The Diabetic Partner Follies, Act 17 — Knowing is Half the Battle

Hello again here at the Diabetic Partner Follies, where people who live with and love the PWDs (people with diabetes) are invited to share their stories and vent, if needed.

Today, a woman who prefers to remain anonymous explains how she and her boyfriend are learning to cope with this disease together — with the emphasis on learning.

Remember, if you’d like to submit something to the Follies (post, link, video, you name it), email me your submission HERE. Onward:

Dear Amy:

My boyfriend is Type 1. Before I met him almost 4 years ago, I knew next to nothing about diabetes. He has always insisted that he can feel when his blood glucose is high or low, and that he doesn’t need to test that often. He limits his sugar intake and takes insulin twice a day, so I assumed he had it under control.

Our relationship is a very close one, but once in a while he will have these mood swings out of nowhere. He gets depressed, just wants to be left alone, feels like everything and everyone is against him. During these mood swings, he often tells me he has a feeling that I don’t love him anymore or that I’m seeing someone behind his back. He feels his life is a mess and that everything is going wrong.

Then, just as suddenly as it came on, the depression will lift and everything is fine again. I never understood what was happening. I knew he loved me, but I didn’t understand how he could go from the perfect boyfriend to someone who couldn’t even stand to be in the same room as me (or anyone else for that matter), with no warning and seemingly for no reason.

This past spring, he began suffering from diabetic neuropathy. The pain got so bad that he had to quit his job. He could barely get out of bed most days. With no insurance, he couldn’t afford to go to the doctor and get any kind of medication for his pain. I started doing a lot of research online about his disease. I found out that the longer someone has diabetes, the less able they are to feel when their glucose is high or low. I found out that tight control of blood glucose is a key factor in preventing or easing the pain of neuropathy. I got him a new glucose monitor and, after quite a bit of nagging on my part, he has begun using it. I read some research about supplements which also help with neuropathy. He has been taking Benfotiamine, alpha-lipoic acid, and acetl L-carnitine. He even agreed to try a vegan diet. His leg pain is almost gone and he is keeping his glucose levels under much better control.

Throughout these
past few months, as I was learning about his disease and keeping track of his
glucose highs and lows, I noticed that his mood swings always came when his
blood sugar was low. Then, when I found your website, I literally cried I was
so relieved. I had been struggling alone for so long, trying to figure out why
my wonderful boyfriend was occasionally and inexplicably a jerk. After seeing
your website, I realized that there are other people going through the same
struggles.

The last time he had a low, and he said that he didn’t feel like I loved him and that his whole life was a mess, I asked him to check his blood sugar. I told him that I suspected that when he had these sudden feelings of depression, it was due to his glucose level. I asked him to allow me to be more involved in managing his diabetes, and I suggested that whenever he has these feelings he should check his blood sugar.

It was like a huge weight was lifted off of both of us. Now that we knew WHY he had these “episodes,” we could deal with them together.

Our relationship has become even closer, as we address each new challenge together. Thank you so much for providing a forum for the partners of people struggling with this disease to share their stories. I can’t tell you how much it has helped me to know that I am not alone.

Sincerely,

– A.G. (anonymous girlfriend)

Thank you for sharing, A.G., as you stated to hopefully “make someone else feel less alone.”

Advertisement

9 Responses

  1. RichW
    RichW November 2, 2007 at 9:07 am | | Reply

    A.G.

    I understand how your boyfriend feels during those low blood sugar bouts. For about a year now I have had these feeling of overwhelming dread when my blood sugar goes low. It’s a terrible feeling. I feel like I could jump off a bridge (well almost). I know it’s due to a chemical imbalance in the brain resulting from the low glucose levels in the brain. I can completely understand how a person with chronic depression feels. I’ve been diabetic for 25 years and the feeling of dread is a new phenomenon for me. Your boyfriend’s symptoms may change at some time. In the past I’ve had feeling of panic, paranoia, and just plain old fatigue. The continuous glucose monitoring systems can assist with avoiding those lows but I understand the expense may be too high. I wish you both a wonderful future together. It’s a tough battle but it sounds like you have it under control.

    Rich

  2. Cara
    Cara November 2, 2007 at 4:20 pm | | Reply

    Bless her. She’s having to live with diabetes too, and she doesn’t even have it. But thank goodness she just didn’t give up on him. She’s now willing to help and be a part of diabetes with him. And that will be such an improvement for them both. I wish them both luck, good health, and happy years together.

