September 13, 2010
Last week’s blog about women with diabetes and spouses seemed to ring true with a lot of readers. After I posted it, I had a number of conversations with DiabetesSisters about it. Those conversations along with the interview I recently did on The Diabetes Power Show made me think a little bit deeper about this issue and raise a few more questions for you to consider. First, almost every woman I spoke with who was diagnosed prior to adulthood had felt anxiety about sharing her diabetes diagnosis with the man in her life. They all felt like it would be too much for the man to handle, that it would drive him away, and/or that they (the women with diabetes) were damaged goods as a result of their diabetes. I must admit that I once thought some of those same thoughts. Even though I have always been fairly confident and open about my diabetes, I still thought those ridiculous thoughts! It is really scary to think that someone you love might walk away from you (and stop loving you) when he finds out you have diabetes (a diagnosis in which you had no control over). Despite my concerns-- I was wearing my pump on the waistband on the outside of my clothes when I met my husband. Ironically, my husband later told me that he thought my pump was a “pager” when we first met. (Do I sound really old now? Some of you are probably asking “what’s a pager?”) He had never known anyone with diabetes and didn’t really know what it was, but he listened intently when I explained the disease to him…It didn’t seem to phase him at all and never looked at me differently. Even now, when I have one of those embarrassing low blood sugars that cause me to say or do something totally out of character, his view of me never seems to change. I can tell that he views me as a healthy, resilient, and fierce woman regardless of whether I have diabetes or not. I’m sure there are many other women with diabetes out there who can attest to similar experiences.
For those who have yet to find their mate, take heart that diabetes does not IN ANY WAY make you damaged goods. There is more than enough men who will love you just as you are (diabetes and all). And please be prepared to walk away if a man is not accepting of your diabetes and/or doesn’t see you as a stronger woman as a result of your diabetes.
I mean, think about it. We think all of these horrible thoughts about ourselves as women with diabetes, yet think about what would happen in the reverse situation. If a woman was in love with a man and he told her that he had diabetes, there is very little chance (maybe .01%) that she would walk away from him. Women don’t think that way. In fact, if he were a man with diabetes who ate healthfully, was diligent about checking his blood sugars, worked out, and went to regular appointments with his endocrinologist, he would likely become the very opposite of “damaged goods” in our minds. In fact, that level of dedication to his health would likely make him EVEN MORE attractive in the woman’s eyes. The fact that he could juggle all of that and be successful (and still have time for romance) would be icing on the cake. Wouldn’t it? Why do we do this to ourselves? I think it’s time for us (women with diabetes) to think about our diabetes from the same perspective that we would think about a man with diabetes. Healthy, Fierce, Resilient!
After all, what you think is what you convey to others. You can’t expect someone else to think you are healthy, fierce, and resilient if you don’t think so yourself. If you think you are damaged goods because of your diabetes, it will be reflected in the way you carry yourself, talk about yourself, and the way you take care of yourself.
Put this concept to work:- If you are in a relationship right now, lean over to your spouse and say, “I AM healthy, resilient, and fierce!” Don’t be surprised if you get the following response from him, “I know!” Say it out loud at least once a day.-If you are not in a relationship right now, look at yourself in the mirror every morning and say, “I AM healthy, resilient, and fierce.” It will feel weird and ridiculous at first, but I promise, if you say something enough, you begin to believe it! Just try it…