Saturday, May 19, 2012

More You Should Know About Diabetes

Today's Diabetes Blog Week Prompt:  Let’s borrow a topic from a #dsma chat held last September.  The tweet asked “What is one thing you would tell someone that doesn’t have diabetes about living with diabetes?”.  Let’s do a little advocating and post what we wish people knew about diabetes.  Have more than one thing you wish people knew?  Go ahead and tell us everything.

I wrote on this topic a couple of years ago (you can read that here), so I should feel like I have flushed out all of my soap box points, but there is always room for more understanding when it comes to a chronic disease that millions of people live with every day.  So for today I want to highlight those who aren't always noticed for their bravery.  For every PWD there are dozens of PWLPWD behind the scenes.

There are PWD (People With Diabetes) and then there are PWLPWD (People Who Love People With Diabetes).  There isn't enough praise and understanding offered to this group of folks.  Even though they aren't the ones who must endure constant blood testing, injections or pump sites, high and low blood sugars, CGM alarms, complications, and all the numerous punches this diabetes monster dishes out, they feel the effects of diabetes in emotional and very personal ways.  And in some ways, the indirect line of fire from diabetes is pretty harrowing.
My husband might not remember our life together without diabetes but I do.  We had seven years of diabetes-free marital bliss before it all hit the fan.  Now he patiently gets orange juice in the middle of the night, wakes me when I don't hear the CGM alarm, cheers for any small diabetes conquering action I advertise, makes we laugh when we have to suspend yet another activity because my blood sugar is not cooperating, and silently worries about what this disease has and will rob from him, from us, from our family.
No pump on that hip, only a sweet baby Ben - the carefree days before diabetes.  (Ahhh . . . 80s fashions!)

The people who support, love, and care for PWD are the unsung heroes.  They take on this disease when they don't have to.  They are the moms and dads who stay awake all night watching their little one who is a newly diagnosed PWD, afraid to go to sleep because a blood sugar low isn't something a two-year-old can articulate and deal with.  They are the children who know how to dial 911 as toddlers just in case their dad with diabetes is incoherent on the floor.  Or they are the older children who know how to give a glucagon injection if their mom is unresponsive and in need of a major sugar intervention.  My hope is that others will reach out to the caregivers and recognize them once in awhile.  Give them a pat on the back or a listening ear, not in the way that you feel sorry for them, but in the way that you acknowledge their sacrifices and their part in helping life be "normal" for the PWD in their life.

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