I'm so excited to finally have written my first blog on our site but even MORE EXCITED to be working on this project with my sisters. It's great seeing everything come together!
So, about me and my life as the sister of a T1D... I'm Mel, the older sister of Tanya. The 3 of us (including Emily) are each about 2 years apart in age and there isn't anything I wouldn't do for these girls - they're my best friends.
I can remember back to when Tanya was diagnosed.
I was 15.
When I got home from school, she was on the couch, so weak. She had lost so much weight despite trying to eat (like the doctor told her to do) and could not stand up at all.
The next day, my parents couldn't bare to see her that ill anymore and decided to take her to the hospital.
It was a Saturday.
I was supposed to be getting ready to go to my friends year 10 formal while my sister was lying in emergency, completely weak and drowsy. I felt so guilty. Emily and I went along to the hospital and mum came out to us telling us what had happened that morning. She said they're almost positively sure she has Type 1 Diabetes. I didn't know what that meant, really. I knew a girl I went to primary school with had diabetes but I had no idea what it actually was.
I just thought it meant she couldn't eat any more sugar.
As my mum led us in, she turned to Emi and I and prepared us. Knowing that if one of us was hurt or in pain, the other would cry immediately, she asked us to be strong for her because she was scared as it was. As we approached her bed, I stopped and took a few deep breaths, already tearing up, then walked around the curtain to find her lying there with about 4 needles and many tubes coming out of her arms and completely dazed. Yep, I couldn't hold it in - I cried my eyes out. Never have I seen my sister that ill, and never will I be able to get that image out of my head.
I told her I wouldn't go to the formal because I wanted to stay with her although my family all encouraged me to go as she would be fine. I thought, "she doesn't look fine to me", but, as I've learnt now, it can take a while to bring your body back up to speed.
From that day and every day along the way, she surprises me.
She encourages me and inspires me.
Never have I known anyone to be as selfless as she is.
I know that no one see's or understands everything she goes through (including me), she struggles, there are complications, many challenges, but,
amazingly, she puts everyone before herself.
I understand the differences between Type 1 & 2... It frustrates ME when people mix the categories or generalize... If only they knew. Although, I have learnt that it doesn't matter what other people think they know, it's about how you manage those thoughts yourself that matters.
She describes it as the silent disease.
And to me, that makes so much sense now.
I mean, something man-made is helping her live.
The hardest part is seeing her tough times... Those moments when she's not OK.
When she's in and out of hospital, that's difficult. Or when she can't even pour a drink for herself because of her blood sugar levels, it's hard to watch.
I really would do anything to take away her suffering, but, as I've learnt, the most helpful, (and sometimes most annoying) thing I can do us just be there to support...
I don't treat her as though she's different, she's my sister and my best friend.
My proudest moment of her was on the day of her 10th anniversary with T1d. She used her voice to support a little girl, in kindergarten, and spoke to her school year about what T1D is. Seeing her give back and provide so much support to someone she didn’t know was very emotional and incredibly empowering. My sister is so selfless and kind-hearted, and the comfort she gave that little girl brought a smile to her whole family, just
knowing they weren’t alone.
Over the years, I've seen quite a bit. Dramatic highs and lows, lots of finger pricks testers, her going in and out of hospital, the injections and the bruises.. But with all the difficultly that managing diabetes can bring, the strength she's found is inspiring...
That strength has led to her changing her career path and the goals she has. It's led her to take the good with the bad and finally, to here. Along with
Tarni (as I call her), Emily and I just want to support her in any way we can, and through The Leveled Life, we too can help - we're motivated by her strength.