Friends meet diabetes

So when I meet people, I tell them I’m diabetic right away, but they generally avoid the topic. They assume that I’m okay and that I’ve got a handle on it–I mean, I look normal.

Then it happens–the event that makes them realize the seriousness of this disease–and I can’t help but wonder if they still want to be my friends.

Tonight, some friends I’ve only recently begun hanging out with invited me to the corn maze. I brought low supplies, tested before I went in, but still got low. Really low. I ate all my low supplies, but my bloodsugar kept dropping. A kind stranger gave me candy, and we cut through the maze to get to the end. I’m okay (actually a bit high now) but I feel so guilty. I tried so hard to prevent that very situation from happening, yet it did, and I had to rely on friends and strangers.

Now, of course, I wonder if they will still want to spend time with me. I wouldn’t blame them if they stopped calling, after all I ruined their evening. But it makes me sad because they are nice people, and I really enjoy spending time with them.

It’s the same thing with dating too. All the guys I’ve dated get to a point with my diabetes, then they can’t handle it, whether it’s the low scares or the high mood swings (or thinking that I’m faking it, which is the worst).

Sometimes I just want to move to an island were everyone is a diabetic, and no one has to worry about freaking other poeple out.

Anyone feel the same?

I understand your frustrations to a point. But let me tell you something: If the guy runs, you don’t need him!! Period. I don’t believe diabetes has ever been an issue when I was dating. But I’m still single, so it may have been and I just didn’t know it.
As for the friends: same rule goes! If they get mad at you, you don’t need them.
I was at a friend’s house last New Year’s weekend and had a horrible low. You can read about it on my blog. Guess what? They are still my friends. Diabetes is tough. On the person who has it and the people that are in their life. Family doesn’t get a chance to make that choice. But I read a saying one time that said “Friends are the family you choose for yourself.” And that’s how we should look at it. If they decide NOT to choose us, then we don’t need them. If they aren’t in it for the long haul, then you can find someone who is.
As for the island with nothing but diabetics… That’s like diabetes camp! FUN! And that’s what we are all here for. We are your island of diabetics.

Carly: Debb and Cara are exactly right on with this. I think all diabetics feel this way at some point in their lives.
Friends care about the person that you are, not about a disease or condition that you may have. Would you not be someone’s friend because of some condition or disease that they have? As diabetics, we have a responsibility to ourselves to take the best care we can and to be prepared for every eventuality. Sometimes, the best preparation is not enough. But it does not relate to just diabetes – how about the friend who is short a couple of dollars and needs to borrow a few to pay for dinner or coffee? It is not that different.
As for dating: I’m recently divorced after 18 years of marriage (and she knew about my diabetes before we started dating), and diabetes played a big role in the divorce. She was someone who never really got involved in it or was interested in learning about it, even though it played a big part of our lives. Now that I am back out in the dating world, I am hesitant to talk about it with people, but know that at a certain point, I have to. As a general rule, no one has decided not to date me because of it or because of my pump or CGMS. I am fortunate now to be in a relationship with someone who is very supportive and who is learning about diabetes. There will be people who will focus on the person that you are, not the diabetes that you have.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to your new friends. They may be a little uncomfortable about what happened, and may themselves want reassurances from you that you still want to be friends with them. After all, they invited you because they wanted to hang out with you. If they decide they do not want to keep hanging out with you, they were not going to be true friends anyway, and you would have found that out sooner or later.
There are lots of people out there with health related issues. If they do not have them now, they will have them later in life. We know what ours are now. We may not know what our partners’ issues will be. I’ll take the certainty I have over the uncertainty any day.
As for the island idea: there is a discussion going on (sporadically) about a dating website for diabetics. It may help find people who understand our lives.

Hi Carly,

I agree with what everyone has said and I know you do too. We as diabetics have ups and downs. It is an every day disease that doesn’t go away and sometimes there are some bumpy roads ahead.

All my friends know and help me out when there is a low, I have never had anyone say they didn’t want to be my friend. What you can do is pull this group of friends together and talk to them about it, let them ask you questions and help them understand.

As for dating… I told every bf that I was diabetic. Some didn’t acknowledge it, or understand the severity of lows. others would tend to lecture me and teach me about diabetes, because they are now experts since their father was just diagnosed with type 2. I didn’t like either option. Then things changed when I met my bf and he took an interest and asked questions. The day I had a terrible low at his apartment he was taking care of me cause there is no way I could have done it. There are good men out there and there are men that are not ready to deal with the thought of a diabetic partner. That is ok, your prince will come.

