Forgive me, I've been writing this for two hours with a headache so if it doesn't make sense... or I've spelled things wrong, sound like a goober... please be kind. :)
Hi everybody... I'm "the girlfriend!"
There's so much I've wanted to respond to- whether it was about diabetic's getting married or finding accepting significant others to my boyfriend/girlfriend doesn't get it. Being the girlfriend of a Type 1 for over a year now, maybe I can provide some insight on behalf of everyone else's significant others. Or maybe it'll just be my insight... but hopefully you'll be able to get something out of it?
First things first, there are a lot of selfish, superficial people in the world. People that are going to think diabetes is weird, or that you're going to hold their life back? Or something? I really don't know what these people think because I DON'T UNDERSTAND THEM!??? :) So, don't take what they say to heart. And for the love of banana-lovin' monkeys in Uganda, DON'T DATE THEM! :) Becaaaaaaaaause...
There are also a lot of wonderful people in the world, too! In fact, I like to think they outweigh the bad ones. :) Encouraging, loving, selfless people that just want to love you- whether it's family or friends, boyfriends or girlfriends... people that THINK YOU'RE A GIFT. So to the diabetics who are looking for soulmates or the highschoolers that are afraid to tell the girl they like, you WILL find the right person when it's the right time. In the meantime, try to look for the good ones and keep livin' your life! Keep having dreams & goals & adventures, do something different... do things that scare you. At least that's how I met my honey... I was at rockbottom in my own life & I decided to do a marathon for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. He ended up donating from thousands of miles away. We began writing each other & became friends... and the rest is history. :)
I say all this because I LOVE my boyfriend. When you care about someone, diabetes just doesn't matter. It matters in the grand scheme of your life together, of course, but you don't view that person as undateable or weird or less of a person. You just love them because you can't help it. You care about them. And you'd give everything in the world to be supportive of that person, to see that person's dreams come true- whether diabetes related or not. My honey, Mattie, is ridiculously sweet (diabetics=num!), so super loving, goofy, freakin' brilliant (hello, financial analyst!)... oh yeah... and he has diabetes. That's kind of how it went. Basically, I fell in love with HIM not a disease. He is a guy that happens to be diabetic. It's NOT what defines him. If it was, I wouldn't have dated him. And he does his absolute best to manage his blood levels. He's awesome about it and I appreciate it sooo much!!!
I also had a lot of learning to do! I had nooooooooo idea what diabetics go through. All I knew is that back in 3rd grade one of my classmates with diabetes, Ian, couldn't have cupcakes when anyone brought them in to school for their birthday. :( I remember my mom bringing in sugar-free gum for him instead. I figured a lot had changed since then. I thought diabetes was completely manageable as in you take a pill & you're good for the day. WRONG. I had no idea a diabetic had to be so aware all of the time. In today's day in age, that just seems crazy. Hopefully not for too much longer. :) :) :)
This may sound absolutely nuts... But I view it as a gift (in some ways) that he has diabetes. Because you HAVE to be selfless, you HAVE to be there for that person in uncomfortable situations. For me to see him that vulnerable, for him to see me so supportive... it makes our love very deep, very real. It intensifies your relationship. It has to. It's life & death. You get to find out in a short amount of time if that person your dating has your back. And as the girlfriend, I got to learn just how much I loved this man. And I am soooo blessed to be in such a beautiful relationship! Sheesh... all the "haters" are missin' out. Whatevs. :)
So long story short... don't waste your time with people that don't have the capacity to understand. Dating a diabetic can be a struggle but you know what? I'm not perfect either! And how BLESSED am I that he sees ME through rose colored glasses? Thank ya Jesus, thank ya Lawd!!! ;) I've taken on his diabetes... he's taken on my credit card debt, my flightiness, my long distance, etc, etc... Everybody has something they'd like to hide from the world... or just the juventation forum. ;) Besides the fact, you never know what life is going to hand you... I could end up with breast cancer at 40. That would totally suck but at least I'd know our love was strong enough to deal with it. Dating a diabetic has also helped me to realize every day we get to breathe is a gift...
Should diabetics get married?? Hellz yeah!!! Or I'm screwed!!! ;) No, OF COURSE THEY SHOULD!! Although you are all strong enough to handle this disease on your own, it's just nice knowing that someone is there... I WILL say getting used to dating a diabetic has been interesting. :) I remember the first time my mom met Matt. We flew out for a week to upstate New York and we get there, chat that night with my mom... Next morning, BAM. Worst low spell I had yet seen. He hadn't woken up yet (strange), so I checked on him... I had to pinch him, yell at him, shake him for the longest time to get him conscious enough to even drink orange juice. When he finally did come to, he was this nasty grumpy 6 year old that just wanted to go back to sleep. He was aggressive, he pushed me around really hard, he was mean & tried to bite me... which looking back on it, is kinda funny & adorable (yes, I understand the severity of the situation, I don't mean to make light of that) but there's no humor whatsoever when you're really scared and you're mom is standing there like, "What IS this? Do I need to call an ambulence???" Oh & we're supposed to go see a realtor in 20 minutes. NICE.
