Thursday, May 27, 2010

It Feels Just Like a Mosquito Bite...

When I was fifteen, my father decided to test me for diabetes, and in those days, they didn't just lance your finger and use a blood sugar monitor to do a preliminary test...they drew a full vial of blood, fasting, and ran an entire workup.

I've had chronic allergies for as long as I can remember- they started testing me by lancing my fingers for blood samples when I was two, and the pads of my fingertips all bear small scars as a permanent reminder. I was, shall we say, somewhat averse to giving blood samples, despite my father's office nurses being the best phlebotomists in the county.

I did the only thing a mature teenage girl would do: I crawled under my father's desk and wouldn't come out, for over an hour.

The nurse in question that day has a daughter who is year younger than me, so she levelled her best weapon: "If you do not come out from under that desk RIGHT NOW, I will make sure that Hopkins finds out that you hid under your daddy's desk like a two year-old!", using her daughter as the conduit for that piece of information, no doubt- trust me, nobody could've gotten out from under the desk any faster.

Oh, and the tests were negative. They're always negative. Dad kept testing me because I was overweight, and two of my great-grandmothers were Type II diabetics. The only time I ever exhibited insulin resistance was when my weight peaked at close to 400lbs., six years ago...and yet, it never occurred to him to test my thin younger sister.

Yes, that's the same sister who is a brittle Type I diabetic.

Much as I hate to admit it, it's better to know than not, although try getting that logic past your teenager. Predisposition to diabetes is hereditary, and in my case, although I'm as white as WonderBread if you're standing right in front of me, I'm part Cherokee- which elevates my risk factor. After spending time with my father's side of the family last weekend, where we are somewhat deceptively (if not obviously) of mixed race, I had a long conversation with my sister about this...and then a scenario that we discussed began unfolding this morning.

I hope not, oh, how I hope not. We cannot change what is, and genetically, we cannot alter what will come if our DNA conspires against us. The full panel results will not be back for a few days, and in those days, let us pray...

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