Diabetes Together by Brian Butler

In team sports like football, baseball or basketball or in individual sports like tennis, boxing or golf, every athlete depends on coaches and trainers to support them to reach their fullest potential.

Living with diabetes is no different. We need the support of our healthcare team and an important member of that team for me is my wife, Sheila, who is my care partner.  She shares my good days as well as my bad days. Sheila understands my goals for managing my diabetes and encourages me when my blood sugar numbers are not where I would like them to be.

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I was diagnosed with diabetes over 25 years ago and together Sheila and I began our diabetes journey learning what worked best for me. Together we shopped for groceries, read food labels and began understanding the importance of portion control.

Traveling has been a major part of my life, usually with no problem. However recently returning home from a trip we had a short layover and upon de-boarding the plane, I found myself experiencing a low blood sugar.  Luckily for me, my care partner was by my side. Sheila recognized something was off in my walking gait and I was not responding as I normally would. Sheila sat me down to test and then treat my low blood sugar.  Knowing I was not yet 100% and our connecting flight was to begin boarding within the next 45 minutes, Sheila contacted the airlines and was able to change our flight to a later time when she felt more comfortable with us flying.

The importance of having a care partner cannot be stressed enough. Without Sheila, I’m sure the outcome of this trip would have been totally different.  Care partners are an important part of your team. If you do not currently have a care partner, I encourage you to seek one out. A care partner can be a spouse, friend, family member or anyone you feel comfortable sharing your diabetes journey with.

Looking back, when Sheila and I returned home on the later flight, it dawned on why even though she got us a later flight she was adamant about us getting home that same day. It was the next day that we renewed our wedding vows, and I must say after 36 years, we both looked at each other and said lovingly, “I Still Do”.

Is living with diabetes easy for us? No, but I honestly believe that together with my care partner, we are managing my diabetes. It is possible for us to continue to take steps towards better health outcomes so tell the coach to put you back in the game and get out there and enjoy your life.

It’s not the time you put in your life that makes a difference, it’s the life that you put in your time.

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