THE STORY OF ONE FAMILY'S JOURNEY WITH TYPE 1 DIABETES AND CELIAC DISEASE.
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Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Special Sisters in My Candy Heart

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In this life of finger pokes, meters, juice boxes, and insulin,
There are silent heroes to be found.


Sugar is often called a hero.  
People tell her she's brave.  
Organizations advocate for her.
Groups gather because of her diagnosis.
Random surprises show up in the mail.

Jason and I often hear words of encouragement:
"You're amazing."
"I don't know how you do it."
"No sleep and you're still functioning.  Incredible."
"You're doing a great job."

But type 1 diabetes doesn't only affect Sugar and her parents.
It affects our entire family.

Her sisters worry when something is wrong.
They're often the first ones to alert me to a problem.
I hear their little voices...
"Mommy.  Something is wrong."
They hand me the meter they've stretched high to reach off the counter top.
Then they fumble through her supply bag
And try to open a juice box without spilling it.
They just know.

They'll be the first ones to stop playing when she needs a juice.
And they're the first ones to ask her if she's okay before playtime resumes.

Whenever it's time for a snack, 
They'll ask me how many carbs are in it.
(And if it's gluten free.)


When we went on our excursion a weekend or so ago, 
Tiara panicked at the thought that Kris wouldn't know how to take care of her sister.
Then she remembered that we took care of Bee when she stayed the night.
After that, she felt better about leaving her sister for a couple days.

She likes to carry the "sugar box" when we're out together as a family.
She's always trying to learn the skills necessary to help take care of diabetes.

It feels completely natural, yet strange at the same time,
To be teaching a 4 year old how to check her sister's blood sugar.
It's just something everyone around here needs to know how to do...
And she's eager to help.

(In case you didn't catch that...116...great job, Tiara!)


Whenever a site change is due, we can count on Tink to find PumpPal.
PumpPal is the special stuffed animal Sugar hugs during her site changes.
Tink also likes to hold Sugar's hand whenever she needs anything.
She's the best cheerleader EVer.

A few weeks ago, The Superhero was over for a little visit.
She saw him having his blood sugar checked.
He's 3.  She's 3.
And then, in their 3 year old ways, Tracy and I overheard this conversation:

"Do you have diabetes?"
"Yes I do!"
"My sister have diabetes too!"

She's a smart cookie.

She often asks if she can have one of Sugar's juice boxes.
When I tell her they're for diabetes, she nods her head with a quiet understanding.
I don't think she realizes how drastic low blood sugar can be.
At least not yet.
But she knows it's never good.
And she cries when we have a bad one.

Lately we've been practicing how to call 911...

I realize you're ready to contact the Emmy Nominee Committee...Tink will be available for autographs after we've finished the millionth run through of this scene.

2007 - Sugar Check with the Cozmo Pump (Spice 10, Sugar 4)

I would be remiss if I didn't mention Spice.
She was there the day Sugar was diagnosed.
Even though she isn't  here every day, she remains a vital part of Sugar's team.
Every year she comes to visit and is willing to dive right in to help.
She's always willing to help read labels.
She has never shied away from learning how to do finger pokes or shots.

She was there the day Sugar was born too.
Sugar arrived 4 weeks early - only a few days after Spice had arrived that year.
She surprised us all!
(Perhaps that's what happens when you're 9 months pregnant
and wander all over Kings Dominion for 12 hours the day before.)
Spice's entire 2003 summer visit was spent jumping into the role
of big sister and mother's helper.
She was quite a trooper!

I remember joking with a 6 year old Spice that, when she was 18,
Sugar would be 12...
And they'd be going to the mall together.

That day is coming way too fast.
Spice is almost 14 now.
She's an amazing older sister to all three girls, and we love her dearly.

Christmas 2004...Sugar and Spice!
Sugar was about 18 months and Spice was just about the exact age that Sugar is now - 7 1/2 years

Jason and I often joke that Sugar will never be able to get married...
Well, at least not until he can pass a written exam administered by each of us.

Stop laughing.
I'm not kidding.

Sigh.

I'm not sure how I'll ever let her grow up completely.
I know I have to.
It's a lot easier knowing that she'll grow up with them by her side.



PS -- Thanks to Alexis and Sherry for organizing this fantastical blogging event!
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12 comments:

  1. Love it! Love the videos from each girl. It is definitely important for everyone in the house to know how to help!

    I am sure we will teach The Princess more and more over the years too.

    And yes, whoever The Superhero decides to marry, MUST pass a diabetes exam. :-)

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  2. This post totally gave me chills and teary eyes! ((HUGS)) to those D sisters! They are SO precious and great care takers of Sugar!! You have SO much to be proud of!

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  3. SHOOT!! Justin can't get married because he is not allowed to move away and no girlies will be staying here. Just sayin :)

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  4. Your girls are so beautiful, Wendy! I don't know why... these sibling posts are really getting to me! It's just so dang sweet to see them with each other... just knowing deep inside a truth about D that so few people know. It breaks my heart and yet it fills me with joy at the same time. Love to you all!

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  5. I'm glad I'm not the only one who's D-child can't get married without extensive interviews and exams. :)

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  6. Adorable! Your girls just look and sound so incredibly sweet! I know they most likely have their moments too, but it's wonderful to be so incredibly blessed, isn't it? Beautiful post, Wendy!

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  7. I have said it before and I will say it again- your girls are SO PRECIOUS!!!!!

    Beautiful post about beautiful girls.

    Thank you for sharing them with us!

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  8. i love this post! these photos are beautiful too!! such an amazing "love" story!!

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  9. All of this is true! I have watched these amazing chidren in action!! Makes me a proud Gma.

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  10. What amazing girls you have Wendy! Beautiful, smart and caring. Triple threats!

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While I'm happy to share our experiences with what works, and what doesn't work, for the management of Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease in our house, please do not mistake anything you read here for medical advice. Decisions regarding your/your child's health care should be made only with the assistance of your medical care team. Use any information from this blog at your own risk.