I Love Someone with Diabetes: Navil Rodriguez Turner

Diabetes affects the whole family, whether you’re a parent, sibling, child, grandchild, spouse or friend. This week on the blog, we are featuring stories about loving and caring for someone with diabetes.

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Navil TurnerName: Navil Rodriguez Turner, age 25

Location: Port Angeles, Wash.

My husband, James, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 23 and in the United States Coast Guard. This was a huge surprise to him and his family, as no one else had ever been diagnosed with diabetes. He felt the usual symptoms of extreme fatigue and thirst and knew he had to see a doctor when his eyesight began to blur, affecting his everyday tasks in the Coast Guard.

I have taken it upon myself to support him and learn everything I can about diabetes so that we can take care of him together. I want him to be around for our future. If we decide to have children later on, I want him here and healthy for his grandkids!

Here we are a year and a half later, and we are still learning so much! In the time since his diagnosis, I have attended countless classes and appointments—dietitian, endocrinologist, insulin pump educators, diabetes education courses, you name it. His doctors call me a “type 3” person with diabetes, or “guilty by association.”

We’ve have had an especially difficult time recently, as he finally got the call we have been waiting for since his diagnosis. James is going to be officially discharged from the Coast Guard because of his diabetes, which does not affect his job at all now that he is managing it. He has received great marks and has never been disciplined by his command. But although he can do his job better than most perfectly healthy people, the Coast Guard deems him unfit. This has been an extremely emotional struggle for both of us, but especially for James, who has to let go of his lifelong dream. (This Department of Defense policy affects all non-civilian positions in the military. James is considering seeking a waiver to remain in the Coast Guard with the guidance of the American Diabetes Association’s Legal Advocacy services.)

Our next steps will be figuring out where to go from here. James is going to fight for more benefits, but we’re concerned about how we are going to be able to afford all of his supplies and insulin. We’re hopeful that things will work out. We are both strong and will get through this together.

My biggest struggle as a caregiver has been helping him while at his lowest. Negative emotions have gotten the best of him sometimes. He is the strongest man I know, with so much perseverance, and it is very hard for me to see him down. As his wife I try to support him and do whatever I can to help, even if it is the smallest thing to make him smile.

The love and support that you can give to any person with diabetes is so important. They definitely cannot do it by themselves. It is your job as a caregiver to show them zero frustration with diabetes. Show the love!

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8 Responses to I Love Someone with Diabetes: Navil Rodriguez Turner

  1. Dragonstar says:

    Take a note from this video. Mark Thompson, Dx’d with type1 in the US Army, proved he could handle it and stayed in plus was deployed overseas. It can be done, you have to fight for your rights though. Good luck to you both, as people like James and Mark are inspirations to us Parents of kids with Type1.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01nhuNNcKog

  2. Amy says:

    I am cheering for you and James, Navil! Thank you for sharing your story and for loving your hubby.
    ~T13 for my 13yo son

  3. marla says:

    thanks for sharing, we are fighting that battle(diabetes) as well…i wish the best for you and youir husband

  4. Elle says:

    My spouse went through the medical board process. Fight it til the end. He was allowed to stay in with type 1 and returned to duty, although hes in a different branch than your husband. He did have a backup plan in case he wasn’t able to stay in which gave peace of mind somewhat. Stay strong.

  5. Jennifer Cauldwell says:

    You are awesome I love the type 3 nickname. It makes me happy that you are there for your husband so much because at times, when you have type 1, it can feel like you are very alone and no one understands. It must be hard for you too. Luckily your husband and I are blessed enough to have such a caring person in our lives.

  6. James Turner says:

    Hello Everyone. Navil just showed me this post and I wanted to thank all of you for the support. It really helps give me the drive to keep fighting to serve my country and prove to them that I am capable of anything. Dragonstar – thank you for that video. I will be showing that to my medical officers and medical board. If a brave man can see combat with Type 1 diabetes, I am sure I’d have no problem rescuing someone out rough seas.

    Thank you all again!

  7. Bettie Hayman says:

    Navil, I am so proud of you for supporting JT as you do. Keep fighting for every thing that you want. I know how much you love each other and that will go a long way to help you both in this trial.Love Grandmama.

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