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Dating Someone With A Health Issue

posted 9/16/2010 6:57:54 PM |
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tagged: dating, illness

I was having a discussion with someone here at AMD regarding having a health issue and how said health issue affects my dating life. Since being diagnosed last year in April, I've been extremely hesistant to get involved with anyone because of my illness.
When you look at me, you can't tell I'm sick. People who don't know me would never realize there is a war going on inside my body- a war between my immune system and my joints! I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, which, for the remainder of this blog shall be shortened to RA.
RA is a type of auto-immune disease. For reasons doctors do not know or understand, the body's immune system attacks its joints. RA causes inflammation, swelling, and pain in the joints.
Since RA attacks from the inside, its signs are not often visible to other people. If the disease progresses enough, it can damage a person's joints, causing it to become necessary to use a walker, cane or wheelchair for assistance.
Treatment for RA involves the use of DMARDs (disease modifying drugs) such as Methotrexate (also given to cancer patients as part of chemo-therapy). DMARDs are usually taken in pill form. There is also a group of medications known as "Biologics" and include Enbrel, Humira, Orencia and Remicade. A Steroid known as "Prednisone" can also be prescribed to alleviate inflammation.
I have been on Methotrexate since my diagnosis in April of 2009. Also been on Prednisone less often because I hate its side effects! So here comes the main reason I brought up this blog in the first place: the whole, "Would you date someone with an illness?"
The class of meds used for RA treatment called the bilogics are usually administered under the skin by injection or infused intravenously over a period of time.
The thing that most affects me is the "under the skin by injection" part. I started taking a biologic medication at the end of January this year. The pharmacy sends me a little refridgerated package that contains a month's supply of the medication. The medication must be "injected" either into the thigh or abdomen. The makers of these medications have designed a style of inject-at-home "pens". They come four in a package. The medication is already pre-filled, you just swab the injection site and press a button. It couldn't be easier. And not too painful (said with JOY by someone who has been scared of needles her whole life!).
But.....what happens if you have to do an injection when a partner/lover/date is present? Would you share with them what you're about to do? Or do you discretely perform the injection in your bathroom and hope they don't notice you're gone for ten whole minutes?
If you're the date and your date/partner/lover tells you she has to run to the powder room, not to powder her nose, but to shoot up, how do you react? Do you wish she would have just gone quietly and kept the fact that she's injecting medication a secret?
I've had a lot of embarrassments in my life. Things I was afraid to share with a partner for fear of being dumped. I wasn't dating anyone when I was diagnosed with RA. And I made it a point to stop dating once I started with my injections. That was 8 months ago. While I'm comfortable with the whole process of the self-injection, I don't know that I'll ever get to a point where I could share that with a date/lover.
I'd like some opinions from you, my AMD peers- tell me if you'd date someone with a serious health issue (which includes self-injection) and why you feel it would be OK for your date to share his/her personal illness issue with you.
I'd also like to know if there are those out there who would consider this a turn-off; why you wouldn't want to know about your partner's issue or how seeing someone administer their own medication would make you feel.

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Sep 16 @ 7:10PM  
I have a hearing Problem..called "Tinnitus"..I tell most up front about it!! Most everyone here who has read any of my blogs..Know it!! I don't Hide it!! If someone don't know that I have that.... Oh well!! I can hear fine...except for High Pitched sounds!
All we can do is tell the PPL up front!..Let Them worry about the rest!

Sep 16 @ 7:24PM  
I would want to know, and I would be one to share the info with my s/o. For me, it comes down to the thought of the communicable diseases out there. If I were to go into my s/o bathroom, see needles, and not know that he is diabetic..I would be wondering what the needles are for.

Would date someone who is diabetic? I used to have a crush on Brett Michaels from Poison, and he's diabetic, and, finding out he was didn't change it for me back then. Now, if the person was HIV Positive..I'd really have to step back and think. Is the love worth the risk. It's hard to really say an 100% yes or no.

Sep 16 @ 7:51PM  
Yup, depends on what the person is ill with. STD's I'd have to think about it first.. other illnesses.. well.. if it were a terminal disease I'd have to think about it as well..

I guess I'd have to think about anyone I dated .. come to think of it.

But RA? Sure I would.. it's prolly what I have too.

