Diabetes Blog Week (if there was a cure)
Today's assignment is a tough one for me because I am not the one with diabetes. I can't really speak for S, but I can tell a story about a time this topic was posed to her. The NBC Nightly News had a piece on exciting, new diabetes research. Brian Williams mentioned a possible cure for diabetes. S looked up from her game of checkers with H, and asked, "what did he just say?" I explained and she said, "I don't want a cure for diabetes." Well you can imagine my reaction. I momentarily stopped breathing and my eyes just about popped out of my head. I proceeded to ask, in my most calm mom voice, "why not?" S simply said, "because it is just part of me."
S was diagnosed at 3 and doesn't really remember life without diabetes. This conversation occurred when she was seven. My husband and I did not react or explain what a cure could really mean for her life. I was in total shock, but when I thought about it I realized that this comment came out of pure innocence. I decided that for the time being that innocence is a beautiful thing. She is not embarrassed or self- conscious about blood sugar checks or boluses. She doesn't care that she is the only diabetic in her school. She has no worries about possible future complications because we haven't explained them to her yet. S knows that she could pass out from a low and that if her blood sugar is too high she would have to go into the hospital. This knowledge helps her to be responsible, but I think that is enough weight for an eight year old to carry around.
I often go back and forth between feeling lucky she was diagnosed so young and feeling sick over the fact that she was diagnosed so young. On the positive side, S doesn't know her life any other way. Every milestone she reaches and choice that she makes involves diabetes and always will. On the other hand, I hate to think about the fact that when she is 23 she will have already lived with this disease for 20 years. I pray that this won't bring on any complications she may have avoided had her diagnosis been later in life. In this back and forth is where I remind myself to give it to God. These are worries that I can not predict, fix, or change. All I can do is take care of her the best I can and set an example for her of how to handle this disease both medically and emotionally. At the same time I will continue to pray every night for a cure or at least for the technology that will help my little girl live a safe, independent, long, and healthy life.
I know her beautiful innocence can't last forever, but I will enjoy it and let her enjoy it, for as long as possible.