After Andy was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, I went into overdrive. I spent hours in the kitchen testing healthy recipes he probably didn’t like. I spent only slightly less time online trying to find answers to all of our questions: What did this diagnosis really mean for the life we were currently living? Seriously—we have to give up all fun food? That can’t be right. How do I count carbohydrates and make a “balanced” meal?
On the other spectrum I was trying to support Andy and the emotional roller coaster he was on. I started to get angry. If I was Andy’s support, who was mine? My emotions were on the same stomach-jolting ride as his, and I was trying to process all of my own feelings—concern, worry, anxiety, anger, frustration—while trying not to take his emotional expressions too personally.
How was I supposed to act/react/behave when the love of my life, my partner in crime, my very best friend, was having such a difficult time? I had to watch that my concern and fear didn’t turn into nagging (I wasn’t always successful). To be perfectly honest, it was through God’s grace alone that we made it through those first weeks.
I started to ask myself: What good was spending 4–5 hours a night in the kitchen preparing healthy food, if I didn’t have the energy to have a real conversation at the end? At what point does the diagnosis take over a relationship, and at what point do you take the relationship—and your own sanity—back?
All I can say is it took time, a lot of patience, and a willingness to forgive Andy’s missteps as well as my own.
During those first 4 months, I made some realizations:
- Andy is an adult who understands the implications of his health. What he eats, and when/how much he exercises is between him and his body. I can’t control everything—just take care of the little things. A hug, smile, and a meal made with love were sometimes all that I could do to help him on his journey.
- It’s okay to be angry, frustrated, worried, afraid—Type 2 is a scary disease. Just don’t take your emotions out on the other person. They’re probably feeling the exact same way, and don’t need it coming from you, too.
I learned that bad days will happen more often than not. Blood sugar will get high (and low), and you just have to roll with the punches. In order to survive, you have to pull together and draw towards God. You can’t do it alone. Lean on the other person when you have to, and carry them as you can. Believe it or not, you will come out on the other end, and your relationship may even be stronger for it.