Don’t worry about freaking people out, we all need a shoulder to lean on sometimes. We just need to surround ourselves with good people. I’m sure you can find those people, and don’t assume they are not already in your life.

I can only agree with all of the other commenters here, but I know where you are coming from. yes, I have had “friends” turn away from me, I have had a couple of g/f decide they couldn’t be bothered. As all have said … are they worth it? Of course not.

You had your reaction in the corn maze, a public place with friends and strangers there. It has happened to all of us at some point or other and in the beginning I was completely humiliated. I have been able to change that feeling. Who cares about the strangers because you’ll never see them again. Friends … you can weed out the good ones.

Why not look at it this way … have a public low and perhaps some cute doctor will step out of the shadows, save your life … and hook up with you?

Sometimes though, even the people that you thought could handle it (and were handling it) change. My ex was always very supportive and helped me a lot when I was in trouble. About 12 years ago, my doctor wanted me in a pump study being conducted. I spoke with the ex when I got home and she outright refused. Why? Because she thought she wouldn’t like the way it looked when I was in bed, naked and wearing it would result in her losing sexual pleasure as a result. So I opted out of the study.

Now that she has been gone a while, I am getting a pump and will be on it as of Oct 28. My health and well being is more important that what people might think.

I always want to move to an island that is tropical. I’ll take an accasional hurricane over 6 months of freeze your ■■■ off winter.

Like everyone else said, I think we all can relate.

The guys I dated in college and beyond never seemed to have a problem with my diabetes, but my husband is the best. He tests me during the night sometimes, he fetches and carries anything I need, he decided on a better way to store my supplies so I wouldn’t run out and not realize it, etc. As you get older, hopefully you’ll meet guys who realize that everyone has something that gets in the way of a smooth and easy life. You will meet plenty of people who see that you’re making efforts to take care of yourself and feel for you when you have a problem.

There will always be somebody who gives you grief - a teacher/professor, a co-worker, extended family members, attention-envious friends, etc. I remember one time in high school asking a friend to walk with me to the nurse’s office when I was low and I was all loopy/silly/weird and she said, “no one’s around now - you can stop the act.” I’ll never forget how angry I felt that she wasn’t more supportive. In college, I was in a foreign country and ran out of insulin and was freaking out and a girl in my student group told me to stop being dramatic and picky and just buy the “over the counter” brand. If I hadn’t been so mad, I’d have thought it was hilarious.

But on the island, I have to agree. We’d out-diabetic one another. We’d use up our supplies. We might even feel less special or like we didn’t get attention for our needs the same way we used to. I don’t know. I like my diabetic friends, but I’d want my husband and family there, too. I think I’ll opt for being a lone insulin junkie in a sea of self-producers.

Hi Carly,
I agree 100% with everything everyone has said. You will find help when you need it even in public. I have to laugh about one of the situations I found myself in one day at a funeral. I had to tell the son of a diabetic woman to “butt out”. We were standing in line after the funeral to speak to the wife of a dear friend who had passed away. The line was long and it was taking some time and was hot inside the church. Therre was an older lady and her adult son behind me in the line. The lady was getting quite agitated and kept telling her son she felt bad. She said she felt like her blood sugar was low and he told her to just keep quiet and not talk so loud, someone might hear her. I turned around and asked her if she was diabetic and she said yes. She was sweating too, you could see it shining on her face. I told her I had a piece of wrapped hard candy in my purse and asked her if she would like a piece. She said yes, her son said no she can’t have candy. She looked like she was ready to faint. I got out the candy and was going to give it to her and the son said no, she doesn’t need it. I asked him if he was diabetic and he said no. So I told him it was his choice, he could let her pass out and call an ambulance or give her the candy and let her pull up her blood sugar. He was mad but backed off. I gave her the piece of candy and told her to go ahead and sit dfown for a minute and i would save her place in line. I also gave her a small low carb bar I keep in my purse and told her to eat that as well and told her son to get her some water. He did and while he was giving her the water I told her to never be afraid to ask for help, that there are lots of us diabetics around to understand and help out. She had tears in her eyes and thanked me and said in all her years as a diabetic she had never come across anyone who understood before. Now that makes me sad. So what i hope you get from your experience is this. When you go out and see someone else in need for whatever reason, extend a helping hand. You will get back so much more.
My best wishes to you my dear. I am sure you are a very good friend, but will be an even better one now.