Friday, July 06, 2007

It's a bit like cancer

OK, I "know" diabetes is not cancer. But it is a bit like it in that it creeps up on you and consumes the body. The sore that is on the side of hubby's right foot is starting to heal. But when I looked at the big toe on that same foot tonight, I just gasped! It is all engorged and purple. Completely deformed and misshapen. And when I looked at his other foot the whole thing is swollen.

He said it's because he went into the office today and wore shoes all day long. I think it's because he's just getting worse.

So we sat down to watch a movie and I went to hold his hand and on the sides of his index finger, there are now lumps like on his feet. They've never been there before. I'm sure it's tophi gout. I'm sure it's because he's back to eating meat and such.

When cancer mestatises, it spreads everywhere. Just like his gout it. And I know the gout is from uric acid which his kidney's can't process anymore due to his diabetes.

I just wonder where it's going to spread next. So sad.


Jean said...

I am so sorry to hear of these developments. Sadly, I would suspect tophi on the finger too and for the reasons you suspect. I think you summed it up best when you said you were "shocked" by the looks of his toe and other foot. We spouses prepare ourselves as best we can, but there is still a sickening jolt that goes through us when we witness the latest physical devastation.

Today was not a good day in the diabetes department. Hubby seems driven to consume as much sugar as possible. We had an unopened two-liter bottle of Wild Cherry Pepsi left over from when the kids were here, and he opened that and was swigging it straight from the bottle despite having lots of bottled water and diet drinks available. For the last couple of days he's been gorging on ice cream and cake and cookies. People say I should throw out all the sweets -- well, I've been there and done that! They have no idea what he's like. He just buys more, and when I say more, I mean MORE - king size vs. miniature candy bars, a whole pie vs. a single-serve, three bottles of sugared soda vs. one, etc. It's like he's going to "show me" he's in charge of his food.

He is having more frequent gastro symptoms now (especially uncontrolled nighttime diarrhea), which I know are neuropathy related (can't blame it on meds since he doesn't take them) and has been having lots of hip and thigh pain, which I also blame on neuropathy. He gets so fatigued that he'll fall into a deep sleep when the kids are visiting, which never would have happened a couple years ago. Clearly, his strategy of denying his disease is not working.

I don't talk with him about it anymore. I've been down that road with him so often that the pavement is completely worn through. Like you, I wonder how much longer he'll be able to work, to function at home (he has to ride the riding mower side-saddle because of his poor flexibility and hip pain), and to enjoy life at all.

Most days I handle all of this pretty well, but today was not one of those days. I vented to a girlfriend on the phone for a long while, and now I'm venting here. It seems to be the only thing that helps sometimes.

Diabeteswife said...

Jean. At moments like this, I think our husbands are related. One thing for certain, you and I are soul sisters in this journey. I hear you loud and clear.

I do continue to throw out anything sweet that I find in the house. But he still hides it on me. And he still buys it when I'm not around. And Lord help him when he travels because it's a non-stop sugar fest. So I do know what it's like....a battle that never ends and there are moments when I do give up and then the cabinets overflow with candy, cakes and pies.

I used to be flabbergasted when I went to my in-laws. My hubby's father is a diabetic as well....and their kitchen, well, let's just say that any cabinet door you's sugar heaven behind it. So I do know that some of my husband's behavior is learned. Like father, like son. And Christmas is absolutely the worse. Bowls and dishes of candy sitting everywhere. I can't help but ask if my mother-in-law isn't trying to kill her husband! But I now know different....he's the one who goes out and buys all the sugar and has it in every corner of their house. And yes, hubby has a non-stop sugar fest whenever he goes back there. Fortunatley, it's not all that often.

How do you deal with the uncontrolled nighttime diarrhea? We have that here. And hubby forever denies it's related to diabetes, but I know, too, that it is. It's the nerve endings not functioning, the digestive system starting to shut down. I can see it so clearly. Kidney failure, high uric acid levels, lots of uric crystals growing inside's like he's peeing inside on himself because his kidney's can't process the waste and there's nowhere for it to go except into his own body.

I had quit talking to my hubby as I had given up. But I've started in on a different angle lately. More of a health kick about me. He's not listening to me one bit differently, but I'm getting the message out there in a different way. And it's helping me if nothing else. Like you, I have my melt-down days when I don't handle it at all. Other days, I bury myself in my studio and don't come out for hours. Then there are days when I completely run away....go visit friends, or go wonder through a mall...just to escape the reality of what is going on here.

Hubby quit riding the mower 2 years ago and now has the lawn cutting hired out. OK, he has most everything hired out.

The sad thing is that he cannot step outside of himself and look at the whole picture of what is going on. I don't think he wants to.

Jean said...

The diarrhea is a hard thing for me to deal with because it can happen any time. It's a major reason why I avoid sleeping in the same bed with him. The jerks and twitches in his legs are the main reason.

He does clean up after himself but not perfectly, so I end up going back over everything with upholstery cleaners, stain removers, scrub brushes, etc. I keep reminding myself this is part of the "In sickness . . " part of the marriage vows.

He takes Immodium, but that's after it hits so the damage is already done. Our mattress and our living room furniture are due to be replaced due to age, but I don't even want to get new things because of this (he usually makes his rounds from the bed to a recliner to the sofa trying to get comfortable). Really, he needs to be wearing adult diapers at night, but I'm not brave enough yet to suggest that. He has also had a couple of instances where he started to urinate but didn't sense it until he felt the moisture on his skin, so those nerves are severely damaged too.

Another gastro symptom he's having is (gross alert) that he can burp 4+ hours after a meal and bring up undigested food. So the stomach isn't processing/emptying normally.

He is also having occassional (a couple of times a week) swallowing problems -- it's like the food just gets "stuck" and won't move up or down. The first time I saw that happening it freaked me out, and I was ready to do the Heimlich when it dislodged. He proceeded to nonchalantly inform me that this has been happening quite a bit and that it's no big deal.

What, I wonder, will ever qualify in his mind as a big deal???

Diabeteswife said...

oh Jean, I so relate to what you are saying. I also wonder if they were to admit it is a big it too late, is the body too far gone?

Hugs to you my dear!

Anonymous said...

I just found your site and my heart goes out to both of you. My boyfriend has type 1 diabetes and he suffers with some effects of neuropathy. He is good about taking suggestions and monitoring his food, but I have told him that it would be very difficult to stay with him if he were in denial about his symptoms/diet/disease. I really admire you for your integrity in sticking to your vows. I would too, but it would be very difficult. I really, really admire you and I commend your efforts even though it must be very challenging.

Thank you for sharing these thoughts and feelings.