Monday, October 13, 2008
Daycare and Diabetes
Baby L isn't a baby anymore. He just turned 18 months, and by golly, he is going to daycare next week.
I am so thrilled about this. I can't get any work done anymore when he's awake and eager to do something. He's too mobile, too into things, too toddler for me to focus on work stuff. He'll go for two days so I can finally have some concentrated work time that is during daylight hours. (And working during his nap won't be a coveted luxury anymore).
But I do wonder about the likely increase in illnesses for him and whether it might trigger something in him that might make him develop type 1 diabetes.
Am I crazy?
Sure, as far as I know, it's unclear exactly WHAT causes someone to develop type 1, just that some people are genetically inclined to do so. And that some sickness might stress your system so that the insulin-producing elements in the pancreas are overwhelmed and stop working.
(I know this isn't a technical, scientific way to explain things. This blog's never been about the technical or scientific. If someone wants to enlighten me in the comments, feel free).
There are researchers doing genetic tests locally where I could sign Baby L up to determine if he's likely to develop diabetes in his lifetime. When I first heard about them, I was like, "where do we sign up?"
Then I considered that while it would be a huge relief to find out he didn't carry the gene, what if he did?
Would I worry about his diet and whether he ate birthday cake at someone's party, even if he hadn't been diagnosed with anything?
Would I subject him to random blood tests, poking his fingers and causing him pain and annoyance just so I could calm myself that his blood sugar levels were in range?
Would it be like he was already a diabetic, even if he only had the gene to become one? And is that really fair for him? To be saddled with a regimen before a diagnosis? Even if the diagnosis never happens? Or happens when he's say, 20? Or 50?
So I haven't had him tested (yet?).
But I think about this every time he gets another cold or ear infection. And he's only going to get more once he's in daycare. (And keeping him from daycare isn't the answer. He's gotten a few colds and ear infections already.)
Have you had your kid tested to find out if they have a gene to develop diabetes? Would you?