Friday, November 26, 2010

Thankful Today - Thankful Every Single Day!

Today I am most thankful for my husband, Jim.

Jim and I have been together for 8 years and married for 6 years.  We married when we were both older and started our family WELL into our thirties.  We both had been working and very focused on our careers when we married.  We skipped the hard part that some young couples go through --- struggling to make ends meet, deciding when to start a family and saving for a 1st home.  I point that out because I think those things build a foundation for a marriage -- they build character in a marriage, they help make the marriage and the couple stronger.  Well, that's my opinion anyway!

We were in love, we were happy and we had the world in the palm of our hands.  We loved to travel together, run together, we loved to go to Vegas and spend all night playing craps together, we could talk for hours about anything and everything. Life was easy and life was good --- we were in love and loving life. 

We had 3 children in 5 years and somewhere mixed in with all of the joy of having our children we lost the joy in our marriage.  It happened slowly we really didn't even notice at 1st but our primary focus became our children; not our marriage or each other.   There was nothing terrible going on in our marriage but we had definitely lost that loving feeling and our ability to effectively communicate.

We were plugging along doing ok and then WHAM Nate was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on 9/17/09.

I specifically remember someone sending me an email after Nate's diagnosis that said something like 'don't forget about your marriage during this stressful time'.  Ummm - yea - DELETE.   I was SO not focused on our marriage at that time.  Good hell -- my son was just diagnosed with type 1 diabetes -- he could have DIED!  I felt more like ----> Insulin and I will now be keeping Nate alive - I don't give a crap about my marriage right now!!

Before even a year had passed since Nate's diagnosis, our daughter, Sophie was  diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis with it looking more and more like Crohn's Disease everyday.  Another huge blow to me, to Jim and to our family.  We watched as Sophie suffered and I silently cried every time I thought about my sweet girl living with such a burden.

Looking back it seems like I should have listened to that bit of advice sent via email.  I don't know the statistics but I do now know that having chronically ill  children can doom a marriage.  Our marriage already had issues and then you throw in the stress of caring for not 1 but 2 chronically ill children --- it took a huge toll.

After Nate's diagnosis I went into a  pretty dark place.  I was  sad, frustrated, scared, angry and  really, really tired.  Then Sophie's diagnosis came along just as I was clawing my way out of my dark place and threw me right back down into my black hole.  Jim seemed to be just taking it all in stride and that was really pissing me off! 

Diabetes is a full time jobI took on that job with a passion and pretty much shut Jim out. I often felt angry at Jim for not being more involved but he was traveling all of the time.  I attended all of the classes alone and while busy not sleeping I read every book that I could get my hands on to learn more about diabetes and how to better care for Nate.  I can't really blame Jim for not wanting to dive into Think Like a Pancreas but still I was aggravated.

Diabetes is expensive.  Even before we lost our insurance the cost was expensive.  Now we have no insurance and it is down right life altering.  We have had to make some serious lifestyle changes.

Now we are dealing with no communication, 2 chronic illnesses and financial issues.

With diabetes in our lives the most simple things now seem nearly impossible -- we no longer have the ability to spend a night away from our children, we rarely even spend an evening alone, and a romantic getaway ---- forget about it!

Let's see now we have no communication, 2 chronic illnesses, financial issues, and no time to ourselves.

Jim has been working in Washington DC for over a year now. The stress (and the joy) of raising 3 children on my own along with the lack of sleep and lack of communication with Jim finally took its toll.  In October we both hit a wall.  I literally did not have enough energy in me to fight for my marriage.  I felt exhausted, defeated and overwhelmed.

It all seemed like too much - no communication, 2 chronic illnesses, financial issues, no insurance, no time to ourselves, and I was exhausted, defeated and overwhelmed.

I have to believe that it is not all that uncommon for couples living with chronically ill children to feel the same way.  When Nate was 1st diagnosed we rallied and put up a strong, united front but then  before long we went back to our old ways and had so many more problems coming at us from every direction.  It has not been easy.

I am SO thankful today that back when we hit that wall my husband flew home early from DC and had enough fight left in him for the both of us. He came home and fought for our marriage, for me, for our children, and for our life together.  Our relationship needed much work and we have addressed each issue one by one.  As all marriages are --- ours is a work in progress but it feels so good to know that we are both working for a common goal.  Our family.

Jim has embraced Nate's diabetes and has become very involved in his care.  On his last trip to DC he actually read Think Like a Pancreas along with a few other diabetes books.  We work daily on communicating better and keeping all lines of communication open.  Unfortunately, Nate still has type 1 diabetes and Sophie still has UC/Crohn's therefor we still have no medical insurance but what we do have is each other and 3 wonderful children.  We know that we are blessed to have our children here with us and we enjoy every moment we are given with them. 

