Puffy Eyes

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Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2012 12:49 am

by moonshine on Mon Jun 25, 2012 1:14 am

Puffy Eyes

My boyfriend has Type 1 diabetes. He's 24 and was diagnosed at the age of 3. In the last 6 months or so he has been using the carbohydrate counting method to work out how much insulin to use, however he is and always has been quite irresponsible with his health - for example regular drinking (a whiskey every evening), binge-drinking once a week (5-6 pints of ale or a bottle or so of wine then spirits), eating lots of chocolate and sweets, losing his insulin and things like that.

About two months ago I noticed one morning that his eyes were really puffy - I thought he'd used a cream or something on his face that he'd had an allergic reaction to. This happened around 5 days after he'd had an answerphone message from his diabetes nurse telling him that protein had been found in the last urine sample he gave and that he needed to do more samples to check out his kidneys. He ignored my comments about his eyes at first but eventually told me that it is a symptom of diabetic nephropathy. He has had puffy, swollen eyelids every morning since the first day I noticed it, but it gets better throughout the day.

Last week he finally had a follow-up appointment with the results of further urine samples (he put off doing the new samples for about 4 weeks). He told me the doctor said that the protein they had found was just an artefact and the more recent samples were clear, so his kidneys are fine. To me this doesn't explain why his eyes get puffy every morning and when I asked him what the doctor said about that he told me he forgot to mention it and will bring it up at his next appointment, which isn't until November.

My boyfriend tends to be slightly in denial about his diabetes and tries to live like he doesn't have it. He has a 'cross that bridge when we come to it' attitude about the long-term effects rather than trying to prevent them occurring or at least delay their occurrence. I do nag him a bit as I worry about him needing kidney transplants or going blind or something when he is still pretty young and could be enjoying his life. I am worried now that he is not telling me the truth about his kidneys because he wants to pretend it isn't happening. Is it possible that something else is causing this symptom of puffy eyes, or can you have it without having proteinuria or permanent kidney damage? I know the real solution here is to make him tell me the whole story but he gets cross and defensive when I keep talking about this - he doesn't understand that I don't want the diabetes to control his life any more than he does, I just want to keep him healthy and well whilst still having fun and doing things he wants to do. This is creating a bit of a wedge between us at the moment so I'd be so grateful for any advice.

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Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:11 pm

by Maradie on Tue Jun 26, 2012 1:48 pm

Re: Puffy Eyes

Hi Moonshine

Your boyfriend is very lucky to have a girlfriend who cares about him so much.

I am a type 1 diabetic as well, about the same age as your boyfriend. I went through the stages of denial and am curently reaping the (not so nice) rewards for it with leaking in my eyes and fits.
While I was in the "head in the sand" phase, only two things made me realise what an idiot I was being. The first was my friend telling me off and saying "How can you go travelling the world on your own (one of my long term dreams) if you go blind because you didn't do your blood tests?? How stupid are you??" and the second was a counsellor telling me "This is your life...you should live it."

Basically what I am trying to say is....Diabetes is a day to day pain in the a** and it does get you down pretty much on an hourly basis but you can't let it stop you living your life. It just means you have to be slightly more organised than the average person.

Diabetics are actually pretty lucky....the standard diet for a diabetic is the same diet that is recommended for every single person in the world. We have dedicated medical teams who are there to help us manage our condition and work through with us when the Diabetes goes weird....and chocolate is medicine! lol.

Maybe you and your boyfriend need long term goals....is there somewhere in the world you would both like to explore? Or is there an activity you both could do together such as kite surfing or rock climbing? Something that gets the adrenaline pumping and makes you feel exhilirated, that you need to be as healthy as possible for and maintain that level of health to continue to do it?
If there is something you really want to do, then you and your boyfriend are more likely to focus on that and think...yeah the blood tests and stupid injections are dragging me down today...but I am doing this so we can go to Mardi Gras in 3 months and enjoy it!!

Good luck!! xx

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Denise Kennedy
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Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 11:30 am

by Denise Kennedy on Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:35 pm

Re: Puffy Eyes

Hi Moonshine,

I think Maradie has given you some really fantastic advice. Yes diabetes is a bit of a pain, but the side effects of uncontrolled diabetes are even more of a pain. Your boyfriend is so young, and he still has his whole life ahread of him. I remember someone once saying to me that they really controlled their diet and insulin to keep themselves well, and this gave them power because they were in control. They turned the psychology of it around completely, and felt amazing for being so in control that this led to success in other parts of their life.

You don't mention whether your boyfriend is on multiple daily injections or on an insulin pump? If he is not on a pump maybe this could help him with his control. They are fantastic little gadgets now and some men really respond to the "techie" aspect of it!!

I also wondered if you might offer to support him by going along to his consultant or diabetes nurse appointments with him? Although he will be very used to hospital appointments it doesn't mean that they become any easier.

I am not sure about the puffy eyes - hopefully one of the docs on the forum will respond. It could of course be something completely unrelated to his diabetes - an allergic reaction of some sort maybe? Definitely worth asking the question though.

Best of luck.
Denise Kennedy
Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist

3 posts