Wednesday, November 14, 2007

From my sister on WDD

This is something my sister emailed me yesterday. She asked if I would post it today. So here it is:

Being the good sister that I am/try to be, I was reading Jillian’s blog today and clicked on a few of the other blogs she has links for. I came across an article mentioning Inspired By Diabetes and I thought to myself, maybe I should write something about how Jillian’s diabetes has affected me. So here goes.

These are things I remember about when Jillian was initially diagnosed with Type 1 (I was turning 12 in 2 weeks):

- How scared I was when the school nurse buzzed my classroom and told me to come to the office for early dismissal

- The look of dread on my parents’ faces when Jillian and I met them in the hall

- Going to the dietician and learning about carbs and practicing putting air into insulin vials and drawing it into syringes

- Getting fat because I tried to be supportive and ate everything Jillian was eating for breakfast: eggs, toast, juice, milk, cereal

- Trying diet soda and hating it

These are things I don’t remember about that time:

- My 12th birthday

- Christmas that year

There are things I’ll never forget:

- Jillian screaming while my parents held her down in order to give her her shots. That look of fear was just too much.

- Feeling horrible when I had to help hold her down

- How proud I was of Jillian when she started to give herself her shots

- How proud I am of Jillian for taking control and deciding to choose an insulin pump

- How special it made me feel to be included in her process of researching and choosing which pump to go with (I guess that’s what big sisters are for though)

Now for something I don’t like talking about very much. I used to be very jealous of Jillian. In my eyes, my parents were so consumed with taking care of her, that they didn’t have time for me. It was a lonely time for me. Probably the first time I ever felt depressed. Many times I wished it was me that was the diabetic not her. I wish I could say it was an altruistic thought—that I wanted to spare her from the pain and protect her. But it wasn’t. I wanted someone to pay attention to me, to go out of his or her way for me, to forget everything else for me.

I could never be a diabetic. I pass out almost every time I have my blood drawn. I hate pricking my finger, the few times I’ve actually done it. It hurts sooooooo much. Also, diet soda is gross. (For those of you who don’t know, while I didn’t get my “wish” for Type I, I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus at age 15, all though it is not the same.). But really, the point I’m trying to make is that diabetes touches more than just the person receiving the diagnosis—it touches siblings, parents, friends, and lovers. On this World Diabetes Day, I’d like to say to my sister and to all diabetics (Type I’s especially) that I’m so proud of you. For dealing with everything you go though in your daily lives with diabetes. You are not alone, you are not the only ones who are aware, and there are others who are just as ready for a cure.


Penny said...


Thank you for sharing that.

Jillian's sister,

Your honesty is wonderful. My older son was 11 when Riley was diagnosed with diabetes. You've given me a glimpse at this disease from his perspective.


Cara said...

You know, it can be easy for a diabetic to forget that it effects the family members also. It effects so many people and touches so many lives, both directly and indirectly.

Allison said...

Wow. I'm actually tearing up a bit. Your sister sounds like an amazing, thoughtful girl.

I wonder what my brother would write. He was four years old when I was diagnosed. As far as he knows, this is how I've always been.

Amylia said...

Thanks for posting the email from your sister.

To Jillian's Sister: thank you for sharing your memories of JillyBean's diagnosis. My sister got diabetes first (she was 8, as was I) and I got it 3 years later (I was 11, almost 12) and I think I was probably jealous at first, too. I guess I got your "wish" of having diabetes, though trust me, I wish I never did. My parents were hands off with our diabetes and our diabetes didn't get that much attention, but there were some special accomodations that needed to be made, so as a kid I can totally see where the jealousy would come from.

I'm glad Jillian has you as a sister, and I hope you continue to support and love her through all the tough times and the good stuff, too! :)

I think I speak for everyone in the diabetes OC when I say how great we all think Jillian is, and how we are blessed to have her in oru lives, even virtually.

Wingman said...

I remember seeing the fear in my little sister's eyes as we sat in the emergency room in April when I was diagnosed. I've always protected her and for the first time it was me who was vulnerable.

Of course she still thinks the doctor's have made a terrible mistake and that I just have a tape worm they haven't found yet - but that's a story for another time.

But in short - each of us has gotten through our diagnosis and our time as a diabetic because of the love and support of our families.

Sandra Miller said...


Thank you for posting this.

It brought tears.

And reminded us all how diabetes is very much a family disease.