(Closed) Marrying a diabetic

posted 8 years ago in Emotional
Post # 17
Member
521 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

As others have said, Type I diabetes is not caused by poor diet / lifestyle, etc.  It is caused because your body does not produce insulin like it is supposed to, so this isn’t his fault.

Type I diabetes is a very manageable disease.  My mom was diagnosed with Type I diabetes before I was born, and honestly, you would have no idea she is diabetic 98% of the time, because she has always taken great care to control it.  She tests regularly, and has now been on an insulin pump for the past 7 or 8 years, which she loves.  She has never been hospitalized.  That doesn’t mean she doesn’t ever have low, or high blood sugar levels, but she knows how to control things when that does happen, and she sees her endocrinologist once a year to make sure everything is ok.  She still eats sweets, etc. – but she knows that when she does, she needs to take the appropriate insulin dose to control the blood sugar spike that will happen.

Diabetes is not a death sentence, unless you make it that.

Good luck to you and your Fiance, I know it is hard adjusting but once you get through this phase, it will just be a normal part of life and really not that big of a deal at all.

Post # 19
Member
471 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

Is your fiance a football fan?  He might take comfort in knowing that Jay Culter, the QB of the Chicago Bears is a Type 1 diabetic, and it certainly hasn’t slowed him down.  He’s no Aaron Rodgers, but he’s a solid QB and a great athlete.  Cutler started a foundation working with kids who are diabetic.  It might help your fiance to get involved with something similar at a children’s hospital or something like that.  The best way to feel better is to help those more vulnerable who are dealing with the same problems you have.

My fiance is not diabetic, but he did just finish chemotherapy for lymphoma.  He is in remission, but his type of cancer (Large B-cell lymphoma) has an extremely high relapse rate.  It rarely strikes people under 65, and it’s the disease that killed his grandmother.  He is just now getting some of his energy and strength back, but the reality is that he is more likely than not to lose it all over again and go through another year or so of hell.  That’s scary, and hard, and has been very trying for both of us.  Should he relapse his only choice will be a bone-marrow transplant and radiation.  Both of those carry serious long-term risks.  But I’m really proud of the way that he hasn’t let that get him down.  He knows what he needs to do, he is working to take care of himself, and most importantly he’s in counseling to help him deal with everything he’s gone through as well as the possibility that he might go through it again.  You might want to have your fiance look into something similar.  

As for you, it is extremely difficult to be a young caretaker of someone who is life-threateningly ill, especially when that person is so young.  You need to make sure that you have your own support system and that you have friends who care about how you are doing, not just how he’s doing.  You cannot be there for him and take care of him properly if you are not ok yourself.  Just like on an airplane you have to put your own oxygen mask on first.  

Post # 20
Member
44 posts
Newbee

Hi!

I’m so sorry you are going through this, but on the plus side, I think there are a lot of things that can be done that may help! Here is what I know our diabetes educators like to stress:

1. Education! Every disease is scary and overwhelming when you don’t know what you are dealing with.

The difference between type 1 and type 2 is not very clear from media reports, which only focus on type 2, but type 1 is very different. In type 1, your pacreatic beta cells simply do not make insulin (or nearly enough). Insulin allows glucose– our body’s main energy source– to enter in to the cells so they can work.When this doesn’t happen, all sorts of problems can occur, as you know. Luckily, exogenous insulin is pretty awesome and works very well.

So, it isn’t your FIs fault he was drinking so many sugary drinks that weekend before he was diagnosed In fact, it makes sense:

First, polydipsia (increased thirst) is a hallmark of diabetes type 1. Remember, all that glucose that is supposed to be in your cells is now in your blood, and your blood, which should be say 1% sugar to 99% blood is now like 50% sugar and 50% blood (to make up some ridiculous numbers for the sake of example). His body’s natural instinct it to drink lots of fluids to diluate it and get the balance right again.

Second, As for the suagary drinks– remember, the body is brilliant and dumb at the same time. Those cells know they need sugar, but they don’t know that it is avaliable but unusable. All they know is they want it and no one is giving it to them! So, craving sugar (and the energy they need to run and live!) makes sense.

Sorry to go off, but I thought it was a great example of how helpful it is to know the disease you are facing! I would be mad at my Fiance, too, if I knew he had been doing that, but maybe less made if it made sense why? 

There are a lot of technical terms and complicated regimes and funny things about diabetes. Luckily, every hospital I know has a diabetes educator on staff and runs diabetes education classes. I know the fees are usually pretty manageable– $50 for 3 classes, or something like that. It is not a lot of money considering how much you will save in stress and complications! A good educator can help you understand the disease, the terminology, and the treatment.

