My long term boyfriend who is 22 has recently been diagnosed with diabetes type 1 within the past month. I care deeply for him and while he is staying extremely positive and vigilant with his diet and blood sugar, I am having a difficult time coping. I am considering marrying him and my parents are giving me a terrible time about it-- they are concerned we will not have a normal relationship due to the diabetes and that the complications he may develope will make for a very difficult life together.
Besides the pressure from my well-intentioned parents, I am having an emotional roller coaster ride all on my own. I am TERRIFIED of potential complications and I absoutely hate reading that even if blood-sugar levels are monitored, complications may still ensue. I've just been feeling hopeless. I have been reading the posts on this website and the only comfort I have found so far is when I have read stories about old type 1 patients without complications. Please offer some sort of advice as to how I can stay positive and happy. He doesn't necesarily have to develop these awful complications right?
There is no doubt that he and you both are going through a difficult transition. Accepting that you have a lifelong chronic condition that could potentially cause serious complications is not easy. And for you, you are understandably wondering what you are getting yourself into and maybe feeling guilty for those feelings at the same time. Don't feel guilty for ANYTHING you feel, feelings are just feelings. How you handle them is what matters. I would be lying if I said that Type 1 diabetes isn't a life changer; it is. Life will never be the same and he will have to spend time each day focusing on diabetes management. How he eats will change. It is not possible to ignore the life changes of type 1 diabetes.
That being said, though, complications are NOT inevitable. The key is to maintain blood sugar within target range as much as possible. An occasional high kind of comes with the territory of type 1 diabetes, but it is prolonged periods of time spent high that lead to complications. What is important is to be on the most updated regimen of insulin use which is either MDIs with a basal/bolus combination or a pump. He also has to learn to figure his Insulin: Carb ratio to compute mealtime boluses and to correct for highs. It's a lot to learn at once. I highly recommend the book Using Insulin by John Walsh. Many many people live a long and healthy life with type 1 diabetes and they are coming up with new technology all the time. If I was 22 and diagnosed today I would feel very hopeful.
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