Diabetes and Life


Diabetes and Life

Dennis and Sarah Buchanan

Soon after meeting my wife, Sarah, I noticed her little pager sticking out of her jeans pocket, though this one was different, because it had a small tube? She ultimately told me what her insulin pump was by telling me about a young girl’s curiosity about it -- the little one was in Sarah’s Girl Scout troop and had asked what it was. I really didn’t think a thing about it other than how incredible it was that the little green box took care of her.

At the time I was clueless about diabetes.

From the beginning of our relationship, I really did not understand the gravity of the daily struggle that Sarah (and other type 1s) go through every day. She just seemed to handle her daily routine with grace. Pulling out her meter and testing before a meal, it was just something she did.  As time went on, I began to see not only the physical struggles but also the psychological struggles that diabetes exerts on a person. From ignorant and uneducated comments from people if Sarah chooses to eat a cupcake to the sometimes misinformed news media, it all adds stresses to the whole.

Over time, I have realized that there is a delicate balance to maintain in being a partner.  Somehow, I exist somewhere between being her guardian and the police and always ready to run for that healing glass of OJ or milk in the middle of the night. But other times, the very best I can do is to just be there for her. That seems to be the most important “support” that there is. I can’t just step in and say “let me fix that for you.” I continue to learn from Sarah’s quest and I educate myself with the latest studies and research, and at times, yes, it’s scary as hell watching someone you love deal with a seemingly out of control blood sugar spike or a low that drops from out of the blue.

Back in 2011, Sarah mentioned DiabetesSisters and asked if I’d be interested in attending the Partner’s Perspective Program at the Weekend for Women Conference with her. She explained there was “going to be stuff for the guys to do.” We attended our first conference in Raleigh in 2012, second in 2013, and we even went to the one in San Francisco in October 2013. Each time, my experience was quite powerful. The camaraderie and understanding associated with knowing that I was not alone in my experience as a partner has been really important to me and my relationship with my wife. Being in the presence of those who are willing to share their experience to ease our learning curve is a true blessing. But in the end, we just live each day to its fullest: living, loving and learning.

Submitted by Dennis Buchanan. His wife, Sarah, has lived with diabetes since 1989.  Dennis and Sarah currently live in Raleigh, NC.