I’ve been working for diabetes organisations now for coming up to eighteen years and unsurprisingly have accumulated some truly fascinating things along the way.

Including a photocopy of a 1972 edition of ‘Victory’, the ‘Official publication of the Victorian Diabetic Association’ (now known as Diabetes Victoria).

I was flicking through it the other day and came across this gem:

Apparently, ‘the wife’ is the reason her husband either becomes overanxious about his diabetes or instead, takes charge and continues his existence as a captain of industry, putting diabetes in its rightful place. That’s right, it is ‘the wife’s’ fault her husband becomes a blithering mess unable to look after himself and incapable of doing more than curling up in his favourite chair, wearing his favourite slippers and cardigan while being (over) parented by his partner. This must be because 1972 wives have some sort of enchantress powers that conquer any man’s autonomy or decision-making abilities.

1972 wives sound magical and awesome. How do I become one?

All joking aside, if we remove all gender references in this piece and have it just about the way in which others treat us and how that influences our view about our diabetes, there is, perhaps, an element of truth to the thinking behind it all.

What I need (and am fortunate to have) is a group people around me to support me as I make decisions and diabetes the way I want and need. They back me by being there with a shoulder to lean on or an ear to listen if I ask, but never take over or try to ‘fix’ things.

This sort of support helps us know that we can do this. I may never think of diabetes as ‘an amusing inconvenience’ (there is little to be amused about a lazy pancreas), but I will never see myself as neurotic or incapable.

I certainly don’t want a 1972 wife (or a 2019 partner, parent, sibling, friend, colleague, healthcare professional, associate or anyone else) dictating how I feel about the health condition that lives in me. I do want them to laugh with me at this ridiculousness, though. And promise me that they will continue to keep being exactly the way they are right now! (And maybe joining me when I tell off anyone who suggests – even for a second – that I inject in the lav adjoining the boardroom.)