Pass the Bottle, I Mean Cure

by Leighann on July 7, 2010

This week we traveled the 200 miles for our quarterly endocrinology appointment. We like to add in a little fun to the trips, visiting museums, the zoo, or other interesting local sights. At this point she thinks of her endo appointments as vacation time and I want to keep it that way.

You know how it is with young children: Are we there yet? How much longer? I have to go potty.

So to break up the trip we allow extra time each way to stop at our favorite rest areas that have good playgrounds.

As we were on the last leg of our trip, we stopped at my daughter’s favorite rest area. We popped into the bathroom before hitting the playground.

As she was going, she looked up at me and said the thing that I hate hearing most.

I don’t want to have diabetes.

I know.

I want to have the kind of diabetes that you don’t have anymore when you are a grown up.

Honey, you will always have diabetes. We can’t take it away.

I know, but remember when we were at Steak ‘n Shake that one time and we were talking to that lady and she said she had diabetes, but she doesn’t any more?

(Was this person type 2? I couldn’t remember the conversation.)

Well, I don’t know about her diabetes, but the kind of diabetes that kids get they won’t grow out of. Scientists (she has a thing for scientists) are working on ways to make your diabetes better and who knows, maybe the scientists could find a cure someday. (I don’t usually talk about The Cure with her.)

That would be good. As long as the cure doesn’t mean I have to drink 300 bottles of wine each day. I wouldn’t like that.

That made me laugh. I had just bought a couple of bottles of wine at Trader Joe’s and I think she was remembering a conversation from a few days before about wine being a “grown up” drink that she wouldn’t like until she’s old enough.

She finished her business and headed to the playground seemingly unphased by the conversation.

It wasn’t until over an hour later as we were nearing our home town that I realized what she was talking about.

One day last year she had a half day of school. As a treat I took her out for lunch, just the two of us. We went to Steak ‘n Shake and ended up sitting at the counter next to another family from the school.

As she chatted with the mother I checked her blood sugar and gave her insulin. She matter-of-factly told the mom that she has diabetes. Like she always does. (Read my guest post on Lemonade Life today.)

The mom told her that she used to have diabetes. She had gestational diabetes.

Q was excited as always to find a kindred diabetes spirit. She asked if she still has diabetes and the mom said no.

As I remembered this exchange I had a twinge of resentment toward this woman. I understand that she was trying to tell my daughter that she “gets it.” But on the other hand, does my five-year-old really need to know that some people can have diabetes and then not have it, but there is no hope for her?

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rachel July 7, 2010 at 11:10 am

Love the bottles of wine comment, saddened by the rest.

You and I know that gestational diabetes is a risk factor for type 2. How to explain that to Q…or to that woman who may not understand?

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2 NJRae July 7, 2010 at 11:28 am

Thanks for sharing this. I have two kids with type 1, when our youngest was diagnosed he was 2 so he doesn’t really remember a time without diabetes. There have been several occasions when some well intentioned person tries to tell me how they or a family “cured” their diabetes. I then make a point of asking them, “Oh you have type 2 diabetes,” to which their usual response is, “I had the REAL bad kind.”
I then try to explain the different types of diabetes as nicely as possible.

Sadly, too many people assume ALL diabetes is curable because the media, both print and televised, fail to differentiate when discussing diabetes in the news and ALL forms of diabetes suck. Here’s the thing even if you have Type 2 and are off meds, you still have it your just keeping it in check with diet and exercise. And if you have had Gestational Diabetes your at a higher risk of developing either Type1 or 2 later in life and YOUR CHILD is at a higher risk of developing Type 1. (John Hopkins Book on Diabetes)

The question I get from my son’s that I hate is “Why did I get Diabetes?” We have no family history, they was breast-fed and fed organic baby food. I didn’t expose them to chemicals, I don’t know why THEY got diabetes but I can teach them to be strong and advocate, so people understand more about this disease and how it impacts them.

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3 Tracy July 7, 2010 at 11:42 am

we had this conversation this morning too..Emily wished she didn’t have diabetes so she could just eat and not have her finger pricked. I really hate times like that!

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4 emily July 7, 2010 at 11:55 am

realizing she was thinking of gestational… broke my heart. it’s not all that often that reading something will bring tears to me, but that definitely did.
It’s amazing how things can go by daily and we manage and things are normal, but hearing something like that makes you realize just how close to the surface your emotions really are.
My heart aches for these kids who are too young to understand why they’re targeted. However, when my son talks about ‘not having’ diabetes he, too, is very matter of fact. He just talks and moves on.

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