It’s really a package deal, diabetes and me. It’s not a “love me, love my diabetes” type of situation, because diabetes isn’t exactly the most lovable disease. But the truth that I have to deal with every single day is that I have an extremely demanding, 24-7 disease that puts me at risk for things later in life that aren’t so pleasant. It also means I have to do a lot to make sure those things don’t happen every day. Diabetes isn’t just something I have, it’s the way I live. And that means that anyone I choose to share my life with as a partner will, by default, share this disease too. It’s not that I expect someone to take care of me. It’s that when you cook dinner together most nights of the week, carbs might become an issue. It’s the fact that when you share a bed with someone, the DexCom will wake them up to. It’s the reality that if I ever need laser surgery on my retinopathy, that person will be the one that drives me to the doctor’s appointment. It’s the fact there will be times in my life when I need to make tough financial decisions in order to take care the best care of my health. Diabetes doesn’t define me, but it is a big part of how I live my life.
Over the years, my boyfriends have always tolerated my diabetes, for lack of a better way to put it. It never bothered any of them, but it was always something I “took care of” separately, apart from our lives together. But when I met Jacob, I knew those days were over. Jacob lives diabetes with me. From our first date, which was interrupted by a low blood sugar just minutes in, Jacob has always accepted diabetes as part of me. And in fact, from the beginning, it was a part of me that he admired and marveled at. Although I was embarrassed early on about my CGM and pump, he told me he loved those little plastic parts of me because they kept the woman he loves alive every day. As we got to know each other, and we both revealed more about ourselves and became more comfortable, it became clear that Jacob never saw diabetes as a fault or a burden. It was just something I happen to have.
Jacob isn’t just “supportive” with my diabetes – he actively lives it with me. The way we cook, our dedication to exercise, my frustrations that ultimately end up being poured into his ear at the end of the day; diabetes is woven into our relationship just as the other facets of our personalities are. It’s the way he waits when we sit down to dinner for me to test and dose my Symlin before he starts eating. It’s the way he gently nudges me awake when I’m ignoring my DexCom in the middle of the night. It’s the hugs and kisses he provides when a bad blood sugar day drives me to tears or tantrums. It’s the fact that he never asks “should you eat that?” or judges me when I treat a low with chocolate instead of a glucose tablet. It’s him never once doubting that we would spend the rest of our lives together, have kids together and live a long and happy life together. Truly, he loves all of me, and proves that in his actions every day of our life together.
So on Saturday, when at the starting line of the 30 mile leg of the Tour de Cure I found him in front of me on bended knee, asking for my hand in marriage, I had already known my answer in my heart for years. Proposing at the Tour was an expression of his commitment to loving me and diabetes, one in the same, without holding back and without fear. I hope our story shows others that living well with diabetes can include being in love, getting married, and having a family if that’s what you want.
So as I looked at my best friend there in front of my, at a man who had always accepted me for exactly who I was, I didn’t even have to think before giving my answer. I said to him, with all my heart, yes.