Monday, June 20, 2011
In Sickness and in Health
My anniversary is in two weeks. I will be married for six years.
I have never been married to someone with a chronic illness. I am the person with the autoimmune disease. I am the one I like to feel sorry for on depressing diabetes days.
Today is not that day.
Spouses/significant-others play a role in chronic illness that cannot be defined. They are the caretaker, encourager, sympathizer, activist, and much more. I cannot even put it out there in a way to do it justice. What he means to me is so much more than your traditional relationship.
We were married right out of college. Not ideal in the 21st century, however, medical insurance warranted it. When I stood on the altar that summer day and held the hand of the person who agreed to love and cherish me, in sickness and in health, until death do us part, I did not quite put the ramifications into perspective.
In sickness and in health.
I don’t think of myself as “sick” most of the time. I appear healthy. I look normal (despite the infusion set and the tubing sticking out of my shirt or my pocket).
Normal? What is that?
Since my diagnosis, living with diabetes has changed in many ways. What has not changed is the support J offers me.
He is in it.
To end it.
He introduced me to JDRF. Came to my pump training. Researched insurance. Formed a Walk Team. Rode in Death Valley. Wrote to congress. It goes on and on. He is my biggest advocate.
He gets my meter in the middle of the night when my Dexcom is alerting and I am too low to move. I lift my hand and hand him my finger. He never says a word. Just is there. He makes sure every morning that I am alive as he leaves for work. Even when he is out of town, I get a call. Never misses a day.
Even when my blood sugar was so low that I said things I didn't mean. He was there. When I threw a bowl of crackers at him at 1:00 am because I was desperately trying to gain control. He was there. When he is begged me to drink juice in the middle of the grocery store so I can slip back into coherency. He was there. When I cry because I am so afraid that my children will one day have this disease, he holds me and makes my thoughts disappear.
Having diabetes can be a solo journey, but having someone to lighten the load makes a world of difference. Thank you for everything, especially re-filling my pump cartridge.
Until death do us part.