“My life took a new turn when I couldn’t feel strong as I was before, I found it difficult to work on my farm, and at night, I will urinate about 20 times before dawn,” – Peter
Peter (not real name) is a farmer in a village around Ndop in the Northwest Region of Cameroon who cultivates maize, rice, and processes palm oil for a living. Peter was devastated when on January 15, 2020, he consulted at a Baptist Health Center around his village and a diagnosis of diabetes was made. He pondered on what could have caused this. He was shocked and frightened. Like a dream, a disease he only used to hear of, as if from far away, had now become his fate.
“It was traumatizing for me to learn that my husband had become diabetic, because I know that when you have diabetes, a wound on your body does not heal and diabetes cannot be cured” lamented Susan (not her real name and her words paraphrased for clarity), Peter’s wife
For Peter, life after the revelation his diagnosis has not been the same. The changes and choices he needs to make regarding his lifestyle can only happen with the support of his wife and the rest of his family. ‘families should be ready to assist their relatives with diabetes, and diabetes patients should not be afraid to make their status known to their family and those around them. Now that my relatives are aware of my status and the importance of fruits and vegetables, they assist me by bringing fruits and vegetables every now and then.
I eventually learned to accept my condition thanks to my amazing wife who has been a great source of encouragement for me from the very beginning of my journey with diabetes. The Bible says two are better than one, I appreciate my wife”.
“I have made a lot of changes at home to favour my husband’s condition, I have decided not to cook for my husband differently. We all eat the same meals because I want our children to adapt to the new recipes and other changes: eating, with little salt and no ‘maggi’ (bouillon cubes), has become the norm at home. I follow the advice from the Diabetes Educators of the Nkwen Baptist Hospital Diabetes Clinic and make sure that my husband eats more vegetables and fruits, and less carbohydrates, daily.” Susan said.
Three months after diagnosis, Peter’s blood sugar level is under control. There is little doubt that the involvement of Peter’s family in the adoption of healthier lifestyle choices has made a significant contribution to his achieving blood sugar control. Family support enhances adherence to lifestyle modifications which are the cornerstone of managing diabetes and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs). It also encourages apparently healthy family members to adopt of healthier lifestyles, thus reducing their risks of developing diabetes and other NCDs.
Family matters in diabetes care, family matters in NCD care