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A Love Letter to My Husband, From Your Wife With Type 1 Diabetes

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I know this was not the life that you thought it would be. Nowhere in your plan did a wife with a chronic illness come up, I’m sure. I know  sometimes it’s almost like our relationship has been an episode of “Three’s Company.” You, me and good old type 1 diabetes.

When we met, you learned everything you could about type 1 diabetes. You learned the difference between hypo and hyperglycemia. You learned to carb count and how to change out my pump sites. You learned the best restaurants that had low carb options for me. You were introduced to the soul crushing cost of what living with diabetes can mean — yes, it’s that expensive for insulin. You cleared out the butter dish compartment in the refrigerator and deemed it the new home for all of my insulin vials. You learned about the stigma that having diabetes entailed and would become fiercely protective if someone made an ignorant comment. You would point out when the media or TV shows inaccurately made statements about diabetes. (Correct: Type 1 is not caused by eating too much sugar.)

Thank you for easing some of the burden of this disease. Thank you for letting me vent when the minute by minute management of the disease gets to be too much for me. Thank you for getting me something to eat when I have a low, or reminding me to eat after I exercise. You understand that there are so many things for me to keep track of that sometimes I just need help. You never give me a hard time when we travel and I need to take an extra bag just for my diabetes supplies. (I haven’t been able to convince you that I need a separate bag for shoes, but we still have time for that.)  Thank you for carrying Lifesavers in your pockets for me. Thank you for reminding me that we are a team and for getting in the ring with me every day to fight this awful disease.

Thank you for seeing me first and my illness second. You fell in love with my laugh, the way I could hold my own in a debate about pretty much anything and my chicken tortilla soup recipe. The callouses on my fingertips, the scar tissue on my stomach from years of shots and my pump alarming in the middle of the night didn’t matter to you. I matter to you. You have never treated me as less than, broken or damaged. Thank you for reminding me that I am capable of hitting my big goals and chasing my big dreams — diabetes be damned. Thank you for being my biggest cheerleader and fan. Thank you for forgiving me for the mean things I say when I’m having a high blood sugar.

Thank you for keeping me safe.  You sleep with your feet on my calves, and I know it’s so you can feel me start to move in the middle of the night — a sure sign I’m having a low glucose level. I know that those can be scary for you, especially the ones that take me a while to come out of, but you are always so calm and reassuring. Thank you for knowing the signs of my lows almost before I do. Before bed, you tell me “See you in the morning,” and for us it’s not just a way to say goodnight: It’s a promise that I will make it through the night.

Thank you for giving me hope. Hope that eventually there will be a cure for diabetes. Hope that one day I will be able to say I “used” to have type 1.  Hope that I will have many more perfectly imperfect, beautiful and adventure filled years with you. Thank you for loving me through the highs and lows, the finger stick checks and A1Cs, the insulin injections and CGM alarms. I love you.


Follow this journey on the author’s blog.

Originally published: February 6, 2020
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