I usually like to tell the cheerful stories. But the fact is, sometimes bad things happen to people because they have diabetes (or other chronic diseases; see yesterday’s Forbes article Your Job or Your Life). So while I’m on a roll here addressing the downer side of life, allow me to share one reader’s not-so-happy story (originally submitted as a counterpoint to the Diabetic Partner Follies):
I don’t have a partner now, but I did at the time I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 28. I don’t know if you would want to put this on your site or not, it is not a supportive story, but I just thought I’d offer a “flip side” of this situation.
When I was 28 years of age I was involved with a man who earned his living working for a small business that made prosthetic limbs. We had been together a couple of years, and had lived together for around 9 months. We were having problems, so I had moved back out. I was on the verge of completely ending it if things didn’t change. This man simply had no tact or empathy when it came to others, I had started to feel that the only reason we were together as far as he was concerned was that if we broke up it meant that he had “failed” at something. He started seeing a behavioral psychologist, so I was sticking around to see if things would get better.
I scheduled my annual physical
exam for May of 1998. Before my appointment I hadn’t really noticed
anything unusual, but I’m not very observant. My coworkers, on the other
hand, had pointed out that I was going to the bathroom about every 45
minutes, seemed tired and irritable all the time, and seemed to have lost a
lot of weight. Then I realized that I was also drinking a lot more fluids
than normal, and eating 3 times as much as usual. I was always hungry.
But when I weighed myself I had dropped from 115 pounds down to 88
pounds. This was a couple days before my annual physical exam. One of
my coworkers who has Type 2 diabetes brought up diabetes to me and told
me I should get tested for that. When I went in for my physical I
mentioned my signs and symptoms and asked them to test me for diabetes.
The doctor said it was unlikely as I was too old for Juvenile Diabetes and way too thin for Type 2 Diabetes. They didn’t even want to bother testing me, but I insisted. A week later I went back to get my test results and they were convinced I must have Type 2 because of my age. They started me on pills which, needless to say, didn’t do anything. It took them a few more weeks to get all the tests back that showed my “average” levels of around 1000, and my A1c of 19! They were surprised I was even walking around at that point; they said I should have been in a coma.
At any rate, of course when I was first diagnosed with diabetes the first thing I did was call my boyfriend for support. I was in shock and scared beyond belief, crying and upset. I told him I had diabetes, but they weren’t sure which type yet. His response to me was “Well, at least you’ll keep me in busy when you lose your limbs, more than half of our business is from diabetics.”
I had never been so hurt in all my life! Here I went to him for support, caring and loving and he said something so tactless and so cruel to me. I hung up the phone and I never spoke to him again, that was over 8 years ago. I think that was the most hurtful thing ever said to me in all of my life.
Since that point in time I have tried to have a relationship with others, but it seems I have not been so lucky as I’ve had more than one relationship end because after the person learned what my future could be like since I have Type 1 diabetes, they decided that was too much of a burden for them. I know that others have been successful in finding a decent, caring and loving significant other after having developed diabetes, but truth be told at age 36 with no possibility of having children and a possibly very dismal future ahead, I don’t hold out much hope that I will find someone who wants to stick around. I’m not bitter, as it happens I love my solitude anyway, but it would be nice to find someone.
In all honesty, I didn’t know quite how to respond to Melissa. Maybe some of you can offer words of encouragement here. Isn’t that what the OC is all about?