How Caretaking for My Diabetic Partner Almost Ruined Us

Most Type 1 diabetics are diagnosed at a young age; my boyfriend was diagnosed at the age of 29. He didn’t “get” diabetes because he was overweight or unhealthy. It was a freak situation; he was genetically predisposed to diabetes. It was triggered later in life after the antibodies protecting him from a cold fit like a jigsaw piece into his body’s autoimmune system to shut down his pancreas.

He experienced a seizure from lethal high blood sugar levels and was admitted to the ICU unit for three days. He was given very basic information about his disease and was discharged with not much more than some elementary pamphlets on carb counting and an insulin pen. Like many hospitals across the country, our local hospital was understaffed and specialists were hard to find. We were terrified to be sent off into the world with his life depending on a liquid-filled, spring loaded insulin pen that he had to stab into his belly five times a day.

When he was first diagnosed with an incurable autoimmune disease, we went into it pragmatically, we took it day by day with little thought about what our future looked like. We showed up to numerous different doctor appointments where we were given more pamphlets and asked so many questions that seemingly had no answers. It felt like diabetes filled every moment of our lives. We talked about it at every meal; scheduling appointments with specialists filled our lunch breaks at work, and it became a weekly task to fight with insurance companies, a group that is not well known for protecting the most vulnerable members of society.

We entered into the rigorous learning process together and saw many different areas of our life change, virtually overnight. It changed our diet, our social habits and our exercise routines. For my partner and myself, it also radically changed our previously adventurous traveling lifestyle. So many aspects of our relationship have changed in a short amount of time. However difficult it felt at times, I was committed to working through it.

It is difficult to be a caregiver to your significant other when they are afflicted with an incurable disease or illness. In the diabetic community, the significant others of diabetic patients are called “Type 3 diabetics” because they are also affected by the disease. As his partner, it is frustrating to be his nurse, his chef, his therapist and still be his fun and sexy girlfriend. It takes a lot of planning to make sure that he is healthy and has everything he needs to maintain stable blood sugar levels. I felt that a lot of that responsibility somehow fell on me whether he asked me to help or not. As his partner, I naturally wanted to take care of him and help him through this hard time. It put a strain on our relationship that he sensed before I ever felt it become a problem.

He took it upon himself create a support network. To take the pressure off of our relationship, he began find help from other sources to alleviate the stress caused by the diagnosis. He went to see a dietician to learn more about how food would affect him, and he took it upon himself to cook more of his own meals. The biggest game changer was when he began to see a counselor. Having an outlet eased a lot of the anxiety he felt as a result of his recent diagnosis and the unsettling realization of of his own mortality. As much as I wanted to be his everything, it saved our relationship when he sought out help from others than just myself.

Life began to start to feel normal again. We went back to enjoying being in our late twenties and having fun. Mortality was very much off our radar while climbing mountains together, adventuring and getting back to exploring the places we love. The only catch was that we had to be a little more prepared. Our backpacks were a little heavier with ice packs stuffed into hydro flasks that hold and chill his insulin, as well as a large number of snacks to choose from if his blood sugar gets too low.

He still leans on me when he is feeling emotionally low, as well as when he is feeling like garbage because his blood sugar is low. Now that he has created a circle of support, I get to support him as a loved one, rather than like his nurse. It can be difficult to be a caretaker to my boyfriend at times, but in some ways I feel it has made our partnership stronger. His ability to establish his independence while managing an incurable autoimmune disease only highlighted why I chose him as my life partner to begin with.

W.M. Chandler is a Colorado native and works best with her head in the clouds. She is an avid researcher and enjoys writing about unfamiliar subjects. She writes passionately about nature and theoutdoors, human connections and relationships, nutrition and politics. Follow her on Twitter: @wmchandler1212.


Lucy L
Lucy L3 days ago

2015 me and my husband suffered from LUPUS(chronic autoimmune disease). it happened a few months after i got married to my husband. i found out that i got LUPUS and i was confirm positive and was perplexed, so angry and then i had to convince my husband to go test himself and when he did, he was also found positive and then it was dawn completely on me that me and my husband is having LUPUS . i went out in search of a solution despite my doctor told me that there was no remedy to curing me and my husband LUPUS . When i was searching, i found out there so many testimonies about perfect health herbal medicine home helping others to be cured of LUPUS (chronic autoimmune disease) . I instantly write down their email and purchase herbal medicine for lupus (chronic autoimmune disease),then they sent the herbal medicine to us through courier service,when i received the herbal medicine, I used it as he instructed.all our symptoms disappear after 3 weeks of usage,so 4 weeks later they asked me and my husband to go for check up, when we did the check up me and my husband was tested LUPUS (chronic autoimmune disease) Negative, we are so happy, and I can not stop thanking perfect health herbal medicine home, we are going to live the rest of our life in joy and happiness.please this testimony is real.
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Roberto M
Roberto MARINI5 days ago

thank you, diabetic patients need more care!

iloshechka A
iloshechka A8 days ago


Rosslyn O
Rosslyn O9 days ago

Actually Heather G, it is about all I hear about from people these days as well, non stop complaining. When they finish their list of aches and pains, I add "Well at least you know your still alive for another beautiful day" and smile. Most get the hint of truth. I want to thank you for this article as we have love ones in our family that were likewise born with type 1 and it did seem to overwhelm the our family at first but support is a wonderful thing, and they have been married for almost 40 years now....Francesca P. flagged

heather g
heather g9 days ago

I often think of my parents who have both passed on after living long lives. In his older age, my father once said : "It's bad manners to talk about your health problems." Now that I'm retired I hear people complaining about their health issues every day, yet they don't exercise, they eat meat and junk foods, and when you see them again, they're using a walker - even in their 50's. I am fortunate that my parents were good role models.....

Leo C
Leo C10 days ago

Thank you for posting!

ANA MARIJA R10 days ago

Well done both of you. ♡♡

Danuta W
Danuta W11 days ago

thanks for sharing

Jewel C
Jewel C11 days ago

my bf and I were in a relationship for 4 years.
and he I caught him cheating with another girl for 2 months. I was devastated. and I was in such a mental condition, that I called his parents up and said everything. I pleaded him and asked him what went wrong in our relationship. but he denied to tell me anything. he said he want breakup. and his new gf called me up each day and abused me verbally. I was trying to move on. but the love i have for him was too much. i was frustrated. looking for help to get my bf back one day looking on my internet i come across a product of a page and graphic of love spell on how to get ex back,stop your husband for cheating, restored broken marriage and stop divorced also get your wife back. so i have no choice coz i love my bf and i want him back from that woman i directly give a contact on this product graphic page, and to the promise of it,after the love spell my bf call me,text me and i I replied him as I would never accept him. but he continues begging seeking for apology. for what he did to me, meanwhile my bf sends me friend requests on Facebook… and calls me up the other day.and i respond to him, with this i was so very happy that my bf really change for the bad he was to see me back as his only one gf so that is how i gave him another chance? all thanks to this product page and graphic love spell coz it really help and work for me i promise to keep sharing his page if you have any simila

Elaine W
Elaine W11 days ago

Love can conquer adversity but it is a lot of work sometimes. Well done.