November is Diabetes Awareness Month. This was an excellent opportunity for the diabetes community to educate the public about the different types of diabetes. And in my own little world, there is a sense of renewal developing in both my marriage and my relationship with diabetes. Because we both have diabetes, the rekindling of the two goes hand-in-hand.
For the past twelve years, Greg has been an important fixture in my life. Through rough periods of my seasonal depression, he has stayed by my side. Likewise, I have supported him through the rough spots of type 1 diabetes. When we had to make the transition to a household with two people with diabetes, it seemed almost too easy thanks to his knowledge and sense of humor.
However, neither of us can deny that this year has tested our relationship with diabetes and my health. I've been so deeply focused on work commitments that I didn't notice how much I was neglecting my husband or my diabetes care.
Emotional intimacy was lost, followed closely behind with physical intimacy.. My priorities had been day job, writing, household chores, and Greg – in that order. And as happened often this year, I became too tired by the time I got around to him each day. Some of this was attributed to working under stressful conditions; some was a result of not taking care of myself to avoid hyperglycemia.
I lost diabetes control, and then I lost interest in diabetes care. April saw me at my highest A1C level ever. I got that under control with little effort by September, but all the work stress began a destructive cycle of emotional eating. Seasonal depression set in with a fury, no thanks to stress, poor eating, and lack of exercise.
It all came to a head a couple weeks ago with the revelation that I wasn't the only one feeling down and out. Greg was feeling lost and alone. From that day forward, I pledged to treat my body better and to make my husband a priority again.
Even though it may not be optimal for those with whom I work, I have been adhering to a strict work schedule. If questioned, I will explain I need to be available for my husband, too. Also, I have been making an effort to get out and take walks in the middle of the workday. Even if it only amounts to twenty minutes a day, it is better than nothing. As far as stress eating, I still need to work on that.
To enhance the changes that we're slowly making at home, we will be spending the long Thanksgiving weekend in the Colorado mountains. There will be no obligations to anyone but each other.
That is not to say that we'll sit and stare at each other all weekend. I have been aching to go snowshoeing for a long time, so I'll take a morning to do that while Greg goes downhill skiing for the first time in a decade. In that sense, we will be treating our bodies well with physical activity.
Rough patches do hit every relationship – we know that. When diabetes care hits a rough patch, it makes it all that much worse. This disease isn't easy on the body or on the relationship with diabetes. That is what I want people to know this Diabetes Awareness Month.
Disclaimer dLife's Daily Living columnists are not medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team to find out what will work best for you.
Last Modified Date: April 02, 2013
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dLife's Sex & Intimacy Content is contributed & moderated by
Janis Roszler MSFT, RD, CDE, LDN
Janis Roszler, MSFT, RD, CDE, LD/N is the American Association of Diabetes Educators' 2008-2009 Diabetes Educator of the Year. She is a certified diabetes educator, marriage and family therapist, and registered dietitian. Her books include Sex and Diabetes (ADA) Diabetes on your OWN Terms (Marlowe & Co) and The Secrets of Living and Loving with Diabetes (Surrey books).
Donna Rice MSW, BSN, RN, CDE
Donna Rice MBA,RN,CDE,FAADE is the 2007 Past President of the American Association of Diabetes Educators. She is a registered nurse, diabetes educator and has developed numerous educational programs on sexual health and wellness. She is the co-author of Sex and Diabetes (ADA) and Diabetes and Erectile Dysfunction - A Quick ‘n' Easy Handbook For the Diabetes Educator (Bella Vita). Her newest publication is a children's book, The Magic is Me (Searchlight Press).