Tracy sat in the corner of a small, all-white room, while her 12 year old son, Tommy, sat on the exam table waiting, for what seemed like an eternity, for the doctor to come in. It was just another one of those routine, pre-participation sports physicals that she had sat through. She had been through so many of them, with all three of her children, she just wanted to get the release form and be on her way. As her son sat and fidgeted on the table, excitedly talking about the upcoming football season and wondering how many boys would be back from last year’s team, Tracy was looking over her to-do list. She kept looking at the clock and readjusting the route she would take as she contemplated all the errands she needed to get done that afternoon. When the doctor finally walked into the room with his nurse, everything went exactly as it had the numerous times before, until the doctor mentioned a concern about her son’s weight. Tracy acknowledged that they knew he was a little heavy but, with football season coming up, she was sure he would lose some weight. Besides, Tommy’s dad thought he was about to start his growth spurt.
“I’m sure that’s probably the case, but I want to run a couple of blood tests just to check on a couple of things,” said the doctor. “We’ll get you on your way, soon.”
Tracy looked at the clock again and at her pending errands and, though she answered, “OK,” she was really thinking, “Can we hurry up and get this done! I have a ton of things to get done.”
The doctor gave a couple instructions to the nurse and then left the room. The nurse asked if Tommy had eaten anything that morning. When he said he had forgotten to eat before they came, she said they could do the easier test. And it was an easy test: just a simple finger prick, then she took a strip and dabbed it on the blood. She took the strip with her and said she’d be right back. Tracy thought the whole thing was kind of silly and wondered how much longer it would take.
It wasn’t long before the doctor and nurse walked back into the room. The doctor was holding the chart in his hand and asked again, “Tommy, are you sure you didn’t eat anything this morning?”
Tracy interrupted, saying “No, it was my fault. We were running late, and I told him we’d get him something after his appointment. Why? Is something wrong?”
“Well, maybe,” answered the doctor. “Tommy’s blood glucose level is 110, and that is high for a fasting test. I want to run another blood test to look at this more closely because a fasting blood glucose over 100 is considered positive for pre-diabetes.”
Tracy felt like someone had hit her with a bat. “Wait, what? Diabetes? But I thought you either got it as a kid and took insulin shots, or you got it as an adult. I mean, I know he needs to lose a little weight, but that can’t be possible.”
“Actually, it is one of the faster growing diseases we are seeing in kids,” replied the doctor. “There is a genetic component, but there is also a lifestyle component. I’m not saying he has diabetes now. It is one test, and we will need to start following him more closely. It is entirely possible that, with the increased activity and some modification of his diet, it can be controlled. Let’s get the blood test ordered, and then I’ll want to redo it in 30 days to follow it. I’ll see you guys in a month, and we’ll know more then.”
The doctor walked out of the room and the nurse gave Tracy the lab referral for the blood test. Tracy took it, feeling like she was in a dream. They walked to the front counter to set up the follow-up appointment. Tommy’s attention was completely on the meal he was promised, but Tracy felt completely confused, followed by the onset of guilt. How had she let this happen? What kind of mother let’s their child get diabetes or pre-diabetes or whatever the doctor called it? What did he mean that Tommy needed to increase his activity and modify his diet? Her mind spun in a circle of questions, guilt, and denial. She knew she needed more information, and she needed it fast so, after getting Tommy something to eat, she dropped him off at school and headed home to search for answers.
As she was driving home, her husband called to see how the appointment had gone. She told him about the test and the request for additional tests. Her husband just laughed it off, saying, “You know doctors, they always have to find something wrong. Tommy will be fine. He just needs to lose a few pounds. Heck, don’t we all!”
When she hung up, she thought about her husband’s last comment and the fact that her doctor had told her she needed to lose some weight and get more active. She had never really thought about it but, suddenly, she wondered if she was pre-diabetic. And what about her other kids and her husband? The urgency to find information continued to swell.
As she was contemplating all of this, she suddenly became aware of the song on the radio. She listened to the lyrics as Bob Seger sang “Like a Rock” and realized that the song captured the emotion she felt in that moment, realizing how quickly time passes. She thought about how busy she had gotten with her life, work, and family, and how she had lost track of time. From time to time, over the years, she thought about how she had gained some weight, but she knew what to do about it: just eat better and get more exercise, like the doctor had said. She had heard it over and over again and, with good intentions, had decided several times to actually commit to it and get back in the shape. Why hadn’t she just stayed on one of those programs! Wanting a quick answer, she searched the Internet looking for the silver bullet or secret, the quick fix. She was amazed at the number of solutions being sold. A myriad of diets, pills, powders, and programs, all claiming to have the secret, promised fast results.
Then she found a site that said, statistically, more than 95% of diets and New Year’s resolutions fail.. She thought about her past and all of the crazy things she had tried. Some worked for a little while but, eventually, she always gained back the weight she had lost and, usually, a little more. She then found a famous quote by Albert Einstein that said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” That is exactly what she had done over the last 20 years, and here she was, once again, looking for some magic formula.
“No,” she thought. “Not this time. This time there is too much riding on it; I need to find a way to get my son and my family healthy, without gimmicks, tricks, or silver bullets but with a sustainable program.”
For more information about our Healthy Family Evolution Program email me at healthyfamily@myTERRIO.com. The book is also available on Amazon.