Seth and the monster

The children were lying safely in their beds, unsuspecting.  Their dreams sweet as the beast crept around their cozy house.  It had stalked them for days, for weeks, for months; possibly since their births.  It could have had any of them; for there was no way for their parents to be aware of the horrible thing licking its lips to have their little angels; no way for their father or mother to smell, hear or see the threat that loomed so near, so dark.  All their parental love and protection would be inadequate.  The innocent faces of the children, their perfect bodies and warm blood were too irresistible for the appetite of the thing that had waited so long to slake its desire.

So, one specific night, seven years ago, the beast slid through the cracks in the walls, sniffed the delights of the kitchen, and skulked all around the house unheard.  Then it crept quietly up the stairs, across the floor strewn with the innocent toys unperturbed, perfect childhood, and decided on the one it would assault.

He lay sleeping and still.  His blue eyes closed over alabaster-thin lids.  His blonde hair tousled about on his pillow, he appeared the perfect victim.  The beast did not pounce.  It did not roar.  It did not tear the child’s skin, or bite his neck.  It did not nibble his perfect fingers.  No soul-piercing screech escaped the monster’s mouth.  Indeed, it had no mouth, no teeth, no talons.  It had no fiery-red eyes; its skin was neither covered in monstrous fur nor reptilian scales.  It was microscopic; it cast no shadow on the wall and made no mark as it entered its victim.  Then, it settled in his pancreas and took up residence in his life, and home, from that night forward as his blood sugar rose and his life as a diabetic began.

Fine, fine!  I’m a physician, so I know that diabetes isn’t really a monster in the classic sense.  We aren’t even quite sure how anyone gets it.  But, October is the month of Halloween, and I must admit that diabetes has been far more terrifying to our lives than any supernatural creature from even the best scary story.  Seth is now 12, and has been an insulin-dependent diabetic since he was five years old.  If you want to talk about horror, imagine, over seven years, the thousands of tiny punctures his fingers have endured; the shots that he has bravely faced, like some prisoner in a torture chamber especially for children.

My Seth is the hero of this story.  Never, since the monster pounced, has he been anything but the bravest, most patient of all children faced with a disease he did nothing to contract.  I’m extremely proud of my boy, and always will be.  He is the epitome of amazing, full of life, goals, dreams; he ignores the monster and goes on with life, even as it follows his every move.

But like every parent of a diabetic child I look forward, with all my heart, to the day when diabetes is finally defeated and we can deliver that monster its death blow.  It won’t respond to garlic, wooden stakes or silver-bullets.  Chainsaws and hatchets are worthless.  Prayers will be much appreciated, of course, but there are no magic chants to use, and no mystic herbs to apply.

The only weapons we have in the fight against this beast are patience, compassion, money, research and brilliant scientific minds, all of which mix into a powerful talisman that will someday put the beast in the ground.  And that’s why we’re writing to you, friends, family, colleagues, strangers; all of you who would like to help put an end to the monster diabetes.  Or if you prefer, call it ‘diabeasties.’

Please donate so that sometime in the future, we don’t yet know when, that nasty monster will never be able to harm our children again.

The Walk for the Cure, for the Western Carolinas Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, is in Greenville, SC on October 24, 2009.

Please walk and donate to the cause.  In order to donate online to Seth, follow the link below.


Jan, Edwin, Seth, Elysa, Elijah and Sam Leap

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