Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A road untraveled

Photo by Eva Joos
Not even a full month difference in age, these two beautiful young girls should be growing up in similar circumstances. They are young, pretty, intelligent and articulate. They have friends, they socialize, they like boys, music and movies. There's one big difference: one has diabetes, the other doesn't..

It doesn't show that one girl has diabetes. There's no warning sign around her neck or anything. If you don't know, you wouldn't tell. But it's there. It won't go away either, since it's a chronic disease.

I got to meet this one girl and her mom this year. It breaks my heart to know that this girl - that is so similar to our 16 yo daughter - was given this stupid disease. She didn't do anything wrong. It wasn't her fault nor the fault of her family. Just like that, her pancreas decided it no longer wanted to produce insulin. Our daughter has a pancreas that is doing just fine. I'm happy for her. It's no joy to have diabetes, especially not if you're 16. You just wanna fit in and be like all the other 16 year olds. You don't want to have any "condition" or be "unique in some way".

She's doing great, despite the diabetes. She's a responsible young lady. Due to her medical condition, she has to be very aware of what she eats, whether she works out or not, what time she goes to bed and what time she wakes up. Her life will no longer be like it was before she was diagnosed. I'm proud of her though. I'm proud of the way she copes and how she keeps going. Of course, every now and then she hates the insulin pens and she curses the diabetes. Her tears won't make D go away, but they will relieve the hurt.

Both our daughters have met this girl and her mom. I'm glad they have. Our girls take their health for granted. Not all children have that same good health. Some kids struggle. But then again: they persevere and they take good care of themselves and despite their deficiency they have a bright future ahead of them. Because they are brave and they don't give up.

Sixteen year old girls are supposed to have fun in life and shouldn't have to worry about anything. They shouldn't take their health for granted. We only have one body and we should take good care of it. Honor that body and don't ruin it. Be grateful for your health. It's a gift.

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