Monday, November 14, 2011

Diabetes: Would You Want to Know?

Today is World Diabetes Day. With four out of five people in my household living with type 1 diabetes, I think about it a lot. Dinners always end with, "How much insulin should I take?" or "Did everyone remember to take insulin?" I always smile when my 17-year-old son, the only one with a functioning pancreas, answers "yes" to that question. Yesterday, he had fun figuring out how much insulin his little brother should take for Sunday dinner (not an easy thing to figure out sometimes) and I thought he guessed pretty well. Maybe if he knows enough about it, he won't have to have that challenge in his life. But surely if he does, he will be prepared.

But in thinking about him, the only one of my three children who doesn't have it, I wonder about this trial I heard on the radio--a public service announcement by Nick Jonas.  When the first of my children was diagnosed, I was asked if we wanted to have the other two screened to find out if they had a higher chance of developing the disease within the next ten years. My first question was, "Can it be prevented?" When they told me no, I decided I didn't want to know if they couldn't do anything about it. And three years later the next one was diagnosed.

But now it sounds like there are some trials going on to prevent the development of type 1 diabetes. So I have to re-evaluate my decision. Do I want to know if he will develop it? Can it be prevented? Would being a part of the trial cause or speed up the onset? If I don't do anything and he develops diabetes, will I forever wonder if I could have prevented it?

Do any of you have any experience with this? Any advice?