A few weeks ago I took a brave visit to Ikea, a giant warehouse furniture and home ware store brought to the United States by my interior design savvy ancestors of Sweden. After I was done making my important purchase of a $14.99 easel for kid’s to paint on in my Monkey and Me class, I headed over to the bathroom. As I sat in the stall playing Angry Birds on my Iphone (totally joking, I never once played Angry Birds nor do I own an Iphone), I overhead a conversation a mother was having with her young daughter. The mother was telling the girl why it’s important for her to wash her hands. “We need to make sure we get a clean and accurate reading of your blood sugar”, the Mother told the daughter as she washed her hands. A few moments of silence passed as I put together the pieces that the young girl was diabetic. Then, perhaps the most depressing sentence I have ever heard a child say, came next.
“Mommy, I know I will get better one day.”
She said it with such acceptance in her voice that she was currently sick but sounded so hopeful that one day she wouldn’t have to prick her finger every few hours to read her insulin levels.
The Mother quickly responded with “I know you will, honey” and they finished up and left the restroom.
I sat there for a moment stunned. My eyes filled up with tears similar to the same way they are doing right now.
The little girl knew she was sick with diabetes. What she didn’t know is that it’s for life.
Reported at the end of 2011, one in every four hundred children in the United States has diabetes. 18.8 million people total in the United States has been diagnosed with it and millions more have likelihood of developing the disease.
In my family alone, I have had grandparents, aunts, and uncles with the disease and the chance of it occurring in my generation of siblings and cousins are certainly strong. The lifestyle that myself and many of my family members choose to make is not one that sets us on a healthy life path either. I talked about what happened in Ikea with my cousin in Chicago, Anna.
Along with my sister and I, Anna has been working out, eating healthy and eating right. After the death of her 32 year old husband Josh last year due due to heart issues he battled for much of his life, Anna knows all too well the importance and value of the greatest gift given: our lives. If we want to be around for as long as we can on this earth, we know that we have to start making the changes to make that possible TODAY.
Our health can diminish so quickly and the moments we have today that we may take for granted can be taken from us because of health issues, whether it is long term or short term disease or injury.
I know that I don’t want to end up with diabetes nor do I want to pass that potential along to any children I may have in my future. I also know that the knee pains that I deal with today are only going to increase over time if I don’t lose weight. For me, I’m not doing this weight loss to look better so other people might like me more. I’m doing this for myself so my organs like me more!
Tell me, dear readers, what are you experiences with diabetes and what do you think the United States can do to help stop it?
Lots of love,
PS – I’m totally going to be going to Los Angeles tonight to see Alyssa! I’m excited to work out with her, take some pictures, and maybe write a joint-post! Do you guys have any requests of what the two of us should talk about?