I met my husband 12 years ago in a homeless day centre in London Victoria. We both worked there. He as a homeless outreach worker and me as the nurse. We have both worked in London all this time. Chris continued to work in the homeless day centre and I moved on to work In Islington.
We commuted to work most days, me a two hour commute and Chris working permanent nights! We managed ok but we were constantly shattered. We hardly spent any time together as a family. It was all we knew and that was ok. We were never really big on spending every second with each other, we were like a Ven diagram. We all loved doing our own thing then meet in the middle every now and then & hang out. This works for us this is what keeps us solid. That is until we had an uninvited guest join the family in the shape of type one diabetes. Our old life didn’t work anymore, didn’t fit us or suit us. Anxiety was heightened on a daily basis for all of us when we were away from each other, especially being two hours away in London. When Chris was on nights he wasn’t around, he hated it. What used to be fine was breaking us mentally, physically and emotionally.
It started with me reducing my hours and days in my job. We decided that spending four hours a day (on a good day)traveling to and from London wasn’t worth it anymore and money really didn’t matter, as long as we could pay the bills we would be ok. Chris continued working and struggling with his job and his shifts. We managed like this from October to January of this year. It was a pretty awful place to be not only were the Peace’s trying to adjust to life with diabetes we were trying to make our old life fit and it didn’t. We both struggled, we hardly saw each other. Conversations became like handovers …“What are his levels.” “Has he had any hypos” “What has he eaten “.
We decided enough was enough I was going to leave my job in London and find a job in Dorking. It wasn’t that easy though. As much as I know I needed to change my job, my job was part of me I had been working in Islington for ten years. My whole nursing career since 1994 had been in Camden, Islington or Westminster. I had made lasting friends. I had spent the last ten years with my work colleagues. I loved my job and my team were part of the reason why I loved it so much. Leaving London was a massive step for me diabetes or no diabetes.
I started searching for jobs and would find some excuse not to apply . But then one day I finally applied for the job that I had kept stored in my inbox , a job ten minutes from my house and Arlo’s school. The time between applying and getting shortlisted I had made up my mind this is what I wanted to do I was determined to get the job & I worked hard to get it. On January 13th I was offered the job! That same day sitting in our kitchen half excited half terrified at all the changes that had happened and were about to happen I noticed my husband. He had just finished working nights.
In front of me was man so tired so sad so broken. This man wasn’t my husband.
“Quit!” I said
“I can’t do it anymore babe I haven’t got the strength.”
“Leave your job it’s not worth it we need you back with us.”
That was on 13th January 2016. Chris never went back to work in London.
Type one diabetes has helped us. Type one has made us look at our life and highlighted that we can make changes if we want. Had it not been for type one we wouldn’t have done it, we would not have been brave enough to leave our jobs but we had to. Now when we are sitting at the dinner table eating dinner as a family we look at each other and say “Why the hell didn’t we do this before? Why did it take an illness to make us do it?”
I’m currently finishing this post whilst stuck on the underground trying to get home. There are severe delays and I’ve been underground without a signal for an hour now. I feel sick knowing I can’t be contacted, & that I won’t be home for at least another two hours. Anxiety levels are heightened even though I know he is in safe hands and Chris is working round the corner now in Dorking. He now skips into work and skips home again with a massive smile on his face.
I’ve got one more week of working in London before I start my new job in Dorking which means our commutes have gone from four hours a day to twenty minutes a day. That feeling of anxiety is slowly been replaced with reassurance that I will be round the corner, not far away from Arlo but far enough away for him to maintain his independence.
Arlo has his dad back and I’ve got my husband back. We are not broken anymore. I guess this is called adjusting and we’ve adjusted in the right way. This is our new normal.
Our ven diagram of a family is still there type one diabetes hasn’t changed us that much. it’s just that the circles have got smaller.
Type one diabetes we thank you for this.