In love with a Type 1 diabetic.. please help me out guys

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ragman
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 2/9/2006 10:29 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi everyone.
 
First of all, to all the diabetics on this forum, I really admire you all and I wish you all well in managing this disease.
 
Now, the basic point of this topic is what I mention in the title. I am a young guy (23) and I am falling for a fantastic young woman (also 23) who happens to have type 1 diabetes. I love her and I am going to ask her to marry me... but I would really like some help so i can know whats in store for us as a couple and a family. I have some questions if you guys can please help me out..
 
First of all, whats the life expectancy for a type 1 diabetic who maintains good glycemic control? How about for someone who is not as strict as they should be? Obviously this is not something that I could bring up with her.. I dont want to make her disease an issue, and I think it would be cruel of me to rub her own mortality in her face..
 
Secondly, i would like to know whether there are any promising cures coming on the horizon for type 1 diabetes and whether I can expect them to be rolled out during my lifetime with her, or better yet, whether i can expect them within the next few years
 
Third and finally, for now.. Insulin treatment through syringes vs. insulin pump. Which do you think is better and why? (this is primarily aimed at the type 1 diabetics out there)
 
I understand the dietary sacrifices I will have to make (theres no way I will subject her to watching me eat cake and ice cream all day while she goes low carb). I understand the expenses and limitations associated with the disease. I am willing to make all those sacrifices and more for her, its nothing compared to what she goes through on a daily basis. But the life and death component is something I just cant talk to her about under normal circumstances because I dont want her to feel bad.. So any advice would be greatly appreciated

Claire-Bear
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 242
   Posted 2/10/2006 2:08 AM (GMT -7)   

Hi Ragman,

I'm a 26yr old t1 diabetic, and I've recently got engaged so I guess I'm as good as anyone to give you advice!!

Well, life expectency is the same as anyone else I guess.  If you don't look after yourself you are asking for trouble, but then some people look after themselves perfectly and get run over by a bus!  This is only as big an issue as you make it.  If your girlfriend looks after herself and is sensible about this (but of course, not being too strict as this I think will lead to unhappiness) then she is doing the best she can.  If you read back to some other threads, I posted one about a website that records stories of other diabetics - there is a story about one lady who was diagnosed as t1 in the 1920's and is still going strong!  There are plenty of scare stories around too, but the best we can do is try to be optimistic about all this.

As for a cure - don't hold your breath.  Presume there isn't going to be one soon.  There really isn't anything on the horizon that I know of.  There is the pancreas transplant, but then the person would have to take anti-rejection drugs for the rest of their life (which, funnily enough, can cause diabetes). 

There's the insulin inhaler, but this still doesn't seem able to give an accurate dose.  We all just have to keep looking after ourselves the best we can.

Now, insulin - I am on the insulin pen and to be honest I take about 5 shots a day (sometimes less, sometimes more).  If you've read through some of the previous threads you will realise that one treatment that works for one person may not necessarily be the right one for someone else - you and your partner would be best of speaking to a professional about treatment regime. 

about the dietry sacrifices you will have to make - following a diabetic 'diet' is basically a healthy eating plan for anyone.  It will probably do you good to eat like this but a diabetic can eat almost anything as long as it's in moderation and is done sensibly.  It's a question of balance (i.e. eating a small portion of cake or ice-cream after a meal, with maybe a little extra insulin).

Sorry for the long essay here!  I understand this must be at the very least worring for you, if not frightening, but don't let it get the better of you.  We all need to face our own mortality at some point, and as I diabetic I've had to face it sooner than a lot of people I know.  But with modern day treatments there's no reason why your g/f shouldn't live a long and happy life.  I hope this reassures you!

Claire x


ragman
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 2/10/2006 8:17 AM (GMT -7)   

thanks for your reassurance and advice claire, and congratulations on your engagement!

You seem to be in a similar boat.. obviously you take an interest in your diabetes, so I assume you maintain your blood glucose to a decent degree and exercise, etc. I have a question for you though, and please if you feel its too personal or you dont want to discuss it, just ignore it- I totally understand. You're 26... at this point in your life, have you experienced any diabetes complications? Like loss of sensation, retinopathy, or anything else? One of the things that really terrifies me is seeing her suffer through a long and painful ordeal.. From what I've read, most of this stuff can be put off for many decades or even forever through good diet and lifestyle choices, is that true???


devine007
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 76
   Posted 2/10/2006 9:30 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Ragman, I just thought I'd add a little something too. Claire gave some excellent advice! As for you second question, I'm 25 and have been type one for 24 years with ZERO complications. My A1cs are perfect and I am now pregnant with our second child. I don't really even have to be that strict, I just live a healthy lifestyle. Also my husband doesn't worry about making food sacrifices, I do all the grocery shopping and I always make sure I buy junk that I can eat too even if it means taking more insulin. There's no reason why we can't have ice cream too, just take the insulin to cover it! I hope this helps, Robyn

ragman
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 2/10/2006 9:40 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi robyn.
 
I am glad to hear that you are healthy, and thanks for your reassurances. Good luck with your pregnancy. I have a couple of questions on that... is pregnancy more complicated because of diabetes? Secondly, does your first child have type 1 as well? I know there is a genetic component to type 1 diabetes but I dont know how strong it is... I've heard stuff like how it 'skips a generation' or that its mostly totally random, and alot of other stuff.. I would like some input on that if possible (obviously i'm thinking about my own future kids here)
 
Thanks everyone for your input and help

Jeannie143
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 6056
   Posted 2/10/2006 9:56 AM (GMT -7)   
Good news is showing up on the horizon in research, too. In the Dec issue of Scientific American there is an article about research going on right now at the University of Alberta in Edmonton where scientists are using growth facors to induce remaining beta cells, no matter how few to start growing new ones. Phase II human trials of gastrin and EGF (growth signaling factors) began in August and there should be some results available by this spring. Researcher in charge is Alex Rabinovitch. This is really promising research. It means that some type II diabetics may be able to go off insulin and many type I may be able to use less. Here's hoping!
~ Jeannie

"People are like stained glass windows: they sparkle and shine when the sun's out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light within."

- Elizabeth Kubler-Ross


devine007
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 76
   Posted 2/10/2006 4:31 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi ragman, pregnancy isn't necessarily more complicated, but it does involve a little extra care. The hormones in the placenta can sort of reject insulin, so there is lots of testing involved and you usually have to take a little more insulin. And you want to keep as level of sugars as possible to avoid having a really big baby. The sugars make the baby grow, so if you keep them fairly level you'll be fine. Mine were pretty up and down with my first and she ended up being 8lbs 3 oz which isn't bad. This time they've been more level just cause I know what's going on, so we'll see how big he is! And no my daughter doesn't have diabetes. No one in my family that we know of does except me, so I guess in my case it skipped a lot of generations! There is a good website here http://www.diabetes.org/genetics.jsp that has good info on passing it on to your kids and stuff.

Jeannie, I've heard about that research too and it does sound kind of promising. I live about 5 hours away from edmonton, so maybe if it works i'll be lucky enough to get it! I'll be keeping my fingers crossed!
Robyn

devine007
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 76
   Posted 2/10/2006 4:37 PM (GMT -7)   
Oh, and I forgot to say one really cool thing about having diabetes and being pregnant is that I get ultrasounds every month instead of just one time! It's really neat because you get to see the baby as it grows. They do them every month just to make sure baby's not getting too big and that everything is going good.
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