Rose tells her story about Raymond, the love of her life.

When I was first diagnosed, like many others, I was confused and traumatised. Medical advice only made things worse. My only real support during this time came from over four thousand miles away, my dear friend Rose, a wonderful lady a native and resident of New Orleans took care of her husband Raymond for many years when he suffered from multiple conditions, including diabetes, and was able to empathise and bear with my problems in accepting the diagnosis and coping with the problems arising from my questionable treatment. In fact it was from Rose that I first heard the piece of advice which proved to be the only one of any real use. She told me that when her husband was first diagnosed the Doctor had advised her to "use her common sense and CUT THE CARBS as far as possible“.

Unfortunately for me, I did not appreciate the value of this information for some time. Mainly I suppose because I was advised to the contrary by my own GP and because I thought my carb intake was negligible. Raymond passed away almost two years ago, Rose is now in her 84th year and despite living in what is arguably, the gourmet capital of the world is not only slim but looks at least twenty years younger than her actual age, as does her beautiful daughter Rochelle. I thought others might like to read her story of how she tried to cope with her husband's diabetes along with his other problems. I am sure it will strike a chord with anyone who may have been in this situation themselves.


Rose tells her story about Raymond, the love of her life.

When Raymond was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes…. Our physician of over 20 years simply told him in that calm, comforting way of his…”.You can do this, I will help you as much as I can”…As his primary care physician and friend he was already managing his other health problems. With his COPD, emphysema and degenerative spinal arthritis …most physical exercise is all but impossible. He had already gained too much weight because of his limited mobility…how was he to manage another complication? Well, he handled it better than I did….I cried to think he would have to deal with yet another problem.

When we got this news…my husband said…”don’t worry, I’ll handle this just like I’m handling everything else”…..and handle it he did, in that wonderful way he had of making lemonade of the lemons life handed him.

From my point of view, as the wife of a diabetic, I can tell you that living with my diabetic husband was an exercise in ‘tough love’….
My husband was never what is commonly called a ‘foodie.” He loved to eat, but he didn’t live to eat. That was a good thing However, he was used to eating what he wanted, when he wanted it. This would be a major adjustment for him.

Raymond loved soups…I found a recipe for “Good Greens Soup”… one that I made with Chicken, tomatoes and fennel that he enjoyed. He also loved split pea or lentil soups. I made a lot of soups, all of them from scratch, using homemade stocks and fresh vegetables and some adapted by leaving out or adding appropriately.

Some of these things are good carbs…like beans…you know New Orleans is famous for its red beans. “Land of red beans and slot machines”….and I forgot to add the most important thing….controlled portions!!!!...Its not always what you eat its HOW MUCH….. Had to watch that, because as I stated earlier…he hardly got any exercise. He walked up and down and around the porch and around the house and I bought a little contraption to set in front of his chair…with foot pedals on it…to simulate riding a bike. He didn’t even have to get out of his chair!

The hard part for me was telling my diabetic “NO!”…..when he wanted a bowl of his favourite peach ice cream, or a taste of that luscious lemon meringue pie that I had been making for him ever since the first year we were married….many years ago. Now I would have to be creative and still find ways to ‘celebrate life’s precious moments’ with food…but in a more healthy way. I told myself that it would be good for me and everyone else so…… ‘get movin’ girl!’

I studied and learned all I could about how to alter the recipes that would not exclude him when all the ‘goodies’ were passed around. It required some work, and it was sometimes demanding.

Raymond’s snacks of choice were potato chips and chee whees. He loved salty things, especially when he was watching a Saints football game….he could really ‘overdose’ on peanuts and chips. Sometimes I wanted to scold him for sneaking a few, after I had laboured over an especially nice gourmet dinner for him…..but in the end, I couldn’t help smiling, because he’d shoot me that sheepish look of a little boy who just got caught with his hand in the cookie jar….and I didn’t have the heart to chastise him.

During the last two months of his life, when he was on oxygen and dying of severe pulmonary disease, besides the diabetes …I told myself…maybe its time to forget about tough love….I must confess I just couldn’t bring myself to refuse a few of those simple pleasures that he had been denied. Those were the difficult days….should I or shouldn’t I? Sometimes, even now….I wonder if I did the right thing, but we both knew that his time was running out.

He was my hero, my Rock. For a lifetime, I tried my best to take care of him. ...60 years. It was a job that I relished, he was the love of my life. What else did I have to do?


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