Health care is a basic human right, not a privilege. For some reason, we’ve allowed ourselves as Americans to be fooled into accepting that one must be blessed with “means” to actuate appropriate health care. As a nation we have failed to realize that our health care system is a barometer of our society’s value for human life.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Three Generations of Type 1 - From Mother to Daughter

How has diabetes touched me? How has diabetes touched my family? How has diabetes touched my mother, my father, my son, my daughter, my boyfriend, my friends, my cousins, my aunties and uncles? How has diabetes touched me?

I am so intimate with diabetes, that so often I forget it is there. I have such a close relationship with diabetes that I have been within touching distance of someone affected by it since my conception. Diabetes has so touched my life that I never thought having a syringe around the house was an odd thing. Diabetes is so engrained in who I am that it never even OCCURS to me to tell people I am diabetic. The truth comes out when they see my pump (pulled unceremoniously from my bra I’m sure), and were confused by my android hookup style I have going.

It occurred to me yesterday (all these realizations, my mind is full of Eureka! Moments) that with my daughter’s diagnosis, there are now three generations of Type 1 daughters in my family. My mom. Me. My daughter. That’s three generations, and I’m wondering how typical this is? There is an OBVIOUS hereditary factor going on with type 1 diabetes in my family. We don’t happen to have diabetes, we practically EXPECT to have diabetes. In fact, I do believe that type 1 overall in my family strikes the women and girls, not the men and boys. It’s okay though, because the men aren’t totally left out, they just get type 2 instead (Just when you think you dodged the bullet!).

My mom was diagnosed at age 11. I was diagnosed at age 13. My daughter was diagnosed at age 3. Wow. Three is just too young.

I wish I could be angry with diabetes, but that just doesn’t make any sense to me. I wish I could be bitter and unhappy with my association with this disease, but I just can’t. I don’t have the energy to be angry. Diabetes has always been there. Going down my family line, my Grandmother said that back in Norway there are gravestones from our ancestors that say on the tombstone “Died of the Wasting Away Disease.” Diabetes has ALWAYS been there. I’ve never known anything different.

Gracie will have an experience similar to mine as she will have to manage her disease throughout her life. Sandis will have an experience like my siblings did, just a little different because Gracie is so much younger than I was at diagnosis. You should hear their little mouths talk about “diabeedeees.” They work their little mouths and tongues and teeth around that word, and really they have no idea what it will mean in their lives.

Sandis asks me “When will I get diabeedeees?”
I say “Hopefully never honey.”
Sandis says “I hope I never have diabeedees and have to take shots Mom.”
I say “ Me too.”

Gracie tells me: “I don’t want diabeedeees.” (she follows this with a big HMMMPH, lip sticking out down to her toes and major attitude)
I respond: “Neither do I peanut, neither do I.”

We don’t have a choice. We are grudgingly making room for diabetes in our lives because if we don’t scoot over, diabetes will just sit ON TOP of us. And that sucks, really, trust me, it does.


Anonymous said...

Bailey, my daughter with type 1, hasnt told me she doesnt want it yet, but shes fully expecting it to go away.

Thanks for the amazing post.


Sandra Miller said...

A wonderful, bittersweet post.

Thank you, Sarah.


Minnesota Nice said...

Oh man, Sarah (and sometimes I get deep into self-pity because I have to take care of just me)....if you ever move down here I will babysit for you guys.

art-sweet said...

Oh Sarah.

I may have given up the cure dream for me, but damn am I still dreaming it for these kids.

Three is too young.
Eleven is too young.
Thirteen is too young.
Thirty is too young.

I think you get the picture.

Major Bedhead said...

These d-blog day posts are kicking my butt, man. This was a great one, Sarah.

If not a mother... said...

whether it is three generations like you are seeing these days or three sisters like my best friend sees, it isn't fair. No one should see type 1 at all, but to see it twice...or three times within one immediate family. Nope, not at all. sigh.

Scott K. Johnson said...

Very well put. Funny how we find ourselves scooting over when we really thought there was no more room to scoot!

We do what we need to do in order to get on with gettin' on.

Anonymous said...


I hope all is well for you. I have been reading your blog for awhile now - you've managed to make me laugh and cry and shake my head knowingly. I've been unsure of how to write to you about your daughter's diagnosis - so, I just haven't. I realize I can't understand what you're going through, but I hope you know that there are people out there that send you thoughts and prayers as you navigate these all too familiar waters.

Best to you,