A two-year-old little boy was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes recently. I don’t have permission to share their family’s story, so let’s call him L, and say he was from Minnesota for the purpose of this story.
Through a lifetime of twists and turns and people in far away places, L’s dad and another man met recently. Under normal circumstances, one would think it impossible that these two men would ever cross paths. They come from different states and different backgrounds but the older man knew a few things. He had been at this ‘diabetes thing’ for a few years longer than L’s daddy.
His child was diagnosed at a time when insulin pumps were not in wide use as of yet, CGM were just 3 initials, and ‘hope’ was more a girl’s name than anything else. The older man sighed and forced a smile, “As well as my child is doing, I wish it was in today’s world than when we started. The world in diabetes is much different today.”
And that is an absolutely true statement and we should all stop and reflect on what is happening today. Better treatment, better tools, and so many centers now looking at something to get the body back to producing insulin again. Some things will take longer than others but be being diagnosed today, certainly is much better than years ago.
The older man walked along the beach recently. He thought of his new friend, his son L who he never met, and L’s Mommy who was home in Minnesota. He never met her either but he knows……..oh yes he knows her very well. He knows the hospital smell, the hospital crib, the day bed in the room, the walks in the hospital hallway, and even the clock ticking in the late hours. The I.V. lines, learning to stick a child with a needle and hoping the child will not hate them because of the inflicting pain to keep them alive. He knows her tears, her fears, her hopes and he knows the look in her eyes. He never forgot that look because just like this family, his child was two when diagnosed as well, and that child’s mommy had the same look. It’s a look of a pain that no one who is not going through it will ever understand, only those who go through it will. It’s a look never to be forgotten.
But it’s a much different world than it was 25 years. Many new developments, many new management tools, and the idea that our children won’t live with this disease forever is just a little more believable today. That older man has seen a lot and has never lost an iota of hope on all of these great things now available presently and hope for in the future. The older man also knows that this disease surely sucks whenever it strikes and that has not changed one iota either. But the older man understands L’s mommy. That family reminds him why the drive must stay alive and must stay important until one day the disease is no more, as it was the day he became involved. He wants L’s mommy and daddy to know this with all of their heart.
The older man believes this with all his heart as well, because he remembers it all. I know this because the older man is me.
I am a DiabetesDad.