Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Good Age for Diagnosis?

It teaches me to wander into forums and read things when I should be focused on the stack of work I have for myself on my desk...

I was reading about a child diagnosed at age two and the parents were asking for tips and help.  The entire situation was overwhelming and despite logically knowing that injections and testing were keeping their child alive, everyone was in tears during the process. One well-meaning parent, who also had a young child who had been diagnosed at two as well, stated that they should be thankful that this was the only life their child would ever know.  They went on to say that the parents could spend the little one's childhood properly preparing them for their adult, independent years. 

I can fully understand what they are saying. I can see the logic, but like the family who cried at every injection, my heart screamed when I read this.  There is no good age for anyone to develop diabetes.  There is no good thing about my son being diagnosed when he was two and not knowing what it is like to simply put food in his mouth without thinking blood glucose level, insulin and carb counts. There is nothing good about the number of injection marks all over his young body.  There is nothing good about fighting puberty and diabetes at the same time. 

There is nothing good about worrying about a seizure in a toddler because of a low that he/she cannot yet feel.  There is nothing good about a child growing up knowing that Mom will be with him at almost all events because no one else will learn to care for him.

There have been benefits.  I have made friends that have stood by me for years.  He has had the opportunity to travel and meet some incredible people as well.  Would I trade that for him to be diabetes free? In a heart beat! As much as I love my friends, I hate diabetes and wish we had all been able to meet under much better circumstances.

I decided to see if I was alone in this feeling and asked a group of parents what they thought.  Most parents felt that it really depended on the child.  They felt that while one of their children copes fine with the disease (having been diagnosed young), another would be a nightmare if they got it now in their teen years.  Other parents decided to pose the question to their children and again we found mixed answers.  Some were happy with the age they were diagnosed (okay they would prefer to never have gotten diabetes but you know what I mean), others felt that an older age would be much better.  Just as some adults had pointed out, these children felt that if they were older when diagnosed they would be better able to understand what was going on with their bodies.

So the verdict? What is the best age for diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes? 200 years old was my personal favorite!


  1. There is none. PERIOD. I think each developmental level has it's own unique dilemma's with the diagnosis. And then, of course, you must factor in the individual. It is hard no matter....from what I have seen.

  2. 200 yes!

    Although there are various ways to look at this and I agree that it's not straightforward, to me, what trumps everything, is the amount of years D has to ravage their bodies. The fewer, the better. Period.