Happy Valentine’s Day Type 3s! Happy Valentine’s Day Type 3s!


Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone, and especially to our Type 3s – partners and spouses who live with our diabetes – and yet get none of the credit. 

I can only imagine it must be like sitting in the passenger seat of a car wanting to grab the wheel when you see your mate start driving into an embankment or veer off toward the shoulder – feeling powerless and helpless to course correct – and weighing when do you hover, anticipate, plead, get upset or just stand lovingly by. 

So today I’m saluting you, our loved ones who keep loving us with diabetes and who watch over and support us. 

I also want you to know there is a group function just for male Type 3s to come together and share their feelings and frustrations, perhaps see what we live with a little more clearly and learn how to lovingly help in our disease management. 

Diabetes Sisters’ annual “Weekend for Women” conference – May 3-May 5 in Raleigh, North Carolina – offers a parallel track at the conference for male Type 3s called “Partner’s Perspective Program.” It’s for partners, spouses and significant others of we women attending the conference.Brandy Barnes, founder of Diabetes Sisters’, and her very loving husband Chris, saw the need and how such a program would benefit both our men and ourselves. 

From the male viewpoint Chris says, “As partners of women with diabetes, we really do want to better understand their disease and how to best support them so that they can live full lives with diabetes for many years to come.  The success of last year’s program illustrated that this valuable program is filling a large void that has been overlooked for many years.”

The Partner’s Perspective Program kicks off on Friday night from 6-10pm with a fun, relaxing social event.  Saturday morning commences with Partners Perspective attendees walking through historic downtown Raleigh, NC in the Diabetes Awareness Walk to support their partners with diabetes publicly. 10am-5pm partners participate in separate education/breakout sessions  chock full of educational information about diabetes to help them better understand and support their partner. There will be lots of “how to” discussions from leading experts who understand the physical and mental challenges faced by women with diabetes. Then, partners join their loved ones for a celebratory lunch and watch their spouse/loved one be publicly recognized for the number of years she has lived with diabetes. Sunday, partners will join back together again for a fun social activity in downtown Raleigh, NC.  

“Weekend for Women” runs May 3-May 5 in Raleigh, North Carolina. I’ll be there, among many experts, leading a workshop on how to “Ignite Your Diabetes-Power.” Join us and make it an event you can go to with your partner and both go home and talk about. Register here

When I told my husband, now of 11 years, shortly before the wedding, “Maybe you want to think twice about this. You know life with a diabetic will be uncertain…” he didn’t miss a beat. “I’m with you and you’re with me,” he said, and he’s been saying it ever since.

A success for “Weekend for Women”

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Okay, I know, a bit of schmaltz with former Ms. America, but for a good cause. I just returned from the first“Weekend for Women” event put on by Diabetes Sisters and sponsored byTCOYD. Actually, the two events dovetailed this past weekend in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Diabetes Sisters was started just a few short years ago by Brandy Barnes, to bring women living with diabetes together and break the isolation so many of us feel. 

As Brandy opened the event Saturday evening she said she couldn’t believe how quickly she was seeing her dream come true as she looked out at the 100 faces staring back at her. 

For there we were: type 1s, type 2s pretty evenly divided, and all ages from early twenties to eighty. I talked with 80 year old Liza, who got type 2 diabetes three years ago and I only hope I have her vitality, and her looks, when I’m 80! Women also came from both the local area and as far away as California, Illinois, New York and Texas.

The event kicked off Saturday night with dinner, socializing and a pampering treatment: massage, nails, hair or make up. 

Sunday former Ms. America and diabetes advocate, Nicole Johnson, gave a truly inspiring talk. She developed type 1 diabetes at 19 and went on, against the wishes of many around her who thought it would be too much for her, to win the Ms. Virginia and then Ms. America title. 

While she is beautiful, her talk – warm, funny and personable – showed she is beautiful on the inside too. And while there was probably no other beauty contest winner in the audience, I think we could all identify with the limitations she talked about that others often put on us and that in mass we turn that around to show just how capable and remarkable each of us is.

The day continued with a host of informational lectures from keeping your heart healthy, feeding your body, mind and spirit and dealing with body image to having a healthy pregnancy and going through menopause. Sheri Colberg was our ending key note speaker and she shared from her book secrets of the longest living people with diabetes. 

As much as we came together to bond, celebrate and learn, it was also inspiring for me to see what Brandy had created bringing us together, and the uncompromising support she appears to have from her beloved type 3 husband and sister. 

There’s another “Weekend for Women” in the works for next year and it may even happen sooner than expected. If you’d like to participate you might want to stay current on the Diabetes Sisters web site.