The lights are low, half a glass of wine sits on the end table, the door is locked, and the mood is right. The window is slightly open, and a gentle breeze flows through the bedroom. After a long day, getting in the groove with the one you love seems like the best way to take all the stress away…
“MOM!!! I’M LOW!!!”
Nothing says ROMANCE like your kid’s low blood sugar.
Or a pump that runs low on insulin.
Let’s face it…sometimes diabetes REALLY…ehum…intrudes. I mean, there you are just going about your life, and it falls out of the sky: Your child has type 1 diabetes.
When you’re trying to sleep, but can’t stop replaying blood sugar patterns in your mind, when your financial goals are altered in order to pay for diabetes supplies, when you’re wandering from one day to the next feeling distracted by the science of balancing exercise, carb counts, and insulin…
Intruder! Intruder! Intruder!
So, perhaps it should come as no surprise that the ol’ D has meddled a bit in our marriage. It started subtly. We were planning a date night, but got hung up on finding a sitter who could manage diabetes in a toddler.
We were left to wonder if we’d ever go on a date again?
While friends were boasting about weekend getaways, and trying new restaurants; we were holding our breath to see if the pizza bolus from dinner would wreak havoc on a good night’s rest. Household tasks went from dividing up laundry and dishes to finger pricks and site changes. A fridge full of insulin became more important than a carton full of milk. Conversations became centered around diabetes management decisions, and we grieved the loss of “normalcy” as we knew it. Times of illness, the transition to school, learning how to juggle celebrations, managing our other children’s needs, prescription, pharmacy, and insurance hassles…it’s all added stress to the already stressful task of raising a family.
About two years into the journey of our daughter’s diabetes diagnosis, we faced the reality that we’d need to embrace a change of attitude if we were going to make it the long haul with our relationship. Every day requires intentional effort to avoid the “diabetes trap”. We’ve had to fill our thoughts with gratitude for what we DO have, instead of frustration over what we don’t. We cannot allow blood sugar numbers to set the tone in our home, and we cannot dwell on the things we cannot change.
We’re a work in progress. As his wife, I’ve had to learn not to take things personally, and recognize that he’s working hard to provide for our family’s needs. As my husband, he’s had to accept that there will be emotional moments when I’m feeling defeated. Individually we’ve had to make our marriage a higher priority than anything else – diabetes included. Together, we must find the rhythm that keeps our family afloat.
Diabetes has interrupted our life. It’s challenged our relationship. It’s been the root of more than one heated conversation, and it’s caused moments of division when we don’t agree.
But it’s also forced us to work as a team. It’s helped us prioritize material things, put our lives into perspective, and see the world from a different point of view.