To Love a Diabetic

Katherine Marple

| Apr 12, 2012

To love a diabetic is to be a doctor. It means helping her to remember her medications. It means driving her for an hour to the only 24 hour pharmacy when she's gotten the flu and can't take the Nyquil in the refrigerator. Or driving her to the hospital when the simple flu turns into bronchitis and her blood turns acidic.

To love a diabetic is to be patient. It means knowing that some days she won't feel good for no visible reason. It means canceling long term plans when suddenly she doesn't feel well enough to go on a trip. Or waiting to go to bed while she injects her bedtime insulin.

To love a diabetic is to be a priest. It means consoling her when she's tired and feels like she can't do it anymore. It means listening and not passing judgment while she tries to figure out her new dosages and makes mistakes. Or, during those tough times, listening to her burial wishes- just in case.

To love a diabetic is to be a guardian. It means standing up for her when strangers accuse her of being a drug addict. It means discreetly asking her friends to keep an eye on her when she's testing new medications and doesn't know the reactions to her body yet. Or staying up with her through the night because she's too afraid to fall asleep where a coma can find her.

To love a diabetic is to not be superficial. It means seeing her bruises as beauty marks. It means caressing the scars across her stomach. Or kissing her dry lips when she is hooked to IVs.

To love a diabetic is to be understanding. It means knowing that she doesn't mean to get hot tempered when her blood sugars are too high. It means listening to her when she asks to start a family soon. Or donating time and DNA to sciences you don't fully understand just because she asks you to and because it promises to cure her.

To love a diabetic is to be smart. It means researching new medications even though she never asks you to. It means listening to her explain her new findings in terms that aren't typical language. Or making her smile when she desperately wants to scream.

To love a diabetic is to be selfless. It means going to a restaurant based off the carbohydrates menu instead of the atmosphere. It means going without dinner when money is tight because you can buy her medication with it instead. Or testing your blood sugar on her new meter to make sure it's working properly even though you're terrified of needles.

To love a diabetic is to be brave. It means keeping your chin up while she talks about those scary moments. It means not allowing her medical mistakes to color your relationship with her emotionally. Or keeping positive spirits even though all of the websites and gatherings tell you she won't statistically make it past her 40s.

To love a diabetic is not easy. It means putting her medical needs before any other finances. It means worrying every moment that she is properly cared for even when you can't see her. And it means trusting her life in the hands of so many doctors who don't understand the full complexities of the disease.

Thank you for loving a diabetic.



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Categories: Blood Sugars, Diabetes, Diabetes, Finances , Medical Needs, Medications, Restaurants, To Love a Diabetic

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Posted by Anonymous on 12 April 2012

This is really friggin accurate, thank you :)

Posted by Anonymous on 12 April 2012

I love this!! I am very thankful for my family! They have supported me and loved their diabetic!!

Posted by Anonymous on 13 April 2012

I appreciate the post - but I am confused. Why do you say that statistically you won't live past your 40's? I've never heard that. The doctor who diagnosed my daughter with type 1 this past Labor Day weekend specifically told me that I should expect her to live a full, normal life, well into old age, assuming she takes care of herself.

Posted by Anonymous on 16 April 2012

Thank you very much, this text is really beautiful and it is totally true. My wife is diabetic type 1, your text resume perfectly some moment in our lives and even if it is not easy every day, I would not trade my place for anything in the world.

Posted by Anonymous on 17 April 2012

Very nice. Though, as noted, the lifespan numbers have changed dramatically in recent decades.

The rest is spot on.

Posted by Anonymous on 17 April 2012

That is an untrue statement about statistically not living past your 40's, and is unnecessarily scary for the newly diagnosed Type 1's or their parents to read. If you take care of yourself, diabetes shouldn't shorten your life. This young woman blogs about multiple episodes of severe low blood sugar and/or DKA comas. Something is wrong with this picture. I think she needs a new endocrinologist.

Posted by Anonymous on 17 April 2012

I loved this post. It is true that to love a Diabetic, her health comes first! Its sad that not many can do that, only the good ones will stick in their through it all...

Posted by Anonymous on 17 April 2012

I totally agree with your commentary. It means everything to have the support of a loved one! I had the love and support of my beloved husband for the 40 years of our 48 year marriage I became diabetic after the birth of our 39 year old son. Ten months ago I lost my healthy husband. Life is so much more difficult without his love, support and wonderful sense of humor, which kept me going on many a bad day! I try to do all the right things for him and as a tribute to all in put into keeping me going!

