Friday, November 7, 2008

Happy D Blog day! Hope I only have to wish it to myself ...

I don't blog about my diabetes that much because as an Internal Medicine physician, I see the stark reality of diabetic complications everyday at work. I'd rather focus on, what are to me, the more interesting things that happen in my life in my blogs.

Don't get me wrong - I don't ignore my diabetes or hide it from anyone - I wear an insulin pump and a CGSM and I will check a fingerstick anywhere (restaurants, movie theatres, church, bar) at any time. My A1c is inthe 5.3 to 6.0 range consistently through a lot of hard work on my part.

But I don't go out of my way to tell people. I'll answer truthfully if they ask - I wear my pump as a tool, not as a badge of honor. I'm one of those people who classify themselves as "having diabetes" not as someone who is a "diabetic".

I not knocking anyone who labels themself in either way, but we all have our coping skills and I'm comfortable with mine. Enough on that.

Anyway, I'm dealing with my diabetes (and all the fun it brings) and I accept the that responsibility even when I fall off the exercise wagon or knowingly scarf down an extra piece of pizza at a luchtime meeting that will send my blood sugar northwards of 250 for the rest of the afternoon. I am also dealing with the fact that some very minor complications are creeping into my life despite a "normal" A1C.

I'm a big boy - I was diagnosed 14 years ago when I was 25 and in my third year of medical school. I (hopefully) have the wisdom and wit to deal with what I have to do each day in order to live a long and healthy life.

But my son isn't a big boy. He's 20 months old and I'm deathly afraid that he'll develop diabetes someday.

Thanks to a crappy mutation in my genes, he has a 5 to 8% chance of getting type 1 diabetes. While he may have inherited my brown eyes and infectious laugh, he may have inherited my propensity for auto-immune diseases. That ... truly ... sucks.

Everytime he has a fever or gets a sniffle, I worry, in the back of my mind, that six months later he'll start demonstrating the signs and symptoms that I was too blind to see when I was diagnosed - the thirst, the urination, the fatigue, the weight loss.

I think I'm able to get a hold of my diabetes because I got it relatively later in life than most folks. I think it would be hell to have to grow up with diabetes - many people do, but I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy let alone my 20 month old toddler. He shouldn't have to worry about shots and finger sticks - he still has to learn how to ride a bike and spell his name and watch "Pingu" on Sprout.

So, every milestone he celebrates, my mind rejoices that he's diabetes-free. However, the pessismist in that nagging diabetic portion of my brain asks, "but for how long?".

My wife and I have looked into the blood testing (islet antibodies, et al) that can be performed to see if my son is at increased risk for developing type 1, but wow ... talk about implications! If it's negative, then whew ... but what if it's positive? There's nothing to be actively done at his point - maybe some "gene therapy" if this was 20-30 years in the future.

I guess it comes back to coping mechanisms. Would you want to know if it was your health on the line? Some people want to know, while others are more comfortable without knowing. As a parent of a child that is still totally dependent, I'm going to remain in the dark for now. Life is short enough and I don't want to waste it worrying about something that may or may not happen. For now, life will be what it should be for a 20 month old - easy and care free. We often unknowingly load a lot of "baggage" on our kids as they grow- he doesn't need this.

For now, Peter is strong and funny and smart. He plays hard and laughs easily. He has a wicked sense of humor and curiosity. I hope all he knows about diabetes as he gets older is that his "old man" has it and is doing ok.


So, happy D Blog day! Enjoy the other blogs and I hope I posted this right. I don't think it matters too much, because I think only my niece reads my blog - and then, only when she's bored. Hi Alissa! see you at Thanksgiving.



Gina said...

Steve, thanks for participating. I was also diagnosed at 25 years old it will be 8 years for me this November 25. I am glad you chose to blog about your diabetes. I hope to hear from you again real soon!


Anonymous said...

Dear Steve,
I linked over from SixUntilMe, because I have a little girl, diagnosed at 18 months. And I wanted to tell you it's all possible...but when I got to your site I realized you have Type 1...and know ALL about it. Still, that means if it happens to Peter, you will be so much more equiped than I was...and you'll do such a better job. And either way, Peter will remain happy and healthy. -- Stellasmom

Jack'sMom said...

Steve, my son was diagnosed at age 3 with type 1. I have many of the same feelings that you do, except that I am waiting for his sibling to show symptoms. When she has a heavier diaper than usual or is unusually thirsty, we do a quick finger poke, and so far, she's been okay. We have decided against Trial Net for now, for the same reasons that you have. Negative antibodies don't mean that she'll ever get it, and positive antibodies don't mean that she will.

Still, I hope that there is a cure before my son has children, so that he does not experience the worry that you do. (And, of course, so HE will be cured as well.) Hope springs eternal for us parents of a child with type 1. :)

Anonymous said...

I too was diagnosed as an adult (age 24.) With the 6 year mark coming up next month I think of what I went though. I have a 2 1/2 year old son and a 5 month daughter. I worry about them everyday. My dad is type one...diagnosed at age 26 and I know he was devastated the day I called him. I have to say I do appreciate the example he set for me. So just remember your son is watching you and your diabetes and if he does someday have it he will have an amazing role model and resource to look to.

SkiTwo said...

I was diagnosed at almost 19 and I do worry about my kids getting it. I also worry about not having a life because of dialysis but as long as I take care of it-I don't have to worry about it right? Go CGMS!