Sep 16 @ 8:11PM  
My man is the same way. No one can tell he is sick just from meeting him. He has ankylosing spondylitis and cancer. Plus a few other minor by comparison problems. Ok the cancer happened after we were dating but there is no way in hell I would end our relationship over any health issue. I will stand by him no matter what. I knew about his problems after the first week of dating and never had a problem with it. I think if someone does its a sign ya probaly dont wanna date them anyway.

Sep 16 @ 8:15PM  
i dated a man with ra...but he dropped me coz im a drinker...

Sep 16 @ 8:50PM  
Cutting to the chase and being honest. Yes, I look at eliminators early on. Whether it be long story loser kids, financial problems, or health issues. These are deal breakers from the get go. I do not want to take on long story problems. Call me an asshole, but it is a quality of life issue and it is my life from here on out.

Sep 16 @ 8:59PM  
I have dated several guys with health issues in the past...and it was never a deciding factor with me. I've also been in the situation where I've been the one with temporary health problems (but still considered long-term)...and it wasn't an issue for the guy who was in my life at that particular moment.

I think when there is a long-term illness involved...honesty is the best policy. And if the other person wants to cut ties and's better if they do it in the beginning before a lot of time and effort has been invested in the relationship. JMHO.

Kudos on a very interesting blog topic.

Sep 16 @ 10:25PM  
can we double kudo?

Sep 16 @ 10:38PM  
What about a person who's had the chicken pox ?

Sep 16 @ 10:48PM  
What about a person who's had the chicken pox ?

I had chicken pox when I was six. The worst part of it was having to sleep in the same room with Tommy so that he would get it. He did. How they dealt with childhood diseases was odd in the fifties.

Sep 16 @ 10:59PM  
I had chicken pox when I was six. The worst part of it was having to sleep in the same room with Tommy so that he would get it. He did. How they dealt with childhood diseases was odd in the fifties.
Chicken pox never leaves your body once you have gotten it & if your immune system fails due to any kind of sickness you will get the shingles which is a herpes virus.

Sep 16 @ 11:40PM  
I had no intentions of logging in tonight........having a really rough day......not going to go into it but I saw this blog and one other I wanted to comment on.......I have been on both sides of the block on this one............I have been a widow twice so obviously being involved with someone who has been sick wasn't a deal breaker ......although the first time i became a widow the illness came on after we were married........when I got involved with Gary I knew there were medical problems but it didn't stop me from getting involved with him..........and I have never regretted it........and have always been grateful for the love we shared no matter how short of time we had together.........

When I got sick and was told of the prognosis of my disease I felt that part of my life was over........I didn't feel there would be anyone who would want me......someone who was going to probably end up in a wheel chair......who would spend the rest of her life with chronic pain and chronic fatigue........but I guess there was a part of me that didn't quite give up the hope......when my honey contacted me on another site.......(we had actually known each other years before) i told him straight out what I had and what the prognosis was.........his letter back was......well to be honest sweet as hell but straight to the point.........he said no one was perfect........That we all have our crosses to matter what has happened to me......getting sicker, pain getting worse........mood swings........ect........he has been very patient.........sometimes the things we want to do are either impossible or has limitations and we find a way around it..........or we find something else to do.........I have probably one of the best relationships I have ever had...........and I found that me being sick is not who i am.......and I am glad that I gave him a chance when I thought there was no chance at all.........

As for Bruce.......nope won't call you an asshole.........I will call you truthful.........any woman you are with will know there are things that are deal breakers for you...........there won't be any surprises down the road..........I have seen many times people breaking up cause one person ended up sick and the other one walked out on them..........your upfront with what you want and don't want and I commend you for being truthful enough and true enough to yourself that you won't take something on that you probably couldn't handle or wouldn't want to handle. Before I got sick...........I would have probably called you an asshole........its amazing how things can change.

Sep 16 @ 11:46PM  
A lot I would say has to do with what stage we are in our lives. Love can carry a heavy load for the duration if the love is real and solid and there is still some youthfulness for endurance...illnesses sometime takes a lot of energy for the caregiver.

I carried a heavy load with Wayne for a good number of years as his health deterioated. We had some hard years in the beginning and he left me emotionally scarred but I did love him...a lot. And I carried the load because my heart wanted to.

