Diabetes affects the whole family, whether you’re a parent, sibling, child, grandchild, spouse or friend. This week on the blog, we are featuring stories about loving and caring for someone with diabetes.
Name: Rachel Scott, age 22
Location: Pekin, Ill.
It’s safe to say that diabetes affects me and my family every day. My mother has diabetes. My sister has diabetes. I have diabetes.
My mother was diagnosed with type 1 at age eight. She didn’t know many people with diabetes at that time, and even her doctors had a hard time diagnosing her. Luckily, she had her family to support her along the way.
When I turned eight, my parents began to see symptoms of diabetes. I was tired and sick all of the time and I could never get enough water to drink. One day while I was feeling very badly, my mother and father decided to check my blood glucose. It was very high, of course, and I was rushed off to the hospital to be the second diagnosed family member with type 1 diabetes.
A little more than a year after my diagnosis, my little sister began showing the same symptoms—sick, tired, thirsty, frequent urination. At the age of three, she was also diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
After my sister was diagnosed I understood that I didn’t only need to work on my own diabetes self-care, I also needed to help care for my sister and mother. Taking care of each other is just what families do, and our family was no exception!
My mother, sister and I are always there for each other, whether it’s just a reminder to take our insulin before eating or making sure we have something to eat before going to work.
But we also deal with a lot of low blood glucose levels in our house. We really have it down to a science by now, though. Whenever I am low I rely on my mom and little sister to help me, just as I expect them to rely on me while they are low.
I’ve had my fair share of challenges while helping take care of my mother and sister. Diabetes can be unpredictable, and we’ve been through quite a few emergency situations involving low blood glucose levels. While it is very scary to deal with, my personal experience has enabled me to remain calm and keep a steady head in these situations.
Keeping calm is the greatest advice that any caregiver could receive. Diabetes is a very challenging disease, but a level head can help you work through those challenges. As a person with diabetes I know I would be lost without the support and help from my family.
Diabetes can be time consuming, stressful and chaotic, but it also makes our family very close. We help each other in all aspects of managing our diabetes by caring for each other and offering advice. Sometimes all that is needed is someone to listen to and understand. I am lucky to have that.
Diabetes brings us closer, and I wouldn’t change that for anything in the world.