Friday, May 8, 2015

How Are the Other Kids Holding Up?

Q:  Just recently a friend asked "How are the other kids holding up?"

A:  The simplified answer is, "Very well."  However, I'm not naive enough to think this hasn't impacted them.  It has.

Their lives were also turned topsy turvy when we received these two diagnoses so close together.

I'm certain that all 4 of the other kids are worried for their little sisters, but I'd be willing to bet they are also somewhat concerned for themselves.

Why? The risk is there. The risk they too could develop type 1 diabetes.

I've now read and heard of families with 3 or more siblings -- all in one family -- being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

So... I KNOW that has to be in the back of their minds day in and day out.

Plus, let's face it, it's hard to see your little sisters go through something like this.

They get to see the girls wince as I inject the insulin into their little bodies.

They get to watch Selah recoil and tense up as I try to prick her finger for yet another blood sugar check.

They get to see the bruises left behind from insulin shots.  Yep, bruises.  They are tiny little girls and I'm apparently not the best 'shot giver'.  I try my best to be very gentle, but sometimes I hit a more sensitive spot; sometimes they flinch which causes the injection to be more painful, forceful if you will.

All of the kids have been wonderful at supporting, encouraging and comforting Selah and Trinity.  From distracting them during a shot, to hugging them after a shot, to monitoring them for a high or low episode.

The older kids are GREAT at comforting me.  What?  Yep, They. Comfort. Me.

How crazy is that?  I'm supposed to be the one comforting them.  But... right now?  They see how difficult this time has been for me. They are picking up the slack and trying to push and pull me through this.

Little Charity is probably the most profoundly impacted.  She's smack dab in the middle age wise of the two newly diagnosed T1D girls.

In some ways, I'm sure she feels 'left out'.

The other two have gotten new necklaces and bracelets - granted they are medical alert bracelets and necklaces, but to a 7 year old?  It's still pretty jewelry.  They also received teddy bears, new bags to hold all their supplies, a backpack filled with 'goodies' like a new water bottle and books etc from the JDRF.  I know it can't be easy for her to see her sisters get all this 'fun stuff' while she gets nothing.  At the same time, I imagine it's hard to watch them go through all they go through day in, day out.

Talk about conflicted feelings.

Jealousy and sympathy?

Wow - try to reconcile THOSE!

But.... with all the kids we try to be available to talk with them.  To listen to them.  To hug and hold them.  We are encouraging them to be involved. To ask questions. To help 'look out' for their sisters.

But... we are also trying to listen to them about their lives and feelings too.  Not JUST about diabetes and their sisters' tumultuous diagnoses.  We are encouraging them to live their lives just as they had been. Granted, we acknowledge so much has changed, yet, we are all still 'The Williams Family.'

THAT hasn't changed.

So, in a nutshell, they are all doing well --- considering.

We were blessed that neither of the girls needed to be hospitalized.  We caught both early on in the disease process.  We will monitor the other kids and have testing done to check for antibodies periodically.

We are doing all we can to keep life as 'normal' as possible, while still doing all we need to care for Trinity and Selah the best we can.  The older kids just completed training with a nurse to learn to give shots and care for the girls.  We have resources available if the kids need more 'formal' help in coping with this situation.

For now?  We seem to be holding our own -- as a family.

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