Type 1 Sweethearts

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My fiancé and I met our second year of college in our Greek and Roman Mythology class. We didn’t find out that the other had type 1 diabetes until several weeks into our class after a brief conversations. I woke up late one morning and threw on my type 1 diabetes TrialNet t-shirt because I was feeling lazy.

We were placed in the same group discussion and he commented on how much he liked my shirt. I assumed he was kidding and I explained that I was working at TrialNet as a research assistant. He explained to me that his brothers were both in the Pathway to Prevention study, formerly known as the Natural History study, through which we screen family members of those affected by type 1 diabetes. He went on to say that he wasn’t screened since he had the disease. I told him that I did too, our bond was forged, and we went on our first date the day after Christmas. 1-year later, on the anniversary of our initial conversation, he proposed on the very same spot.

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There are certainly advantages and disadvantages to being in a relationship with a fellow type 1 diabetic. On the positive side, we can empathize with one another. People without diabetes can certainly sympathize, but they have also never known what it’s truly like to be 400 or what it’s like to be below 40. Also, medically, its positive because I know how to treat highs and lows and I can understand what a normal range is and what an A1c means.

I don’t mean to say that non-diabetics do not understand these things. My endocrinologist understands it certainly much more than I and he does not have diabetes, however, I feel like it’s a little different when you live with it and when it’s part of your daily and personal experience.

There is definitely a lot more work involved in a relationship with someone who has a chronic disease, but all relationships take work, and having the chronic condition yourself makes it all that much easier.


Melanie Nelson

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