Diabetes is a disease that affects your life 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. It is a constant cycle of watching what you eat, exercising, checking blood sugar, and taking medication. You must also worry about complications, giving special care to your feet, your teeth and gums, and your heart. Sometimes it may even seem as though your doctor’s office is your second home and the staff are your extended family.
There is no vacation from the stress of managing diabetes. If you take a trip to Bermuda, your diabetes supplies get packed somewhere between the suntan lotion and flip-flops. If you spend the day lounging by the poolside, you still need to adhere to your food and medication schedule. There is no “mental break” for the overwhelmed and frustrated diabetic.
The need for constant concern and attention to detail makes a diabetic’s support system so valuable. One often finds that the greatest source of strength comes from a spouse, parent, child, partner or friend. Just knowing that someone is there to listen and care helps to ease the burden of diabetes. When a diabetic begins to feel tired or depressed, a loved one can say a few encouraging words and make the situation seem manageable again. It is essential to have a strong support system. These are the people a diabetic can lean on when things go poorly and celebrate with when things go right. There are so many ups and downs with diabetes, but with a great support system the downs don’t seem quite so low and the ups seem twice as high!
I am a diabetic who is fortunate to have an extensive support system of family and friends. The “all-star” or “MVP” on my team is my husband. Through everything, he has been the greatest supporter, encourager, motivator, listener and friend. We know that diabetes is a disease we share, through the ups and the downs. He reminds me every day that I am stronger than this disease. My husband has been my greatest source of inspiration.
There is no reason to face diabetes alone. Talk to a loved one and share your hopes and your fears about the disease. If you don’t feel close enough with anyone to talk about your diabetes, find a local support group, an Internet support group, or a counselor to share your feelings with. Diabetes is an emotional disease and you deserve the best support network you can create for yourself. At the end of every day, feel proud of yourself for all of the ways you are overcoming the challenges of diabetes!