Editor’s note: I had the pleasure of meeting Eoin at a diabetes meetup in New York City last month. He had just won the Myabetic award for “Diabetic Male Fitness Influencer” and rightfully so since he motivates people every day to be the best version of themselves. He tackles affordability issues, stigmas and teaches his followers proper diet and exercise techniques. He is also a diabetic fitness trainer. You can follow him at @insuleoin on Instagram.
By Eoin Costelloe
To my girlfriend,
Where can I start? It’s almost like we were both diagnosed. Just on different dates;
Myself with type 1 diabetes on 01.04.2012.
Without knowing, you were diagnosed with ‘second-hand type 1 diabetes’ on 08.10.18.
I feel it’s fitting for me, first of all, to thank you. Thank you for the time we’ve spent together, and thank you for everything you’ve done. I don’t think you truly understand how special you are.
When we started dating it was something you were interested in learning about, something you didn’t know much about, but something you didn’t know would almost become your full-time job, just as much as mine.
I remember explaining it to you, breaking things down; how we carb count, units of insulin required, the reasons, the complications, what it entails. At the time you knew a minimal amount. From then until now, you have become a diabetes expert.
Maybe looking back now, you wouldn’t have been so keen to take on such an admirable role as a girlfriend – as I’ve always said, ‘it’s an invisible disease.’
I often think of diabetes as a part of me that no one sees. It’s a disease that can let you live a normal life if you treat it with respect, but it’s always on your shoulder, it never takes any breaks and never leaves your side.
We often see in cartoons or movies how there is a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other. For the past 8 years of my life, since being diagnosed, that devil has made a home on my shoulder. For 8 years he’s been there, day and night, sitting on my shoulder with no contender, no dispute or objection, no angel on the other side.
Since the day we met, you’ve been that angel. You’ve been the challenger.
You have always prioritized my health, even during the times when I didn’t. You’ve told me to ‘check your blood sugar’ when I was lazy about it, or prodded me to ‘take your insulin’ if it slipped my mind or yelled at me to ‘not eat another roll of sushi!’ You’ve cared more than I ever expected you to.
Sometimes I felt like it was a burden, almost like a third wheel in our relationship. Maybe there were times I didn’t want to stop and check my blood or pause to inject my insulin because we were in a perfect moment and didn’t want anything to ruin it. But you were the one to pause, you were the one to always reassure me that we were in it together no matter what.
Every injection, every high, every finger prick, every 3 am low blood sugar and every ‘regretful pizza’ eaten, you’ve been there. You’ve shown passion and intrigue to learn about this condition for the sole reason to help look after me. You’ve lived through it by my side and never once complained.
There are no words or phrases that can articulate my appreciation for you. You’re a star, chaim sheli!