2. Support! Chronic diseases are really hard on people. If it makes you feel better, it is my understanding that iis VERY common for young people to rebel against their diets. IT is hard to give up your life as you know it for a disease. In our society, diabetes seems minor compared to some other chronic illnessess, but it doesn’t seem minor when you are the one who has it. There are some great online and in-person support groups, and the american diabetes foundartion is AWESOME as far as resources. Would be be up for joining a diabetes message board as a place to start?

3. TEST THAT SUGAR! I can’t stress this enough. Strips are really expensive, and it sucks, and it isn’t fair that anyone should have to wonder if they can afford to take care of their health (but tha’s a different political rant). However, diabetic complications are very scary and very devistation. You have seen ketoacdosis and poor wound healing– it can happen so easily. It’s not uncommon to lose toes or, yes, legs. And sexual performance can be affected, too…

The insulin pump is a really fantastic option for everyone, but maybe especially for your boyfriend. It keeps your sugar under great control and Again, not cheap, but honestly, I would say forgot the dress, forget the wedding– beg, borrow, or steal the money to get him the treatment he needs. Again, a local diabetes education/american diabetes association chapter might have an idea about option avaliable– drug companies sometimes subsidize the cost of their drugs for lower-income people, there are grants, or government programs if he qualitifes.

Bottom line, though, he needs insulin to live and as a type 1 diabetic, his body does not and won’t ever provide it for him (unlike type 2). The end. 

My heart goes out to you. It sounds like you really love him and want the best for him. I think it would be totally fair to set a boundary– he takes care of himself or you cannot be with him. You can’t watch the guy you love go from one crisis to the next– not fair for you. Be there, support him, go with him to the classess, order the strips for him, etc– but at some point he needs to step up and decide he wants to be well.

 

Post # 21
Member
2490 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

I’m an ER nurse and see poorly managed diabetes all the time. Diabetics that check their sugars regularly, eat well, take care of wounds early, etc can have very long and generally healthy lives. But uncontrolled diabetes is very dangerous. Diabetic ketoacidosis is deadly but it is completely preventable. Perhaps an insulin pump would help him regulate his sugars better rather than shots and insulin pens if he hasn’t tried it before. I know someone that begged the doctors to remove his eye because the nerve pain was so terrible after years of poorly managed diabetes. On the other hand, I know a lot of people that regularly check their sugars and manage the disease very well and they are very happy and healthy! Education and support is key. Good luck with everything!

Post # 22
Member
2782 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

double

Post # 23
Member
2782 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

You have babied him enough, and let’s face it, it’s not working.

He needs to grow up, and frankly, suck it up. Yes, it is not ideal to be diabetic. But it could be a whole lot worse.  And it is going to get a whole lot worse if he doesn’t get his shit together and start taking care of himself. Diabetes is only a death sentence if you allow it to be. He is being incredibly selfish and immature, and he needs to snap out of it.

My sister is diabetic. She was diagnosed at age 11. She leads a completely normal life. She exercises, eats out, spends time with her friends, and has two University degrees. She also tests her blood every day, and manages her diabetes.

He needs to do whatever he can to make this better: go to therapy, get on anti-depressants, whatever. If he is unemployed, then you guys need to research what kind of government assistance is available to him, and this should include a nutritionist. Look into online forums where he can talk to like-minded people…..but SOMETHING. Because literally, if he doesn’t he is actually going to die. I know that’s harsh, but it’s true, and he needs to know it, and realise it. He has the power to change this.

ETA: If he isn’t willing to take care of himself, I would leave. I saw your post about what happened the last time you tried to…but I don’t understand why you went back. He made no effort to take care of himself (in fact, he got worse), and since you came back, things clearly haven’t gotten any better. If he really loved you, he would want a long, healthy life with you. Right now, he is forcing you to be his caregiver for life, and that is not fair to you when he can prevent it, and is just too lazy to do so.

Post # 24
Member
838 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2008

View original reply
@jbbs1222:  He’s covered under his dad’s insurance, that means he’s under 26? You should take that as a real sign that he’s not mature enough to be married and he’s still got a lot of growing up to do if he can’t seem to take charge of his medical care.

Like I said before, medication might be expensive, but a funeral is a lot more than those medications. However, maybe he’s thinking that it’s a one time expense that his parents will have to deal with. He’s not ready to be someone’s fiance or someone’s husband. Sorry.

Post # 25
Member
4997 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

My Fiance is a type 1 diabetic and we know about 20 others so I have a lot of experience in this area! First of all, this is not a death sentence and your Fiance needs to know this! My Fiance has been diabetic for over 10 years, during which he has run 4 marathons, 9 half marathons, and he did an Ironman! He’s been employed full time and never even took a sick day. He is on a pump now and goes to an endocrinologist every 3 months. His A1C was last 6.7 which is pretty low for a diabetic and completely a reflection of how well he takes care of himself. If your Fiance does not change his lifestyle, he will have serious problems.

