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They say managing T1D (type 1 diabetes) takes a village. For me, this couldn’t be truer. There are quite a few people that I’m especially grateful to have on my T1D team.
First, my mom, who is the “I wish I could take this away from you parent.” And then my dad, who is the fighter for all things cost-associated with T1D. My siblings, family, and friends provide nothing but love and support for me.
And finally, my incredible fiancé, who truly is the biggest rock of them all.
My T1D rock: my l-l-l-love, named Jerry
I met Jerry when I was only 19 years old and hadn’t developed T1D yet. We weren’t dating that long before T1D entered our lives, right after my 21st birthday. Jerry could have run away from the 24/7 new diagnosis I was faced with, but he didn’t. Instead, he immersed himself in it just as much as I did, trying to learn as much as possible about T1D.
Jerry sat down to answer a few questions about being in a relationship with someone who has T1D. Here’s what this handsome guy had to say about his very important role of being a T1D partner:
Did you know anything about T1D before Sam’s diagnosis?
Jerry: I was knowledgeable about what diabetes was but didn’t understand necessarily the ins and outs of the day-to-day care. There is clearly a lot that goes into the day-to-day management, as I have witnessed firsthand. I knew that this was a disease that isn’t curable.
After Sam got diagnosed, I wanted to educate myself more on what living with T1D actually means. When Sam went with her family to Joslin Diabetes Center after her diagnosis, I went to the family education appointment. Learning from the certified diabetes care and education specialist (CDCES), was extremely helpful.
How is T1D a part of your relationship?
Jerry: T1D is a part of our relationship because it is a part of Sam’s life. The impact it has on her also affects me to a different level. I know I don’t live with T1D, but I try to help her manage it as best as I can. Whether it’s analyzing the carbohydrates in the grocery store, getting her a low snack in the middle of the night, or following her blood glucose numbers on the Dexcom Follow App; I try to do my part.
And I do always get the lowest carbohydrate loaf of bread at the store!
What’s piece of advice would you give another couple going through a T1D diagnosis?
To start, they should be aware of the big learning curve that comes with being diagnosed with T1D. But ultimately, you need to take it one day at a time. Through patience, ongoing communication, and trying to understand how they feel you can still be their biggest supporter. I obviously would never wish T1D upon anyone, but I love being Sam’s biggest fan. I truly try to understand how hard it is for her to have to manage diabetes 24/7 and if she needs anything, I am always just here for her.
Favorite T1D related memory
In 2019 for World Diabetes Day, Sam was asked to share her story and speak at the Massachusetts State House in honor of National Diabetes Awareness Month. Watching her share her story as an adult living with T1D and how she turned her diagnosis into her full-time career to give back, was a moment I will always cherish. I realize how important it is to share your story in front of State Officials in hopes of better education and access to care on the disease.
In the first few years of Sam’s diagnosis, her family, friends and support team banded together for JDRF Walks. It was fun to all be together for those types of events!
Anything else you want to share with the community?
I think it’s funny how you can go from not knowing much about something like T1D, to having it involved in almost every aspect of our lives. It is now so cool to see other people in the wild living with T1D and having that connection. I feel proud when I see famous people supporting the community and spreading awareness. I also try to support Sam by helping to educate the people around us whenever I can. We have come a long way since Sam was diagnosed 5 years ago. T1D is a part of Sam, and I look forward to seeing where the next 5 years (and many more) take us!
I am so very thankful for my fiancé, Jerry, and my support team for easing some of the burden of living with T1D. Without my team, I don’t know where I would be. I am very much looking forward to our next chapter together, when we get married this upcoming June. I am also hopeful that we can experience the T1D cure together in our lifetime.
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