I want to take a few minutes and talk about siblings. Many of us may have more than one child, and the dynamic of siblings on a normal basis is interesting to say the least. But when you throw in them having a sibling that sometimes gets “special treatment” because of them being diabetic, it adds another layer.
Logan is our oldest, 8, and is Type 1 diabetic. Then we have Addison, who is 5 going on 25! Addison will probably never remember life before Logan was diabetic. She has seen a LOT in her short, almost 6, years! She was only 5-months old when her daddy lost his leg in a farm accident, and now she is seeing her daddy and big brother live with diabetes. She is destined to do SOMETHING in the medical field! If we’re lucky, it’s going to be finding a cure <3.
She has always been my helper when it comes to the medical care. Whether it was helping hold bandages when I was doing wound care for Andrew, being the bossiest little nurse when it comes to Logan getting his sugar checked and taking his insulin, or now keeping track of his Dexcom!
So, what I wasn’t prepared for was when the fear started to creep in for Andrew that she might be diabetic (because he felt like she was drinking too much water, and visiting the bathroom a little too much).
I expected the fear from Andrew. He has almost been waiting for it. But, I wasn’t expecting MY fear. I was finding myself hesitating to agree to check her sugar. I noticed myself trying to convince myself that he was crazy. And when I sat with it and explored why, it was because of fear. And, not necessarily the fear of her being diabetic. It was the fear of Andrew having to sit with it. I didn’t want him to blame himself again.
So I decided one Saturday morning, when he was at the farm, to tell her we were going to check her sugar.
More fear I was not expecting.
She has watched daddy and Logan check their sugar since before she can remember. But when it was her turn, it was a different story.
It turned into about an hour-long conversation/crying/screaming ordeal. Tears on both sides. It only ended because I had engaged the lancet and didn’t tell her. When she finally took it, she pushed the button before I could tell her. Oh, she was NOT a fan. But, we did it! We checked her sugar, and it was normal. All of that fear and anxiety of the UNKNOWN created such a stress in my life for weeks that could have been avoided. Not the hour-long ordeal probably, but everything else…yes.
So, I’m curious. How do you handle siblings? Is there a question mark in your mind? Is there something you do special with them so they don’t get lost in the shuffle? Do they play a part in managing their sibling’s diabetes?
There is NO right or wrong answer on this one. Each and every one of us will have a different way that works for our family. And if you feel like its not working, trying something else! We are all here to learn and these kids of ours are usually the best teachers.
This blog post is PART SIX of IT TAKES A FAMILY: LIFE WITH TYPE 1, written by Lindsay Dunlap.
The Dunlap family lives with two generations of T1D, and Lindsay is graciously sharing their experience with us. If you’d like to connect with Lindsay, she’d be happy to talk about the highs and lows with you at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here to learn more about the Central Ohio Diabetes Association, including support for families through programs such as Camp Hamwi.