Long story short, eventually Matt comes to... drinks a ton of juice... 20 minutes later he's bouncing around singing Xanadu, happy as a clam, & my mom looks at me like, "Does he have a clue what just happened here? Do you really want to go through this the rest of your life? Has he even thanked you?" Long story short. No he doesn't have a clue what happened here. Yes, I want to go through the rest of my life "like this" (you know what I mean). And no he hasn't thanked me. But at this point in our relationship I know him. I know he's just happy being happy at the moment. And I'm happy for him, too! And I know the thank yous will come later as they have in the past. And I'm just so thankful he's okay. My mom, on the other hand, has known him all of 10 hours... so she just didn't know. And that's okay, too. How would she know? Didn't really want to smack her in the face with a low spell Day 1 but that's just how we did it that day... :) And my mom means well... She only wants to make sure I'm happy & appreciated. She doesn't want me to lose myself, taking care of a guy who doesn't thank me or isn't aware of how great I am (ha ha). I wouldn't stick around for that either! But she gets it better now... and everday I get it more & more, too. :)
I'm soooo happy to take care of my man. But there are also ways you guys & gals can help take care of us! YAY!!! I thought I'd bring that up, too. ;)
1) Be aware that it affects us, too. After a low spell, Matt typically feels great, as I just said. He's energized & ready to take on the world. I, on the other hand... am exhausted & still feel traumatized. To go through that experience is incredibly scary. Not only were you just super panicked and your heart was racing out of your chest... but to actually see you physically in an altered state can be really scary. It's haunting. You don't ever want to see the people you love not look like themselves. So just know, you may feel great... but the person in your life may need a good hug or a cry...
There is a level of panic and worry that I'm still learning to deal with. Mattie & I are long distance which SUPER SUCKS for a ton of reasons. But one is that I'm not there all of the time. Something goes wrong, I can't just leave work & drive to him. I remember, once I got a phone call from a couple of friends that he was supposed to meet up with. They get to his place & he's not waking up. They leave me a voicemail asking if I know what to do. I'm at the movies with my phone off watching, of all things, 800 hour long 'Benjamin Button'... So they end up calling the EMT... When I finally check my messages I freak out because a) I don't know what's happened, b) I wanted to know three hours ago and c) Everything's fine now, EMT's came & he's happy as a clam. When to me, I'm freaking out thinking, "What if this time was it??" What if his friends hadn't shown up? It's TERRIFYING. And granted, I really have learned (& sometimes relearn) to let go of the fear. But it's just part of the learning...
**Also know that I don't mean to belittle what YOU GUYS go through. What we go thru is incomparable to what you go through. I'm just sharing experiences & trying to see how long I can make this post.** ;)
2) Listen to us. We're not always right. You HAVE dealt with the disease longer than we have (for me, anyway). But sometimes we can see your patterns better than you can. Sometimes your personality, stubborn traits, rationalization can get in the way. Ex (Sorry, honey!): I've discovered that after Matt's spin class, his sugar drops a TON in a very short amount of time. Matt has done exceptionally well in the losing weight department. Having lost over 100 pounds, he's a tad obsessed about his fitness & nutrition regimens... This is a good thing for him because it keeps him healthy (not to mention it completely inspires me!!) But this sucks because he gets super low after spin. Duh! Of course he would. BUT! He seems to think that he can eat his regular low-calorie stuff after spin & be fine for the day. Ummm, no. He needs to eat either more calories OR eat more often after losing 1200 calories in a spin class. (He works out like a psycho champ). And he doesn't understand (STILL!) why he konks out all day on Saturday... or ends up with crazy blood sugar levels. I tell him this every Saturday & it's like he's hearing it for the first time. It's SUPER frustrating. (Love you, honey!) ;)
3) Be prepared and manage well. THE most important thing you can do. DO WHAT YOU CAN DO. :) I think your family & friends, spouses, others... hear 'I'll be fine' a lot... 'I'll be okay' or 'I can wait' when they start to get low. Please, please, please, always, always, always have something with you to eat. Please, please, please don't wait thinking you'll be okay. You may have been okay in the past. But what I've learned from this disease... is that as soon as you manage it & think you have it figured out, it rears its ugly head again & you have to relearn everything. Don't take ANY chances. (ESPECIALLY WHEN DRIVING). Out of respect for us... for the strangers that have to call 911 in the supermarket when you've passed out... for the EMT's that are out saving lives... it is ALWAYS better safe than sorry. It's also responsible and respectful. **Please keep in mind... I am NOT talking about situations where you've done everything you can & you still have some crazy experience. I am completely aware those things happen. All I'm saying is that I don't mind calling the EMT for those things. I WILL mind if you've just been really stupid & careless. Let me also mention that Mattie rules & is really awesome about managing his levels. It is very rare that my "I get drunk from one drink" boyfriend throws caution to the wind, buys a bottle of wine and a bottle of champagne, drinks both bottles at one in the morning, drunk dials his girlfriend saying he still plans to take his spinning class tomorrow & study... HA! Right. THEN wonders why he feels "pokey" the next day, doesn't go to spin & doesn't get his studying done. Hmmm... very rare. *sigh* :) :) :)
HOLY CRAP! It's 3:30... I'm so gonna be a zombie tomorrow. I'm gonna post this & go to bed. What's truly scary is that I know there's more to say. HA! My brain is utterly fried. But thanks for reading, everybody! I hope you've gotten something out of this... I hope I haven't pissed anybody off... I hope my boyfriend still loves me (*meep*- I used him for a lot of examples!!) and I hope you all have gotten more sleep than I will be getting tonight. Hee hee.
Love & blessings,