Being brave is being afraid
. . . but doing it anyway.

. Katherine Marple

Published Articles

The Fear of Knowing

Posted on December 9, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Katherine Marple | Dec 9, 2014

Originally Published on www.DiabetesHealth.com

 

I picked up a pamphlet at my Endocrinologist’s office today that discusses the process of getting children screened for autoantibodies. These markers can signify the development of Type 1 diabetes up to ten years before it takes hold. This fascinates and terrifies me in the same breath. I can find out if my children are prone to developing the disease I’ve survived for 16 years, but how will I handle the news if one of my children returns a positive result for having the markers of Type 1 diabetes?

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Diabetes has not been kind to me. No matter how diligent I am, it sucker punches me as often as it can. I’ve been in over twenty insulin shocks where I’ve lost consciousness and needed to be revived. Reactions to insulin, assumed to be an allergy, caused several of those shocks to occur. I’ve been in three ketoacidosis states which led to several days in ICU for recovery each time, caused from being sick with bronchitis or severe emotional stress. The insulin resistance I deal with is so stubborn that I’m using 1500mg of Metformin and two injections of Symlin per day to balance it- otherwise my glucose roller coasters off the charts on both ends of the spectrum. I was diagnosed with retinopathy, which luckily was reversed a year later. I have anxiety disorders and bouts of depression, both partially due to the chronic perfection diabetes requires and the physical repercussions of swinging glucose trends.

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Not every one of my health issues can be blamed solely on diabetes complications, but the disease compounds everything. Diabetes is the side effect of having an autoimmune disorder, I understand, but this disease demands to be dealt with 24 hours a day.

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As far as I’m aware (and I’ve asked everyone I know), I am the first Type 1 diabetic in my bloodline across several generations. We don’t know how I contracted the disease when I was treated and exposed to the same environment as my three blood brothers and sisters. We know it has something to do with my immune system, seeing as I also have PCOS and survived Pre Eclampsia in two pregnancies. My DNA has a mutation that my siblings do not have.

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The new technology is there so we can catch the disease as early as possible, sometimes before any symptoms are even present. If caught early enough, diabetes can be staved off for several years and sometimes even prevented.

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I am fascinated by these tests, wondering how my life may have been different if diabetes was detected earlier and if I was diagnosed at 30 instead of 14. I am conflicted about testing my children for these autoantibodies. I childishly only want to know the results if it’s good news.

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I’m not the type of person who buries her head in the sand; I try to face problems and crises head on. But the thought of one of my precious little girls being faced with this monster terrifies me. I’m scared for them. I’m scared for my response if they do test positive for these Type 1 markers. So, until I’m ready to face the possible “positive” results for those awful Type 1 markers, I can’t bear my kids taking that test. Tomorrow I may feel different, but today, I’m just not ready.

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For more information on these tests, please visit www.DiabetesTrialNet.org or call 1-800-425-8361

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Katherine Marple was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 14 in 1998. She is the mother of two small children, has battled insulin resistance, Pre Eclampsia, and pump failures, leading to insulin therapy via MDI using Levemir, Apidra & Symlin, Metformin & CGM. She is the author of two diabetes related novels: "Wretched (this is my sorry)" and "Deathly Sweet."

She can be found at: www.KatherineMarple.com and www.facebook.com/KatherineMarple

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