It sounds like you both seriously need some health education to understand the disease and how to manage it. Even though Type 1 is an autoimmune disease and not caused by poor diet or obesity, it can certainly be affected by diet and exercise. He needs to learn how foods affect him and get really good at estimating carbs. He also needs to get into a regular exercise routine. It almost sounds like he’s a Type 2 who took such poor care of himself that he “turned” to a Type 1 (insulin dependent), so he may see vast improvement with a good diet and exercise. 

I think another really important thing for the two of you is to be able to communicate about his diabetes. He needs to share the information with you and not get irritated if you ask his blood sugar or his A1C from his Dr’s appointment. 

Honestly, for us, diabetes really is not a big part of our lives. Sure it takes him a little longer to start eating dinner since he has to test, sometimes he’ll feel crappy if his blood sugar is high, and he keeps snacks by the bed in case he dips low, but he’s responsible and in control of it so I don’t have to worry too much. He knows that he has to take care of himself for both of us, and our future children. It does not have to be this horrible thing that you’re afraid of and makes you afraid to marry him. You need to have a serious talk with him and make some changes.

Post # 26
Member
7199 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2015

@jbbs1222:  My SO is diabetic as is my little sister. SO’s is pretty much under control with meds. Sister’s is totally out of control Two years ago she was in a coma for 10 days. A few months ago she almost slipped into a coma while alone in Vegas and ended up in the ICU out there. 

The difference between them is that SO sees it as something he has to deal with, so he puts his big boy panties on and does it. He takes his meds. He exercises. He goes to his doctors’ appointments. Sister doesn’t make her health a priority and doesn’t pay attention to the warning signs when things are going wrong. That makes ALL the difference. 

Your man is going to have to make a decision that you and your family are worth him taking care of himself. You can’t make him do it. He has to be a man and take care of himself. 

Post # 28
Member
4997 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

View original reply
@jbbs1222:  I think people may have been suggesting you leave because it sounded like you were only staying because you felt you needed to take care of him. I may be wrong, and I did not suggest you leave, just my thoughts on why they may have said that. Also, regarding the education, that’s just all that was offered to him. He needs to go find it! He can join organizations or read books or go see specialists, whatever but he can’t just sit at home and expect someone to come help him. 

Post # 30
Member
1836 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

a few things…….

 

“if i said he had cancer or something you wouldnt say dump him. his own parents dont even support him and when he is really flat broke wont even help him afford his medications.”

cancer isn’t really the same as diabetes, so idk how you’re comparing them.  he can control his diabetes and live a basically normal life with diabetes.  if you have cancer, you most likely cannot change your habits, take your meds properly, and fix it.  also, it DOES sound like his parents are helping him by keeping him on their insurance.

 

“.for the education thing, the only diabetic education he ever had was when he was first in the hospital when he had it and like i said he was so out of it, he doesnt remember half of it. half the time when the educater came in he was asleep so they told his parents or me and we had to relay it to him.”

as far as this–yes, they should have taught him while he was awake.  that stinks that he didn’t get the education he should have while in the hospital.  that being said, he’s an adult.  he needs to advocate for himself and get the education he needs.

Post # 31
Member
1047 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

It sounds like your Fiance is in that rebellious phase that teenagers with diabetes tend to go through. The bad news is he’s not a teenager anymore. He does need to mature and wise up. He may not feel the side effects of having poor control now, but it will catch up with him, probably in 10 years or so. The problems he will potentially face in future include heart attacks, stroke, peripheral vascular disease (poor blood supply to the legs, potentially leading to him having to have his legs amputated), kidney failure, blindness, nerve damage resulting in uncontrollable pain usually in the feet, decreased immune system and to top it off (this is what usually scares men) impotence! The good news is that if he controls his blood sugars he can avoid most of this. 

 

Youre right that he needs to take better care of his feet, diabetics are really really prone to foot infections, and if he got an infection in his foot that got into the bone (osteomyelitis) he’ll either need to be on intravenous antibiotics for over a month or to have his foot amputated. 

Insulin pumps work well, but the user has to be committed to them – you need to carbohydrate count so you know how much insulin you need to take with meals, and you need to monitor your blood sugars very closely. 

Please encourage your Fiance to check his sugar levels more closely – it’s incredibly unsafe not to check before you inject insulin as you could drop your sugar level dangerously low (hypoglycaemia or “hypo”). This can be rapidly fatal in severe cases, or lead to seizures and potentially brain damage. 

 

 

I think looking into support groups and education is a good idea, but it needs to come from your Fiance. Only he has the power to change, and if he doesn’t really want to then its not going to happen. By all means find information to give him, but he has to be the one to use it. 

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