The Seven-Year Itch
Both insulin-dependent diabetes and relationships have highs and lows.
Editor's Note: While this columnist is no longer writing for dLife.com and we have ceased to update the information contained herein, there is much to be read here that is still applicable to the lives of people with diabetes. If you wish to act on anything you learn here, be sure to consult your doctor first. Please enjoy the column!
March 2009 — Like insulin-dependent diabetes, every relationship has its highs and its lows. Greg and I have certainly not been immune to rough patches here and there, from young long-distance relationship love to winters full of my depression. And once again, here we are standing in another rough patch, only weeks before the seven-year itch wedding anniversary.
There are plenty of other subjects I could mention, but for this purpose, I must stick to how diabetes fits into the picture.
I have made exercise and healthy eating a priority in my life since my type 2 diabetes diagnosis four years ago. I've encouraged the same habits for Greg without many results. Much of this has to do with the anxiety surrounding hypoglycemia ever since his severe episode that led to a seizure, also four years ago.
As we have been working through this bump in our relationship, Greg has begun to seriously consider adding a continuous glucose monitoring system (CGMS) to his diabetes care regimen. He knows they're not foolproof, but he'd like to start lowering his A1C levels back to where they were before the seizure. He feels the only way down safely is with the help of the device, both for food choices and for exercise.
Everyday it seems he is more open to an insulin pump as well. Previously discouraged by being attached to something 24/7, Greg is insulin-dependent and sees advantages to wearing a pump. Being able to use a square bolus feature for food like pizza and hamburgers is tempting; as are the precise amounts of insulin a pump can infuse. For now, however, the game plan is to try out a CGMS through his endocrinologist's office and see how that much technology attachment feels.
Meanwhile, we can't deny that the side effects of the oral medication I take have taken a toll on our relationship from time to time. Because I'm living with an upset stomach half the time while on metformin, I don't feel like being intimate as often as Greg might like. Plus, all that yuck makes me rather cranky, too.
I don't know if that means trying another oral medication or if I can take a big risk going back to diet and exercise only. I've already seen what being off metformin does to my blood sugars when my body just can't handle the side effects – and it isn't pretty. I'm also wary of the newer oral meds and insulin doesn't seem to be an option with my A1C levels. So while Greg looks to technology, I'll be looking for a new solution to control my diabetes as well.
Moving ahead with our lives is so important. You can talk and talk and talk some more about making changes in your life, but until you do, life can become stale. I hope that in six months, I can say we've changed for the better, past all the fears that haunt us and towards a relationship that's stronger than ever.
Read more of Rachel's columns.
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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