Last month, my 9-year-old nephew, Henry, a twin, was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes.
Sue Carswell: When he was told this by his doctor in front of his twin brother, Kirby, Henry asked, "Why me?" My sister simply started to cry, and then she said, "Because God knew you were special and that you could handle it. He knows you're a real trouper!" The news ricocheted throughout our family of more than 20 members, and we were as mystified as Henry. Why Henry?
Not one member of our extended family had ever been diagnosed with diabetes or type 1 diabetes, which was Henry's diagnosis, and the most severe case. Only 1 percent of children are given the same news that Henry was delivered.
But instead of making Henry have a pity party for himself, my family immediately got involved in Henry, the 9-year-old with super powers, the little boy who could face anything.
Our hearts cringed when he went through his first of four prickings a day to determine his sugar/carb levels -- but from that point on, juvenile diabetes was now our family's disease to clutch and embrace. Two weeks after Henry was diagnosed, we entered a juvenile diabetes walk as a family -- and this past weekend we went to a locally arranged juvenile diabetes Halloween party, where we had much fun, minus the candy (Henry even made new friends, as did Kirby!). It is interesting about Henry's original question ... the other members of his immediate family have been tested and are negative, but in the end, a close family comes together and must decide, not ask why. We live with what is. And Henry lives with what is.
We as a family move forward and hope for more advances. And of course we raise awareness because it is the seed of who we became right after Henry asked, "Why me?"
|Sue Carswell is a Vanity Fair reporter/researcher. She is a published author, former senior story editor for "Good Morning America," contributing launch editor for "O, The Oprah Magazine," former executive editor for Random House Inc, senior editor at Simon & Schuster, and former correspondent for People magazine.|