When it comes to diabetes, we don’t let it define us, but there is no denying that it does affect several aspects of our lives and the lives of those closest to us.
So, we spoke to Dean, Sally’s husband who has shared some of his insights into Sally’s diabetes and advice that you’ll hopefully find useful.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and Sally? What sort of lifestyle do you have/ what sort of things do you enjoy doing?
Sally and I have been together for 12 years. We met through work and got married in 2017.
Before I met Sally, I didn’t know anything about diabetes, and just thought it was a condition where someone couldn’t eat sugar and that they had to have injections.
Sally and I have a very social calendar and love nothing more than to meet with friends and family at the weekend for dinners and socials. We also have two little dogs which we adore, and we spend our days out walking them.
Prior to Covid-19 we were also keen travellers and looked forward to some fantastic holiday experiences every year!
What worries you most about Sally’s diabetes?
Sally manages her diabetes very well, however, there was a period last year where she struggled with her control and experienced some very serious hypos.
At that time, I came home to find Sally passed out in the kitchen and one night I had to call an ambulance as I could not bring her round. This was really scary.
Like I say, with the help of our excellent diabetes team Sally is back under control, but it is always in the back of my mind and I wonder throughout the day (and night) if she is ok.
When she was having the bad patch, she would hypo in her sleep and profusely sweat. So, I would assist and bring her round, and when she was well enough, strip and make the bed in the middle of the night and try to get back to sleep, therefore I would be tired for work the next day.
I often struggle still with my sleep because of Sally’s diabetes. Even now, I often wake up and touch her arm whilst she is asleep to see if she is sweating! Fortunately, now that she has the Libre device, I can scan her whilst she is asleep which is brilliant although I always need to make a note which arm, she has the sensor on!
How do you support Sally with her diabetes?
That is a really hard question to answer! Sally would probably say I give her loads of support around her diabetes. Obviously, I am here if she needs me, and I often reach for a hypo stop if needed.
I try to support her emotionally. Sally will often say to me ‘I wish I could just have a day off from diabetes’, but diabetes is a part of Sally’s life and she is part of my life so the two go together.
In the early days, I took time out to learn about the condition and when Sally was going through the bad patch, I would attend her medical appointments with her to give her support that she needed.
Do you receive any support yourself?
If I need it. Our friends, family and work are always there to support us. Sally’s diabetes is so well controlled it’s not as often, anymore, that it seriously affects us.
What advice can you give to other people who are supporting loved ones with diabetes?
Treat them the same as you would any other person, as diabetes doesn’t define them, sometimes you need to remind them of that as well.
And, listen when they are having a bad day, don’t judge, you will never know what it’s like to have diabetes, so don’t pretend you do. Don’t question what they eat! Make diabetes a part of your life and embrace it don’t fight against it.
Support them to in finding the tools to best manage the condition, whether it be financial, researching or helping them find the right mindset, get involved.
Over the years Sally has taken part in fitness challenges and I always encourage her, and her enthusiasm.
Finally, always tell them you love them, that’s the most important thing!!
Remember, the charity is here to support those with diabetes and their friends and family! It’s important to speak to others and seek support when you need it.
We have a growing community that is happy to help or lend a listening ear, so head to our Facebook page – we’re all in this together.