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The Adventures of My Free Range Diabetic


I sense a disturbance in the Force.

I suddenly have a strong urge to venture into Boy World – aka the Man Cave, aka the den – a place I try to avoid as much as possible. As I approach the door that separates me from an assault on everything that is pink and feminine, I hear my DH on the phone saying something about the Mets and blah, blah, blah. Then I hear a sound I’m all too familiar with…the pop top of a can of soda.  I open the door and meet his gaze as he’s gulping it down.  I give him the raised eyebrow (a la the “People’s Eyebrow” for you Rock fans), he puts down the can and picks up a bottle of water. All without missing one word of the conversation he’s having.  He knows.  Soda and diabetes aren’t friends.

This is one of the challenges of living with what I like to call a Free Range Diabetic.

My Free Range Diabetic is on his honor to roam the house freely and feed himself however he wants. He is also free to test his blood sugar at whatever time he chooses and take all of his medicines.  Ideally, these things should all work together to keep this man healthy.  In reality, my Free Range Diabetic can’t be trusted and may have to be penned up again.

DH was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes about three years ago. He took one medicine, and then they added another. By the middle of last year he was on three medicines and rarely, if ever, tested his blood sugar. He ate what he enjoyed and I, admittedly, wasn’t very supportive. If he didn’t care, why should I, right?  Oh boy, was I wrong.  It was around that time that the #1 dude in my life, my dad, was having a boatload of health challenges of his own – many of them consequences of diabetes, or at the very least, his treatments were complicated by diabetes.  DH could still head this off and it was time to start caring…for real.blood sugar

His A1C was sky high at his January check up and his doctor said his next step would be insulin if he couldn’t get it under control. Cue cage door slamming shut and closely monitored meals, snacks, blood sugar tests, exercise and water intake. We took a diabetes class to learn how to count carbs, then wrote down everything he ate at every meal for the next twelve weeks. We cleared our pantry and freezer of all the stuff he couldn’t (and I shouldn’t) eat, replacing them with easy to grab snacks. We even portioned his cereal. He had a late night, high protein snack to prevent a sugar dump overnight, and had healthier lower glycemic meals during the day.  He had lost twenty pounds by his next check up and lowered his A1C almost into a normal range.  The doctor said “Excellent job! See you in six months!”

DH went home, broke out of his cage and ate ice cream…

hidden carbs

Out of respect for my sanity, we agreed that he’s a “big boy” and was quite capable of policing himself from there on out and I turned him loose.

In the house. By himself. With all the food. Eek! What have I done?!?!

The beginning was rough, for me more than him. He ate without counting or writing or thinking or worrying…what’s happening?!  It took everything I had not to chastise him before and after every bite he took.  He assured me that he had it and to give him a chance.  I fully relinquished control to him and stepped aside. Fast forward three more months into his free range life, and he’s still doing it by himself. Creating a day-to-day life that is a happy medium – not denying himself of the things he really loves, but also not indulging like he used to. He’s certainly not perfect, but he’s trying. His blood sugar is good and steady, but only with medicine. I give him the eyebrow from time to time about his choices, but for the most part, my Free Range Diabetic is living his life and *mostly* following the rules.  Lots of work to do, but I’m leaving the cage door open for now.