Loving my husband through his diabetes journey

minute read
September 29, 2022
An Indian bride wearing red bridal churas (bangles), her hands covered in mendhi.
Note: Image for illustration only. It does not show the author of this story.

My husband was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes 10 days before our wedding.

Those days were already overwhelming for both of us. We were going through a roller coaster of emotions, and amidst all that, we discovered he was suffering from diabetes. His blood sugar levels were extremely high, and over the past 3 years he’d gained significant weight which was unhealthy.

At first, we were blown out and couldn't think of what to do next. We had many questions in our minds and didn’t know what would happen next. We thought of diabetes as something life-threatening. Little did we know it’s actually a chronic health condition that can be easily managed with slight adjustments to one's lifestyle.

The acceptance and learning stage

The crucial part was to accept the facts in front of us and take them seriously, so we could take the necessary actions in response.

My husband was very stressed out. He was constantly anxious and depressed, which took a further toll on his already worsening condition.

To help him better understand the situation at hand, I had to convince him that despite it being incurable we could manage it with care and minor lifestyle changes. It would mean adjusting his sleep routine, getting active and exercising, eating only healthy foods, and quitting smoking.

We also looked into the root causes of his type 2 diabetes. Unhealthy weight gain, genetics (his family has a history of diabetes), and an inactive lifestyle were the top causes we found.

With this information and a plan in mind, we now had a clear idea of what we needed to do.

Lifestyle changes

It’s not easy to make sudden lifestyle changes, but there's no choice when it comes to one's health. Medicines work better when combined with a healthy lifestyle.

My role as a wife was to let him know that he wouldn’t be alone on this long journey and that I'd be with him no matter what. And to help him make those changes, I had to be even more willing than he was.

How did I do that?

I adopted the same lifestyle changes for myself as well. This made it easier for him because he didn't feel alone or different. Whenever he was down I had to be his powerhouse.

Eating habits and diet control

As soon as we got married, I started managing his daily menu.

My husband is a foodie. It’s his first love, and he was so concerned he’d have to abandon all his tasty snacks and dishes.

Luckily, the internet is loaded with thousands of recipes suitable for diabetics. Diving online, I learned to cook new dishes which were appetising and rich in nutrients yet low in fat and calories. For every unhealthy craving, I found an alternative healthy food. Portion control was also important.

It seemed so hard at the beginning, but now it’s a part of our everyday life and it’s simple.

Walking and exercising regularly

Diabetes often made my husband feel very tired, and even after resting he used to feel low on energy. So we started with 8-10 minutes of brisk walking daily. And I always went with him, so that it felt more like an activity for us rather than a chore for his health.

Sometimes, when he was demotivated, I pretended that I needed to go for a walk. And voila! He’d instantly get up and join me.

Now, a morning walk has become part of our daily routine.

Sleep routine

My husband has a hectic work schedule, but we still made sure he got proper sleep and didn't overwork himself.

Too little sleep can increase insulin resistance. This, in turn, makes you hungrier the next day and reduces how full you feel after eating.

By making sure my husband slept well, we could help keep his diabetes management on track.

Quitting smoking

Nicotine can wreak havoc with your blood sugar levels and decrease your body’s sensitivity to insulin. If you keep smoking, it makes it much harder to manage your diabetes.

I thought getting my husband to quit smoking would be the biggest challenge. But fortunately, he was fully onboard and willingly gave up smoking himself.

Additional tips

As well as these changes to our lifestyle, I’ve also learned these other important things that can make managing your diabetes easier:

  • Keep monitoring your sugar levels throughout the day.
  • Never miss your doctor’s appointment.
  • Don't miss or skip your medications.
  • For families or spouses, it’s vital you keep your diabetes champ motivated – Sometimes they might feel low and stressed out. You need to keep them going, telling them they’re doing their best and that you’re proud of them.
  • Be patient – Everything takes time. The results will eventually show.
  • Higher sugar levels affect moods – If they’re behaving cranky, annoyed, or different, don't blame yourself or them. Just keep loving them.

Final thoughts

There will be a lot of ups and downs in this journey. You just have to be resilient and stick to your plan. The lifestyle changes you will make today will be beneficial in the long run. So keep going, stay positive, and don't give up.

Graphic of a female profile picture.
Rabia Qaiser
Editor's note: The opinions and experiences reflected in stories from the diabetic community belong to the authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of InDiabetes.

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