The following is a very brief overview of my wife’s journey as a caregiver.
Me, a caregiver!
Since December 2009, my life has been like trying to walk a tightrope in stilettos with one broken heel, holding my head up high with as much confidence as I can manage.
I am a caregiver, a mother of five children, a wife, a friend, a volunteer, and full-time worker who supports my family. I am also the sole income earner. On most days, I am physically and emotionally drained—and although difficult, I try to find the courage not to give up.
The life-changing diagnosis of acromegaly has been taxing on my relationship with my husband and our family. My role to my husband as a wife, friend, and partner have been blurred with my role as his caregiver.
Our journey begins
Although Dan was diagnosed with acromegaly in December 2009, our journey began after the birth of our daughter in September 1995. At that time, Dan was awkward: he had gained a lot of weight, which we attributed to stress. In February 1996, Dan lost the weight he had gained but did not look well. It took some convincing, but he finally agreed to see our family doctor. She confirmed his suspicion—his fear—that he had what we thought was age-onset Type 2 diabetes.
Being an Olympic athlete and knowing the best way to fight this disease, Dan took on the task of getting fitter. He cycled every morning. He ate a diabetic diet. We, as a family, took on a healthier lifestyle. He did everything one should do to keep this condition at bay.
Over the next few years, his diabetes became more acute, controlled through diet, then also through light medication, including Metformin. There were signs that things were a bit different, but we attributed the changes to diabetes. He had mood swings, anxiety, excruciating joint pain, sleep apnea, and hypertension.
In July 2004, Dan was not feeling well. He had flu-like symptoms and just could not keep anything down. I went to work as usual, but returned home at lunch to check on him. Despite our best efforts to replenish his electrolytes, he could not keep anything down, so we took him to the hospital.