As for now? No, I probably wouldn't step into a relationship with the knowledge that I will become a needed caregiver. Not a serious relationship anyway. I could be a friend, a companion but not a caregiver. I no longer have the strength for the endurance nor the desire to carry that kind of load. Soon enough I will be in need of a caregiver but until then I want the freedom to live without any cumbersome weight or worry over a partner.

But here's my opinion...for me...on being with someone who has an illness. I'd want to know. I haven't any problems at all with needles or any other items needed for whatever the illness calls for. I'm good at taking care of someone and my heart wraps around those who have illnesses that are chronic. But I'm at an age where I'm doing good to take care of me now and I can't...and don't want to take care of someone else.

Kudo to you just because.

Sep 16 @ 11:47PM  
Personally, I'd be right up front about your problem. DIabetics face the same task everyday, no shame involved in your case. Diabetics face constant monitoring problems, zone outs in public. You have a health issue and it's up to you to deal with it's ramifications. Anyone who can't accept one of life's little roadblocks to a friend or a lover can't be counted on anyway for the long or short haul.
I would advise being careful with the steroids as they can lead to serious personality disorders.

Sep 17 @ 12:20AM  
intereting.....and most even those who know me only few weould see me as one with a health issue......i'm adicted to AIR...but with only about 5O% use of one of my lunge and asthma..well..lets say i'm not takin a date on a marthon

for me..i'd base it based alot like sam said....things i have to worry bout MYSELF contracting.aids ect... or to allow myself to fall in love with someone KNOWING they're dying.....''better to loved n lost then to never.....yada yada'' MY FUCKIN ASS!!! i don't agree.......but RA? more limiting then i deal with ...

good blog n thought provoking..he he he look at the time n WHEN you told me you wrote it......kudo for you

Sep 17 @ 12:36AM  
While reading your blog I was thinking of what the difference would be if I was involved with a lady with what you described- injections 'n all and... a type I diabetic having to inject herself with insulin- the result: I saw no difference- it wouldn't be a 'deal breaker' [as people say] to me! Reason is, the person inflicted, can go on to do more or less normal things with a partner! So, someone taking medication in whatever form its in, doesn't bother me!

I'm not quite sure how I would handle a situation where someone had a debilitating disease serious enough that might affect our quality of life together... BEFORE we became an entity! AFTER becoming an entity, I feel I would work with the problem much like ksk72 suggested in her comment! But again, I'm just not sure, not having really experienced something like that! That's the best answer I can give right now!

I dated a lady who had the beginning stages of MS- we did things together even if she did need a cane to get around with! We dated for a while but... as is the usual case, the distance was the 'deal breaker'- which was a shame because we did get along just fine!


Sep 17 @ 12:50AM  
Chicken pox never leaves your body once you have gotten it & if your immune system fails due to any kind of sickness you will get the shingles which is a herpes virus

One does not necessarily lead to the other. Yes, the virus will remain in your body, and yes, a drop in your immune system MAY result in a case of shingles. BUT, you're entirely mistaken in cause and effect. I assume you've had the shingles before but I suspect you weren't listening to your doctor as to the chronology of the disorder.

Sep 17 @ 1:18AM  
Interesting blog......thought provoking.
I guess I have a health issue, though I no longer think of it that way.
Twenty-five years ago, I had a severe head injury that left me in a coma for 6 days and also left me entirely paralyzed on my right side.
While I did recover, I do have a few lasting reminders of that time. a limp that will show up if I am tired, poor motor skills and coordination in my right hand, a smile that is a bit lopsided at times.
I never feel the need to hide, to warn somebody about it, or to apologize for it.
To me, this is not a health issue or a medical concern. This is just me.

Sep 17 @ 2:44AM  
after my divorce in 99 I met a man who had pancreatic cancer. ...he died midnight of 9/11. We both knew it wouldn't be forever. You should have seen him suck it up and take it like a they say. He never complained, and loved me as I did he...until the night he died. I have and would love again. The disease doesn't matter; it is who you are and who you're with that counts...whether it be for a long period of time or short. I loved him and always will, and would be there again if I had the opportunity. ...I miss him....

Sep 17 @ 6:23AM  
if your in a relationship with someone they should be able to accept their partners health problems no matter what they are, or they're not the much of a partner if they can't accept you as you are

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Dating Someone With A Health Issue