By: Meagan Esler
I wanted to interview my husband about my diabetes. He played a huge part in helping me accept my type 1 diabetes and he has never made me feel inferior for having it. Rick and I just celebrated the 15th anniversary since our first date, and since I’ve only had diabetes for 18 years, he’s been there for most of it. He was there during the times I was out of control and in denial, and he’s been there while I work on treating myself right and trying to take good care of myself.
Here are my questions and his responses:
Me: What went through your mind when I told you I had diabetes on our first date?
Rick: Nothing really. It didn’t have any affect in how I looked at you one way or another.
Me: How did you feel watching me act rebellious against my diabetes?
Rick: Sad. You were endangering yourself, and it just made me very sad.
Me: Did my diabetes ever make you question our relationship?
Me: How hard is it being the spouse of someone whose blood sugars can cause seriously unpleasant mood swings?
Rick: There are some difficulties dealing with mood swings and realizing not to personalize everything. You have to find nice ways to be like “Hey, check your blood sugar, Crazy.” [Laughs]
Me: What makes you maddest about diabetes in general?
Rick: The cost. The charges they make people with diabetes pay to stay alive. It should be cheaper.
Me: What makes you saddest about diabetes?
Rick: The long-term affects on the human body.
Me: How do you handle telling others about your wife’s diabetes?
Rick: It’s not that big of a deal, other than having to specify what type 1 diabetes is and that there is no cure.
Me: You have seen me at my all-time lowest points. We’re talking hospitalized after blacking out, blood sugars of over 800, and surgery to fix my frozen shoulder. How can you still be so positive after seeing so much?
Rick: It’s just the trials of life that we have to go through together. We just have to deal with the challenges as they arise, not fight them, but accept them at face value.
Me: You tell me to keep taking care of myself, that someday they’ll cure us. How optimistic are you really about a cure?
Rick: I’m pretty optimistic about it. As far as type 1 goes, I feel someday scientists will figure out how to fix the autoimmune response.
Me: You walked with me at the Step Out Walk to Cure Diabetes, worked behind the scenes during my Tour de Cure bike ride, and participated in JDRF’s “Type One for a Day” text campaign. What made you want to get involved?
Rick: Just to support you. It was good to see you turn the page and start dealing with your diabetes instead of fighting it. I wanted to help you along with this good transition.
Me: What advice would you give someone newly diagnosed?
Rick: It’s not your fault would be the first thing I’d say. I wouldn’t candy coat it at all. You have to deal with this head on and find people to answer questions. It can be very challenging. Sometimes even doctors give bad advice on diabetes.
Me: What advice would you give someone whose spouse has diabetes?
Rick: Be patient. Sometimes they might get a little cranky but they don’t mean it. Try not to respond to that, they might need your help, not someone looking to fight.
Me: Rick, thank you for being patient. Thank you for not being pushy. Thank you for not constantly questioning me or looking over my shoulder. Thank you for your humor and for being a brick house of support and love throughout the years of ups and downs with diabetes. Happy 15th anniversary! I love you and I’m doing the best I can so we can have many, many more!