Diabetes affects the whole family, whether you’re a parent, sibling, child, grandchild or spouse. This week on the blog, we’ll be featuring stories about loving and caring for someone with diabetes.
Bryan with their three children in Mexico Beach, Fla.
Name: Elizabeth Dodds
Location: West Columbia, Texas
I love someone with diabetes! My husband of almost 17 years, Bryan, has type 1.
Bryan was diagnosed at 18 (he’s now 36). He was in the Army at the time, just completing boot camp. This obviously didn’t work in his favor, and he was sent home within a few weeks—just shy of the length of time needed to be recognized as a veteran.
We have three beautiful children: Tyler is almost 16, Rhys is 13 and Griffin is 8. Bryan’s diabetes is as much a part of our marriage as our children. It is constant worry, fear and expense to take care of a loved one with diabetes. But we stick together through it all.
I am constantly on alert, watching for signs of his lows and highs. I’m afraid to go out of town without my husband because his blood glucose could drop in the middle of the night, which has happened way too many times to count.
Our children don’t know what it’s like for their dad NOT to have diabetes. They have had to learn about calling for help if I’m not home and something happens to their dad. They have seen him check his blood glucose countless times, and sometimes they even volunteer to give him shots “just for fun.” I hope this experience means they are growing up as compassionate human beings—people who just happen to think needles are no big deal.
As frustrating as it is for us, I must remember that Bryan has to deal with the effects of the disease every minute of every day. He amazes me with his strong work ethic, always working hard for our family. And I love his resilience, always bouncing back when diabetes knocks him down.
Bryan is not just his diabetes. He is so much more, and he never lets diabetes get in the way of being an active father. He coaches our sons and daughter in baseball and soccer, plays countless games of backyard ball, never misses a school program or birthday party (and we can’t forget all the tea parties he’s hosted with our daughter!). We take road trips whenever we can and love spending time together as a family. We especially love finding fun local places to eat on the road and any beach with white sand.
My hope, wish and prayer for Bryan is that there will be a breakthrough in diabetes research. That someday he won’t have to worry about lows or highs. My wish is always to grow old with the love of my life and enjoy our family together.
If diabetes is in your family, keep it on your radar at all times but try to not make it the center of your life. Don’t be afraid to reach out to others for help and advice. And do your research! If I have a question about diabetes, I look it up. I research facts, news, other people’s stories that I can relate to.
Communication with your loved one is key. Hiding your fears or questions doesn’t help any situation. Neither does hiding blood glucose results. Don’t wait until you’re in the doctor’s office to discuss diabetes issues with each other.