Valentine’s Day is a time we think of the loved ones who are there for us—whether they are parents, siblings, friends or a spouse. I think of my wife, Nadia, who from the day we met liked me for who I am.
As Nadia saw it, diabetes was just another part of me. I remember her response when I told her I had diabetes. “So did my grandmother,” she answered easily. Furthermore, she was never uncomfortable with me when I took my insulin injections publicly.
When we were first married, we visited the home of some friends, dining and engaging in a broad discussion on many topics. We found ourselves talking about diabetes. Our hosts asked Nadia if I had developed diabetes after we got married. “No,” she responded, and told them I got diabetes when I was seventeen.
I know they did not intend to sound rude, but their next question was very telling: “You mean you knew he had diabetes, and you married him anyway?”
“Yes,” Nadia answered—and there was a moment of silence that was uncomfortable for us all. I changed the topic, and we got back to talking about something else. After the dinner, we waited to leave their house and walk to our car before we stared at each other in disbelief.
When you are young and dating, the things you look for in a person are very different from what you actually need as a mature adult. Having a spouse who understands my medical condition makes my life a lot easier.
Nadia does not judge my imperfections. After 16 years of marriage and three businesses in the diabetes industry, Nadia just appreciates me more and more. She understands what high and low blood-glucose levels do to my metabolic system—and to my mood!
Perhaps, in the beginning, ignorance was bliss. But over the years, she has learned much about diabetes and considers our union to be a blessing to her health as well. Because type 2 diabetes runs in her family, Nadia is proactive in her own health care and is determined to keep from getting type 2 diabetes herself. Our marriage has put the spotlight on her genetic predisposition. Consequently, she is serious about her diet and exercise program.
Nadia and I are beyond giving chocolates. All I really want this Valentine’s Day is a sweet kiss and to hear the words, “I love you!”
I hope you all can share a special moment with a loved one this Valentine’s Day, be it a partner, parent, child or pet!