  3. Hannah
    Hannah November 2, 2007 at 4:43 pm | | Reply

    AG–my husband always asks me to check my blood sugar when I’m cranky, and 9 times out of 10 it’ll be high!

    There’s always something new to learn with diabetes, and I hope you and your boyfriend continue to learn together.

    Also, keep an eye on his bouts of depression. People with diabetes are more prone to clinical depression, so if his numbers improve but his mood doesn’t, you’ll know what to do.

  4. Sunil S Chiplunkar
    Sunil S Chiplunkar November 2, 2007 at 11:03 pm | | Reply

    HATS OFF TO AG for her dedicated love to her boyfriend. God bless them. I will suggest them to consider Ganoderma capsules as a supportive supplement. Hats off to Amy too for her service to diabetics worldover through her blog. The way conversations and research is taking place it will be perhaps only 10 years down the line when diabetes will get completely conquered by humanity.

  5. Sarah
    Sarah November 3, 2007 at 12:18 am | | Reply

    A.G., you are an amazing person. I wish you all the best and that both you and your boyfriend have the brightest future ahead of you. Living with diabetes (Type 1 in particular) is a nightmare at times. But partners like you keep us long-timers going. I cannot imagine not having my fiance (husband in less than 2 months!) to help me battle this horrible disease.

    You are awesome, and your boyfriend I’m sure loves you very much.

    To the A.G.s of this world, thank you.

  6. Jim
    Jim November 3, 2007 at 5:48 am | | Reply

    Boyfriend: You need to test a minimum of 5-7 times per day – it is well established that diabetics can’t “know” their blood sugar level by “feeling.”

    Sure, when blood sugar is extremely low the body reacts, but the whole point is to normalize your blood sugar within an acceptable range, and that can’t happen without testing.

    The neuropathy developed because your blood sugar has been too high for far too long. If you don’t get this under control, bad moods will be the least of your problems – try amputation, heart disease, erectile disfunction or blindness….

    Amy (T1) tests 10 times per day, I (T2) test 7 times per day on the average.

    We often want to deny that we have a real, chronic disease by foregoing testing, but it just can’t be done. Diabetes can be managed, though, with work, discipline and knowledge.

    Your girlfriend is NOT your mother, and you need to own this yourself, and do the work yourself. Until there is a flat out cure, you’ll be doing the work for the rest of your life – the kind of life you have depends upon how well you manage this.

    Good luck, and get to work!

  7. Nicki
    Nicki February 23, 2008 at 7:10 am | | Reply

    My boyfriend (or should I say ex-boyfriend now…) found out he has type 1 diabetes right before we moved in together (about 3 months ago). At first he wanted my help, and allowed me in. Then moving in brought more responsibilty on both our ends (support for one another, finances, just balancing our careers and social life)..he then started to push me away more and more. He wouldn’t tell me when his sugar was low. When it was he wouldn’t even allow me to get him juice. The more he pushed me away, the more I wanted to be closer to him (and even felt needy). Two weeks ago he broke up with me (a night when his sugar was very low). Although we were fighting, I just don’t understand why he literally no longer wanted me in his life.

  8. xzz0195
    xzz0195 March 24, 2008 at 11:18 am | | Reply

    I’m new to the “D” world with a DX this past Decmeber as a Type II.

    I know I have mood swings, and am trying to control my reaction to them. However, when I go low which I do sometimes, there’s little control one can have. It’s mostly a panic situation.

    When I’m high or there’s a big swing low to high or high to low. I seem to loose patience. I become easily irritated and cranky.

    I’m trying to learn how to maintain BG levels, how to react to the feelings, and in general how to live a good full happy life. This darn disease is a P.O.S. I’m not going to let it run me.

  9. Fernando Macias
    Fernando Macias March 25, 2008 at 12:22 am | | Reply

    Is it just me, or do other people have problems when it comes to ordering diabetic supplies through Medicare participant companies. If I want to order test strips of a particular brand, I can’t because I have to use their meter. I recently used a company that was so grossly negligent about calling me and delivering supplies that I think they should of lost their license. although Medicare won’t do that sort of thing to them. So I wrote my congressman and he wrote back saying he will keep me informed on the response of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, as their process is currently ongoing. If there is any one else out there with similar problems I would like to here from you.

Leave a Reply