Selfishness, required

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I can write this post today because I am a little mad at Kevin. Not over anything big. It was his turn to sleep in this morning instead of wake up with our early-rising daughter, so sleep in he did. Too long in my opinion, because by the time he got up I was left with about 20 minutes to get ready for church, which sometimes is enough time, but wasn’t today. I rushed around trying to straighten my unruly hair, complete my standard minimum of 3 outfit changes, and pack up the backpack with child-mesmerizing toys and books that God-willing would give us thirty, maybe forty minutes of church-worthy behavior from said early-rising daughter. This doesn’t sound like much turmoil, I know; but try it after a 6:00a.m weekend wake up followed by getting your 3 year old washed up and dressed as she is losing her mind because she wants to wear a purple dress with hearts that you have never seen in your life.

This scene is not an everyday occurrence.  I mean it’s a lot of days- don’t get me wrong- but I don’t mean to suggest that Kevin is not thoughtful and considerate most of the time. He is. I don’t think I would have married him if he wasn’t. He is thoughtful and considerate beyond giving me enough time to get ready in the mornings. He always gives me the last bite when we are sharing dessert. He fills up my car with gas when it’s on empty and I have coasted home on fumes. He stays with Allie so I can take Pilates, or go for a run, or go out with my girlfriends.

A giving nature like Kevin’s generally works well in relationships. You know, it’s the kind of nature that helps one love a person for better or worse, to surrender getting in the last word even with a killer comeback on the tip of the tongue, to put the needs of another before your own. Being a giver helps a person to be selfless instead of selfish, and this favors love.

For me, this part of love is hard, though: knowing when to give and when to take. In general I think it can be hard to find that balance, and then throw in T1D, and you have a whole new ballgame. Well, maybe not a whole new ballgame, but definitely a curveball. Why, you ask? It would be so therapeutic for me to tell you.

Because sometimes Kevin is irritable and might respond to me shortly. Is he just in a bad mood? Maybe. Is his blood sugar low? I don’t know. But it hurts my feelings anyway, and I don’t know if I should be mad at Kevin or Kevin’s disease.

Because sometimes after a long day of counseling patients at work I don’t want to help Kevin count the carbs in our meal and discuss if we are planning to go for a walk after dinner or not so he can figure out how to properly dose his insulin. I’m annoyed when he asks for my input and I probably sigh, and then this probably hurts Kevin’s feelings, and then I feel like a jerk. Because all he is doing is asking me to help him think through this brainpower-consuming disease, and I should be happy he wants my help and happy that he even wants to manage this disease in the first place. I wish I could direct my sigh at T1D and not Kevin, but I can’t.

Because sometimes when we are getting ready to go out I wish I didn’t have to make room in my cute little non-Mom purse for fruit snacks or glucose tablets in case there is a hypoglycemic event. Kevin can probably sense my irritation as I try to stuff my keys, my i.d., my phone, my lipstick, and concentrated carbohydrate into an unreasonably small space. But I’m not irritated at him, I’m irritated at the disease.

These are remedial “gives” on my part- space in my purse, a little patience here and there, hurt feelings.  I realize that, but they are gives nonetheless. And they are gives to Kevin, but it’s different than what I want to give. I get mad because these are gives that I don’t choose, but gives that are required. I am annoyed that T1D takes my patience. I am irritated that although T1D does not define the man I love, I can’t separate it from him. I want to give him more than my concern for his what mg/dL his blood sugar is, but sometimes I’m overwhelmed with what that requires. I’m worried it crowds out the love, the patience, the understanding that I want to give him instead of have to give him.

Kevin gives a lot to T1D, obviously more than me. A lot of time, a lot of thought, a lot of energy. I wish he didn’t have to. I don’t know if I mean to say that I wish that time and thought and energy was spent on me, but I sure as heck wish he didn’t have to spend it on T1D. But he does, day after day and year after year. And at the same time that I hate it I thank God that he does it because if he didn’t, I wouldn’t be here writing about giving and taking and living and loving.

How do we balance being both selfless and selfish, the giving and the taking, in life, in health, in love?

Type 1 Diabetes: a Part of our Story

If you caught the Golden Globes last night, you know the overarching theme of the night was speaking truth and telling one’s story.  In between watching amazing, strong woman after amazing, strong woman grace the stage, did you catch the Apple Watch commercial?  For the first time (that I’ve noticed) it made T1D a part of their story very publically.  It means so much to me, because T1D is woven into my story, to see a company help normalize a disease that can so often make an individual feel ostracized and alone.  What exciting progress in both health technology and in the human spirit.  See the commercial here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-x8Ik9G5Dg&mnid=seyK8YyoZ-dc_mtid_20925qtb42335_pcrid_243991882682&cid=-slid–&muid=997018c2-7899-48dd-9a2d-acb40634073c&mtid=20925qtb42335&aosid=p238.

Sugar Daddy

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In between seasons of wasting my time watching The Bachelor/Bachelorette, I catch up on other television programs of more appropriate duration, like Black-ish, my new favorite show!  My sister got me hooked on this show and I am so glad she did.  For one, Kevin will watch it with me which is good, and two, it is the perfect blend of humor and heart and often surprisingly educational.  In this episode, Dre (the Dad) is diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.  If you are person with Type 2 or love or support someone with it, you’ll want to check it out!  It’s Season 4, Episode 9 and you can watch on abc.com via your cable provider:  http://abc.go.com/shows/blackish/episode-guide/season-04/9-sugar-daddy.

