Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Lab rat

This morning I held Danny steady and sang “You Are My Sunshine” to him while the nurse drew three vials of blood. We’ve been doing this quarterly since he was four months old. He’s perfectly healthy, at least for now. But after being screened at birth for his risk factor for developing type I diabetes, Danny’s was found to be higher – he has a three percent chance of developing type 1 diabetes, compared to the .3 percent chance that the average baby has. As a result, we were asked to participate in the TEDDY Study (The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young). The study involves blood samples, charting of diet and illnesses, and monthly do-it-yourself stool samples, among other things. Clearly, this was not a particularly tempting enterprise, despite the $140 annual payment for completing the required visits. So why did I choose to subject him (and myself) to this? After a lot of consideration about my circumstances as a stay-at-home mom who has the time and the means to participate, I felt a moral obligation. With any luck, Danny won’t come close to diabetes. But perhaps his child will. And if we can do our part to prevent or cure this disease, which currently has neither, I like to think that he’ll grow up to be the kind of person who will be proud of his contribution. For now, he’s just happy with the ball he selected out of the treasure chest.