Since we just celebrated Valentine’s Day we decided to do a Q&A with a couple who is affected by T1D. The following is Drew and Savery Kennard’s love story. Drew was diagnosed at age 14.
How long have you all been together? (Drew)
We’ve been together a little over eight years and married five years. We have a little girl who is almost three years old. My sister and Savery were friends and she thought we should meet. We ended up meeting at a wedding rehearsal dinner.
What was the first thing that attracted you to Savery? (Drew)
Savery was (and still is) uniquely beautiful to me. She carries herself a different way that really stood out. When we first met, we got into a hours long conversation where we were sitting at a wedding rehearsal dinner and absolutely oblivious to what was going on around us. We went over so many things we had in common as well as playfully disagreeing about others. I knew quickly that Savery was a very special woman.
Had T1D affected any of your relationships in the past? If so, in what way? (Drew)
I’ve always approached it as just another part of my daily routine. There have of course been low blood sugar events, or occasions where I perhaps forgot my insulin or something I ate spiked my sugar way out from what I was expecting, but they never amounted to anything more than any other random hurdle or emergency in a relationship. Biggest impact in that regard was always early on in dating. Some women weren’t aware of T1D, the finger pricking, needles, pump tubes, other complications, etc. and were too weirded out to move forward to a relationship. That was rare but it did come up from time to time, while growing up and navigating dating.
How does it change the relationship dynamic compared to a relationship without T1D? (Savery)
We are more physically and emotionally aware of each other. We have to be aware of subtle signs that Drew’s blood sugar may be changing and we have to stay on top of food intake.
In the beginning, my feelings developed faster than normal. I had to think about this person and their well-being quicker. I cared more for Drew right away and that opened the door to deeper feelings.
What are some challenges you all face in terms of your relationship, if any? (Savery)
If we are fighting, it’s sometimes difficult to pull ourselves away from the argument and double check if the source of Drew’s emotions may be from low blood sugar. Overall, I just try to be supportive but not over-bearing and micromanaging.
How has T1D affected you all as a couple? (Savery)
We have a stronger bond together because we’re working towards managing this disease. We started dating long distance, so T1D wasn’t initially a daily topic. But, to Drew, it was appealing that I was familiar with diabetes from having family members with it, and not acting weird about it or being intimidated.
Have you all had any major incidents? (Both)
Do you have any advice for other couples? (Both)
It is a partnership. It’s important to be his/her cheerleader as they go through the rollercoaster of keeping blood sugar in range, watching food intake, leading generally healthy life habits, being cognizant of the “not so normal” complications that arise daily, etc. However, it’s not 100% on the spouse’s shoulders who doesn’t have type one either. Just have the ability and knowledge to help if/when needed. Most importantly, do not micromanage.
Is there anything else you would like people to know about T1D and relationships? (Both)
Type one diabetes does not have to be an elephant in the room. It does take some general effort to educate yourself over the basics. If the T1D individual in the relationship has their disease under control, it really doesn’t affect the day to day. That being said, when looking at long relationships remember that there is an impact when considering the long-term complications in life that T1D brings.
What does a typical Valentine’s Day look like for you both? (Both)
Card, flowers, nice restaurant and now a babysitter.
How are you involved in JDRF? (Both)
We are very involved with the Young Leadership Committee (YLC) in Houston. We are the Co-Chairs of the Event Planning and Outreach committee. Our goal is to make more people aware of type one diabetes including family members and the younger generation. We’ve also participated in the Houston One Walk and the Promise Ball.
Written by Jennifer Sotuyo