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T1D, My Sister, and Me

Written By Macey Shock

Sibling- Brynn Anspach

Type 1 Diabetes is a life changing diagnosis for not only the individual affected, but the entire family. Almost one year ago, it seemed as though our lives had gotten turned upside down. I will never forget the phone call I received from my mother that December night. At that moment, we weren’t sure what was wrong exactly, but it was assumed that my younger sister, 8 at the time, was suffering from either Diabetes or Kidney Disease. I thought for sure that they had to have made a mistake. Diabetes? Kidney Disease? She’s too young for her life to be overtaken like that, I thought. Not long after that first call, I received another informing me that they had to get her to Toledo Hospital immediately because things weren’t looking good. Everything happened so fast. I can remember crying myself to sleep that night asking God, “why my innocent baby sister”. Type 1 Diabetes is not something most people have to worry about and never did I think it would affect someone so close to me.

It wasn’t until her diagnosis that I realized how uneducated the world is about this condition. I like to think that my sister is considerably lucky that her older sister is a soon-to-be nurse. From a different standpoint, however, being so educated on the topic brings much more stress into my life. I find myself worrying about her constantly. I try to find ways to keep her blood sugar at nondiabetic levels, which is nearly impossible at times. I’m always encouraging my mother that she needs to restrict my sister’s food options even more so than she already does and I’m constantly reminding my sister of the consequences her food choices can cause long-term. I feel as though it is my job to help keep her safe since I’m the only one with a medical background in my family. There’s times that I wish I didn’t know about the effects it causes to her body. I’m soon realizing, however, that my sister cannot be sheltered her entire life. Diabetes is something she is going to have to live with and manage for the entirety of her life. She deserves to live a normal childhood just as any other kid her age and that’s something I’m going to have to work on.

A year later and things have finally started to become easier. Monitoring blood sugars and counting carbs has become part of all our daily routines. Diabetes truly takes a family effort. With her pump now, she is able to live more of a normal life. I pray they find a cure for this terrible disease someday, but until then we will continue the fight.

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