This past April I joined my wif,e Shannon, during the DiabetesSisters Weekend for Women Conference in Washington D.C. and I participated in the Partners Perspective Program during the conference. This was my first real opportunity to get a full understanding of what my wife has dealt with over the last 24+ years as a type-1 diabetic. It’s not that I hadn’t tried to understand her day to day dealings with this disease but this conference and the Partners Perspective group gave me an opportunity to learn from other partners their experiences and struggles as well. It was an opportunity to open up and discuss about what we could do better or how to approach things differently when our significant others maybe struggling with a low or a high.
One of my favorite sessions during our trip was when all the couples met together. We shared all of our situations and learned that many of us have dealt with similar issues in our relationships. I think this was very important because I believe sometimes you may feel you are the only ones having to deal with the struggles that diabetes can present a couple. It was refreshing for all of us that we are now in this together!
The partners that I got to meet really opened up and shared some of their experiences and knowledge base that are now becoming a vital part of how I treat and approach my wife when she has to cope with the ups and downs (no pun intended!) of her disease. Now I am sure I will still make mistakes and need to work on how I handle my important part in our relationship, but the tools and knowledge I have gained from the other partners will help me become a better supporter and stronger advocate for my wife and others that have to deal with the terrible disease every day.
I believe that the Partners Perspective is a great experience for anyone who is in a relationship with a diabetic. It really helps you learn to communicate better, advocate better, and more importantly meet great people who can relate and create lifelong friendships amid a very hard life struggle were all of our support is needed. Thank you so much for letting me add to this blog post and I look forward to my next Weekend for Women Conference and Partners Perspective Program hosted by the DiabetesSisters.
Submitted by Mike Caruso. His wife, Shannon, has lived with diabetes for over 24 years. They reside outside of Boston, Massachusetts.