 

The CGM: so much to love

“There’s so much to love in this undoing.”
-from “Late September” by Barbara Crooker

Fall leaves

Change is funny. For me, it’s mostly hard. The first Reiki master I ever visited told me that change- too much change- seems to disrupt my energy flow. I guess that’s because when I think of change, sad things come to my mind first. Saying goodbye. Relationships ending. Moving away. People dying.

The idea of change is so pervasive this time of year: the days grow shorter; sticky, hot air is replaced with air that is cool and crisp, the leaves turn from green and lush to brown and rustling.  These changes are not bad; in fact, they are beautiful, instinctive, rhythmic. Continue reading

It’s World Diabetes Day!

insulinThank you, thank you, thank you Dr. Frederick Banting for being born (on November 14, 1891) and for working so hard to discover insulin along with your buddies Dr. Best and Marjorie, the dog. I have a lot of thoughts about insulin, but because I’d definitely bore you if I went on with all of them, I’ll just share a few. In a list format. Because I love lists.

1) To use the word “grateful” or “thankful” or anything like that in regard to my feelings about insulin feels like the understatement of the century. Prior to the discovery of insulin, children who were stricken with T1D seldom lived longer than a year after diagnosis. Dr. Banting’s discovery was literally life-giving serum as it replaced the hormone a body with T1D stops producing. It was live-saving in 1922, and it is still life-saving today, in 2017. How do you come up with a “thank you” for something that literally saves your husband’s life every day? Continue reading

I have never been so excited to talk about alcoholism.

Mary Tyler Moore died on January 25, 2017. She was 80 years old. She lived with Type 1 diabetes for over half her life.

I heard of her passing during my lunch hour and was preoccupied with thoughts about her life and death the rest of the day. She was iconic. She was a trailblazer. She oozed beauty, talent, and grace. But that’s not why she was on my mind.

You see, a few months prior to her death, Kevin came home from work and seemed a little down. My usual “How was your day?” Was replaced with “What’s wrong?” “Nothing,” he responded, “just tired.”

His mood lingered the rest of that evening, so after our daughter went to bed I asked again, “What’s the matter?” “Did you see the JDRF newsletter today?” He replied. I hadn’t. “It talked about how the average life expectancy for a male with T1D is 66 years old. My life is half over.” Continue reading

Strength. Struggle.

Brené Brown is straight up amazing.  I try not to should on people, but you should check out her stuff at brenebrown.com.  As you get sucked in by her impossible-to-resist honesty and brilliance, you’ll find that one of her recurrent themes is the idea of how the human spirit both soars and struggles.  With so much eloquence, she describes how this is not only a normal part of life, but that there is merit in both strength and struggle.  I find application of this concept so incredibly critical in health, in diabetes management, and in life in general.  To give you a taste of what I’m talking about, I’ll share this excerpt from Brené which sits framed on my bathroom windowsill…

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And then this reflection on my own strength and struggle, inspired by her words:

Strength: I know how to treat your hypoglycemia.

Struggle: I am terrified that I won’t react quick enough. I replay your eyes rolling back in your head and your sweaty body against the soaked sheets.

Strength: I can recite nutrition recommendations and make such recommendations materialize on your plate.

Struggle: I can’t control what you do or don’t eat at every meal. I can’t control when you are hungry and when you are not. I can’t control what you like and what you do not like.

Strength: Exercise is good for health. I like exercise. I want to exercise with you.

Struggle: Longing for past capability. Pride. Time.

Strength: I am a nutrition counselor. I can counsel you.

Struggle: I am your wife. You are my husband. You are my best friend.

Strength: I trust in His plan. I know we are right where we are supposed to be.

Struggle: My heart and my brain and my body hold a paralyzing fear of losing you.

 

Strength.  Struggle.

Hi! I’m Caitlin. This is Kevin.

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I find myself in the curious position of being the spouse of a person with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D), a mother, a registered dietitian (RD) and a certified diabetes educator (CDE).

Since I was about 20 years old, I have loved a person with diabetes. Since marrying that person 7-ish years ago, I have lived with a person with diabetes. At work, I counsel patients with diabetes. For not having diabetes, there is a lot of diabetes in my life.

The point of this space is to recognize, accept, and share the ways in which this chronic disease affects Kevin’s life.

And mine.

And our love.

And our fights.

And our daughter’s life.

And the way we eat dinner together.

And the noises that our phones make.

Oh and the way we go for walks.

And also the way we travel, the way I feel when we’re apart, and the way that Kevin drives sometimes…

T1D affects everything. You probably don’t realize this unless you are living it, too. If you are living it like me- not as the person with T1D but the person who loves or supports someone with T1D- and are anything like me, maybe you need a space to get it all out. To be mad about it; to be grateful; to be annoyed; to be happy; to be tired; to be hopeful; to be sad. To be whatever it is that you are, and share it if you’d like.

I am happy to readily disclaim that a lot of what I write and share here will be about T1D, but it won’t all be.  Since most of the education and counseling I do professionally pertains to Type 2 Diabetes, I’ll write about that, too.  I love mindful eating and movement and the human spirit and am fascinated by the way these and so many other things intersect to affect how we as human beings take care of ourselves and each other.  I will share my thought and word about life, love, health, and anything else that needs to come out of this mind and onto the page.

 

Thank you for visiting the site!

Caitlin