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In many ways I consider myself one of the lucky ones. My type 1 diabetes diagnosis came when I was 23, an adult who had finished uni, got a job and had a mortgage. I was living with my boyfriend (now husband!) and generally had a fairly comfortable life. The dating scene was long behind me, and so JHogg just learnt how to muddle through life with a type 1 diabetic at the same time I did. The world was pretty alien to both of us, but we found our way. To say I am very glad I didn’t have to navigate the dating world as a diabetic would be an understatement.
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These days the world of dating has moved on, and there are even free disabled dating sites where you can be matched with someone who knows about your disability upfront. Whether it’s amputee dating sites, or someone with a hidden disability like me, there are lots of ways to find someone who could be a good match. There is lots of information available on YouTube too that could help you feel empowered when it comes to dating with a disability.
Of course my experience is only in the world of type 1 diabetes, and while I may not be on the dating scene myself these days I still have a few ideas on what it could be like.
5 Things You Need To Know About Dating A Type 1 Diabetic
We Speak A Different Language
Every medical condition comes with it’s own jargon, and diabetes is no different. Whether it’s discussing basal rates, saying you forgot to bolus, shouting “carbs?” across the kitchen or just saying you are hypo, we don’t even realise how much of what we say is not understood by other people. You soon pick it up, at lease the important bits, but it can be a bit daunting at first.
We Don’t Travel Light
Gone of the days of checking you’ve got your keys, phone and wallet and running out the door. As a minimum I will have hypo treatments with me, even if I’m just nipping out for 5 minutes – you never know when a hypo will hit. A day trip requires a bit more planning, back up items for if our pumps or pens break. More testing strips, hypo snacks, more hypo snacks, and then a few more just to be safe. And as for a weekend away, or god forbid you go away for a full 2 week holiday – be prepared to sacrifice some luggage space as we need to pack back ups and then back ups for our back ups.
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We Save Our Own Lives Daily
Because type 1 diabetes is manageable (or rather – it can be survivable) it is easy to forget what we do for ourselves every single day. If we don’t have enough insulin we can die, so we inject. Sometimes we have too much insulin, and if we don’t have sugar immediately we can die. It sounds insane, but we are making little decisions every single day that could quickly end our lives, or save it. Most of them you won’t be aware of as we quietly do it without even acknowledging it. But it’s happening.
We Often Have A Midnight Snack
Low blood sugars can be pretty rough – but middle of the night hypos are the worst. Waking disorientated and reaching for some fast acting carbs happens more often than we’d like. A little bit of support in those moments doesn’t go amiss, just sitting awake with us while our blood sugar stabilises and keeping us company is usually enough but it’s also just nice to know that there is someone there in the event of an emergency.
Related Post: It doesn’t get easier, you get better
We Are Ready To Live Life To The Fullest
There is no denying that a type 1 diabetes diagnosis changes your life, but not just in the medical sense. It can feel like a fresh start, like you are getting a second chance at living your life because not that long ago this kind of diagnosis would have meant you don’t survive. We are ready to give things a try, prove that we can do everything that a person with no diabetes can do, with just a little forethought and planning.