Posted by Anonymous on 17 April 2012

This brought tears to my eyes, major emotion. You hit the heart of a long term type 1(me). Not many 'non-diabetics' get it. You hit home. I understand the statement about not getting beyond one's 40's...I think it was reminiscent of times past, yet still in some people's minds today it still sticks. Livabetics know better! Bless you Katherine Marple.

Posted by Anonymous on 17 April 2012

I agree completely with this well written article - its a terrible disease which can take over your whole life, however I have type 1 diabetes for 49 years and am now 52 years old and am hoping for at least another 30 years with the help of all todays modern technology and the great care I get from medical staff and my family.

Posted by Anonymous on 17 April 2012

I don't like this article at all. The author describes Diabetes as if it is in tuned with cancer especially this following passage:

"To love a diabetic is to be brave. It means keeping your chin up while she talks about those scary moments. It means not allowing her medical mistakes to color your relationship with her emotionally. Or keeping positive spirits even though all of the websites and gatherings tell you she won't statistically make it past her 40s"

The above remark is an an absolute insult to all the women out there (young and old) who have Diabetes. I don't think this author understands how to control her Diabetes. I am a type 1 Diabetic for 22 years and I know my limitations in life you have to be proactive no one will tell you this you learn it on your own as you cope in living with this disease 24/7.

I am already extremely disapointed with Diabetes research by now some sort of cure should have been out there and it's not happening. Picture this and you tell me what is wrong with this scenario:

In 1921 Charles Best and Banting dicovered insulin and thus saved many lives. Now fast forward into the present day we are in 2012 (the 21st freaking century) and guess what we are still using insulin injections only the insulin we use today is slightly different.

So you know what don't be that angry with this author she is just venting her frustration in living with this disease 24/7. Base your anger on Diabetes research or the lack of it. I am also very disapponited with the JDRF. While these Pharmaceutical big shots have their Lobstors and steaks every night and who are Diabetes free they are benifitting their lives from our misery.

The cure will be "shelved" it will never be introduced into the Public eye Diabetes is a Multi billion dollar industry. If Charles Best and Frederick Banting were alive today they would have been ashamed with today's so-called Diabeted research (which I use the term loosely). We need doctors like them today so that a cure can be found. Anybody out there???????

Posted by Anonymous on 17 April 2012

Thank you for this post! I don't have the support system like many of you. I am hoping that with sharing this post with others in my life will help with understanding.

Posted by Anonymous on 17 April 2012

I have loved a diabetic for 36 years. He received his 50-year medal last year.
It is not always easy, but is always worth it.

Posted by Anonymous on 17 April 2012

Thank you! I cried at work when reading this on phone . . . I never really thought about all that others 'do' for us. I thought I was so independent!!! Guess I was wrong, but don't tell my hubby that I said that!

Posted by Anonymous on 17 April 2012

Thank you. Soooo accurate, except for the life expectancy issues as mentioned above. I love two T1's -- husband and son. We don't have too many crises but as a "T3," I worry a lot, especially when sending a young son out into the world where many do not understand this chronic life/health issue.

Posted by seeingblind on 17 April 2012

Very poignant and thought-provoking; nicely done. Thank you.

Posted by Anonymous on 17 April 2012

As a mother of a teen with Type 1, this brought tears to my eyes. True for parents as well as loving spouses. But, as noted, the life-expectancy part really needs to be updated. 70 is more accurate than 40 these days.

Posted by Anonymous on 17 April 2012

Myself and my soon-to-be sister in law are both diabetics. Our significant others (two brothers) must have been raised well, because they both seem to understand the varying needs of a diabetic. I hope you don't mind, but I would like to share this with them as a gift for their wedding scrapbook. I think they would both appreciate it - even the poignancy of the age 40s threat, even though loving family and a little work help to make it far less real a threat today.

Posted by Anonymous on 17 April 2012

This is one of the most dopey things I've ever read on any diabetes website. How insulting to a diabetic and their families, plus freaking inaccurate. The world needs encouragement, not junk like this. Yes, indeed, this person needs a brand new endocrinologist. Pure shame on this article.

