatever battle we are fighting, we cannot and should not do it alone. I am making a promise to myself and to my husband. A promise to be a better wife and loving supporter alongside him through his diabetes.
For More Information:
Friends and Family Guide to Supporting Loved Ones with Type 1 Diabetes:
To learn more about Type I Diabetes, visit the American Diabetes Association website
What a great article! Very well written Amy. I also live on the Diebettic roller coaster with my husband, only he found out before I met him. We have almost lost him several times due to highs & lows and diabetic ketoacidosis (coma). My oldest son had too grow up too quickly at times, while watching his father drop so low, he fell to the ground, and running for help to save his dad. It’s very scary, but ever day he is healthy is a blessing!?
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