Life Isn’t Always Fair
Building Health By Dale Peterson, MD –
There are times when life is not fair. I was reminded of this when, just before Thanksgiving, a twelve year-old granddaughter was found to have insulin dependent diabetes. In that moment her life changed forever. From that point forward she would be required to prick herself to check her blood sugar level at least four times daily. She would no longer be able to eat randomly, but would need to carefully calculate the carbohydrate content of each meal and adjust her insulin dose to accommodate.
For reasons that no one understands her body is producing antibodies that destroy the insulin producing beta cells of her pancreas. It is possible that this was triggered by a viral infection during which her body’s immune system produced antibodies against the virus that accidentally attacked her pancreas as well. She had been a healthy child, however, and we cannot remember any significant illness during which this might have occurred. It is unlikely that the true cause of her illness will ever be known.
A number of predisposing factors for insulin dependent diabetes have been suggested, but none of them applied to her. She was not raised on cow’s milk. She did not receive early immunizations. She rarely ate junk food. Her mother took comprehensive nutritional supplements from before conception through the period of breastfeeding. She, herself, took nutritional supports.
Even when life isn’t fair there are still things to be thankful for. We are grateful that her disease was diagnosed before she went into a diabetic coma, something that happens quite commonly in childhood diabetes. We are thankful that the Children’s Diabetes Center arranged to see her and her parents immediately so that appropriate treatment could be started and comprehensive training given. We are pleased that she has been able to accept the challenge willingly rather than grudgingly. We greatly appreciate the expressions of support and encouragement that came from many friends and family members.
Ironically, one of the most difficult challenges in facing her diagnosis came from well-meaning individuals who suggested that the diabetes need not have appeared had simple measures been taken to prevent it. One person adamantly insisted that had her mother taken supplemental minerals during her pregnancy the diabetes would never have appeared. He was unfazed when told that she had taken the nutrients in question stating that the amount had apparently not been high enough.
We live in an imperfect world. Bad things happen to good people. When they do, accepting the challenge and moving forward with grace and courage is difficult. Being told that one’s actions or inactions were the cause of the malady is neither comforting nor helpful. It simply adds to the burden the individual or family is carrying.
I don’t know what the New Year holds in store. I hope that its surprises are pleasant ones. If you encounter a difficult challenge I encourage you to look for and embrace the things you can still be grateful for. If you learn that someone you know is going through tough times do what you can to support them. That support may mean graciously remaining silent rather than assigning blame and casting shame on those close to the situation.
Dr. Dale Peterson is a graduate of the University of Minnesota College of Medicine. He completed his residency in FamilyMedicine at the University of Oklahoma. He is a past president of the Oklahoma Academy of Family Physicians. He had a full-time family practice in Edmond, Oklahoma, for over 20 years and was a Chief of Staff of the Edmond Hospital. He was active in teachingfor many years as a Clinical Professor of Family Medicine through the Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center.
Dr. Peterson left his full-time family practice in 1999 to consult with individuals who are seeking ways to restore and maintain their health through improved nutrition and other lifestyle changes. He founded the Wellness Clubs of America to give people access to credible information on supporting and maintaining their health. His monthly wellness letter, Health by Design, and his Health by Design E-Newsletter provide helpful information to individuals interested in preventing and conquering health challenges. His book Building Health by Design: Adding Life to Your Years and Years to Your Life was released in December 2010.
Dr. Peterson speaks regularly on subjects related to health and nutrition. He hosted a weekly radio program,Your Health Matters, on KTOK in Oklahoma City for five years. For the past nine years he has addressed questions from across the nation on his Your Health Matters weekly teleconference.He offers a free video LifeXtension course at www.drdalepeterson.com.
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