Now we share Nate's care and make decisions together.  I'm still Nate's primary pancreas but now Jim is a fabulous co-pancreas!  

So, sometimes a marriage starts out easy and sails along with no problems for a while and the solid foundation building comes along later in the marriage.  I think right now is our foundation building  time.  We are are going to get through all of this and look back one day and be amazed at how we survived it all and know that we are stronger for it.

I look forward to being able to look back  . . .



Cdejulius said...

Okay . . . you made me cry . . .but am so happy that you two are willing to do what it takes to keep your love alive and your family together. That says a lot . . .and we are right here behind you 100%, 24/7 . . .and marriage is hard every day of every year . . .but well worth the investment, especially when you get to be our age . . .

Meri said...

I am thankful that he fought for you. I love that he did that. I love that you are working together. ((HUGS)) Marriage is never easy, but totally worth the effort! :)

amanda said...

love you. happy anniversary.

I'm glad he fought for you, too! Love you, girl! And I am so proud of you and your attitude and determination!

Cindy said...

Oh, I can't so relate to so much of what you've said! When the end of the day comes, it's hard to have any energy or desire left to give time and effort to another person, to your marriage. I'm so glad you and your husband have connected again and are making the effort for each other though. Life takes a toll, but the people we love are why it's all worth the effort!

i love this. And you. I know the struggles and stress that can weigh down a marriage and diabetes well its like having another husband...time is scarce. Its hard! Youre amazing its not surprising he fought for u! Wish you both a zillion more years of wedded bliss.

Unknown said...

I am crying. I love that you shared this. You are most likely helping so many parents of children with chronic conditions Laura. People don't understand the toll this kind of care takes on the WHOLE family, the interpersonal relationships, the flow of daily life. I am so inspired by you and Jim. Can you guys do me a favor? Give each other a BIG HUG from your pal Reyna. I LOVE you.

Heather said...

Yep, crying here. That is a really touching post. I'm so glad that he fought for you and your family. Chronic conditions do take a huge toll on the marriage. It's hard. I'm so glad you two are working it out. It's not easy. My hubby and I have had our rough spots, and still do but when you stick with it and work through them your love deepens and that is priceless. ((hugs))

Penny said...

Oh blessed be Laura! You have a good man, fighting for his marriage and you, who might have thought you gave up, didn't. This will make you both stronger. This is what marriage is. Thanks for sharing and I am so glad you are in a better place now. Hugs and love my dear friend.

Lora said...

I also love that he came back to fight for you and I am glad that things have gotten better.

I too am somewhat bitter about A not taking more of an "interest". The burden lies on me and some nights I lay there hating him for it. I have gone to all of those classes solo also and my husband is in town. Even before I leave next weekend he wants to make sure I have done the site change... whatever.

I hate that it had to come to "the wall", but I am soo very happy that you guys were able to start removing the bricks.

Joanne said...

You can't see me, but I'm practically jumping up and down in joy at this post. So glad you wrote it. Even happier that you shared it.

Love you guys!

Unknown said...

This is, by far, the most beautiful post I've read here. I absolutely love your honesty, transparency, and GLORY!

Your marriage is worth the fight, my friend.

Sarah said...

I am beyond thankful for this post.
It's where we're at...throw in just finding out that your husband not only has type 1 diabetes, but also was just diagnosed with Graves disease and the difficulties that go along with that.
I'm filled with hope that through treatment and time things will improve, we'll see.
Thanks again for sharing, helps people like me not feel so alone in these struggles.

Nicole said...

Thank you so much for sharing, there are so many people going through the same things you are and you are helping them see the light!

You both are fighters and I'm so happy that you both are fighting this fight together :) and forever!!


Tracy1918 said...

Laura, this is such a good post. I feel like I could have written it....except we have just Matthew. But the marriage part.

We were struggling before D came along and now, well, it's hard. We're figuring it out. But it's very lonely at times....getting better, know....

Anyway, I'm glad your man fought for you. You sure sound like a keeper!

FYI....we decided to get Matthew the Omnipod!!! We hope to start in a couple weeks. I may pester you with questions sometime. : )

I love a happy ending...that will continue to be made so by lots and lots of love and hard work. To you and Jim, I wish you decades of love, laughter and the willingness to fight for it all.

Suzanne said...

Laura, you are a real-life Wonder Woman.This was so beautiful and hopeful ... God bless you for sharing it. You are amazing and the world is a better place with you in it!

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Just a Mom

I am NOT a doctor, nor do I play one on this blog.

I AM a wife.
I AM the mom of 3 wonderful children.
I AM my son's pancreas.

The information provided on this blog is from our personal experiences with Type 1 diabetes. Because something works for us does not mean it will work for you.

Please consult your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about your health care options.

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