Posted by shosty on 17 April 2012

I'm sorry, but I found this to be absolutely awful. My daughter has type 1 and two other serious conditions. Her diabetes is hard to manage. But she would never want a relationship like the one described.

And yes, there are too many scary things in here. "Or, during those tough times, listening to her burial wishes- just in case." Really? Is this what my 22 year-old should be discussing with her boyfriend? There is something really wrong here.

And I do not like the word "diabetic." What other disease identifies the person with it in this manner (asthmatic went out a long time ago). My daughter is a person who happens to have diabetes, and is not defined by it. So she "had diabetes" is more palatable to me than "she is diabetic."

Posted by Anonymous on 17 April 2012

Love your letter .Thanks for writing it.

Posted by Anonymous on 18 April 2012

It is so true! I love so much my diabetic daughter!

Posted by Anonymous on 18 April 2012

If I May come back in again to ask about the stats regarding life expectancy. Where are you getting them from is my question,I too never heard a diabetic only lives until aged 40, and never read it on any website.

My Father is type 1 since he was 12 and is a healthy, no complications and marathon runner, and living with it for 54 years.

Posted by Anonymous on 18 April 2012

Thank you for this. Sometimes as a diabetic, I forget that my family has to deal with all of this and more. I printed this to put on my refrigerator to thank my family and to remind me that they have a lot to deal with as well. Not just me! Thank you to my family!

Posted by yrudd on 18 April 2012

I think your author is being over-dramatic! Work at keeping carb intake way low,blood sugars below 100, and "live long and prosper".

Posted by Elseey on 18 April 2012

Loving a diabetic also means not labeling them with the disease they happen to have. How about loving the person with diabetes? I'm sure love of a person is much more welcome than love of a label.

Posted by Anonymous on 18 April 2012

Anyone that loves a diabetic will find your words moving and in part true but I agree with the person who said you should be changing your endocrinologist. Unless American type1 diabetics are very different from Europeans, my personal experience with my adolesscent type 1 son is that in the 6 years from his diagnosis he has led an almost normal life, does everything other teenagers do, but stays away from alcohol and cigarettes (bad for everyone). Furthermore none of the 300 kids in his diabetes centre has gone in a coma, in the last two years no one has used Glucagon and they are all expected to live over 70 years. There are some tough days but please don't scare all the parents reading your post, we already have to deal with enough guilt and worries. Linda - Italy

Posted by Anonymous on 19 April 2012

I have had type 1 for 29 years this November 14th. A bit ironic the date, but I feel some of this is accurate. But I have the love of a good wife and family. That is the best medicine in my world.

Posted by Anonymous on 19 April 2012

AMAZING. This describes me perfectly. I could have written this myself. This person clearly also suffers from "brittle" untable Type 1 diabetes, just as I do. There are many variables in cases such as ours, and let's be real, modern medicine has no idea what to do with us. The fact is, Type 1 diabetes is a fatal disease that can kill in many ways. Some sudden, some not. To deny this means there is no incentive to cure Type 1's like us. I was clearly told I would not live past 20 (diagnosed as a baby). I have had many seizures despite dedicated effort (I test 12x per day, now have a pump, and follow a very rigid restricted diet). If my boyfriend had not stepped in more than once to save my life, I wouldn't be here today. Some of us spend all day simply trying to survive with this disease. It is shameful to pretend that this is a manageable non-lifethreatening disease for the entire T1 population. For me, nothing could be further from the truth. I have now proudly made it to 30 (!) and am hoping I will make it to 50...but I don't expect to. So I live life to its fullest here and now.

Posted by Anonymous on 20 April 2012

I agree that this article is a little over dramatic and inaccurate. My daughter is 13 and has been diabetic since she was 3. She lives a completely normal life with hardly any of these issues mentioned in the article. I would never dream of planning her funeral any time soon. Diabetes in general is very manageable when you monitor your blood sugars closely.

Posted by Anonymous on 25 April 2012

I have been a type 1 for 17 years and have had many hypos during that time because I have sought desperately to control any possible highs. But I have never needed to ask my husband or children to take over the management of my life. I know how hard living with diabetes is, but this article sounds SO self indulgent and selfish. The world is truly bigger than diabetes and the people in your life matter as much as you do! And yes, I am fairly well controlled with HBA2c of around 6.5. Having said that I have ended up in casualty having fallen because of a severe hypo. But it is not the norm.

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