Grace's Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis two years ago has altered the course of her life. She is not the person today that she would have been were she not diagnosed. But this is true for everyone - events happen in our lives that weave their way into the fabric of who we are.
As such, Grace's diagnosis has altered the course of everyone in my family's lives. We are all affected in some way. Lately , it seems, no one more so than Little Sister. She's struggling, and I'm not quite sure how to help her.
It started soon after dx, when we saw a sharp increase in her mood swings and temper tantrums. Little Sister has always been my "go with the flow" girl. But she began to be more of a challenge.
Then, about a month ago, she told me she was having trouble seeing the blackboard at school. With her 8 year old well visit less than a month away, and no reports of headaches or other problems with her schoolwork, I decided to wait till then to have her vision checked. Two weeks ago after a cursory vision test my pediatrician referred us to a Pediatric Optometrist at Children's Hospital.
Last Thursday was the appointment. After an extensive eye exam and administration of dilating eye spray we had to wait 20 minutes for full dilation. I was confused by some of the answers Little Sister gave during the exam, so I had her wait in another room while I talked to the doctor.
"Is she faking?" I asked. "Well, yes and no," was the answer.
Apparently, in a desperate attempt to pull some much needed attention away from her diabetic sister and baby of the family/ only boy brother, she's manifesting vision problems. Of course, that's MY take. The doctor said it seems as though she's under a lot of stress, and that's turning an extremely minor deficit in her up-close vision, one that most children would compensate for and outgrow as their eyes mature, into a far-sighted eye strain. When her eyes are tired, such as at school after reading or writing a lot, when she looks up things get blurry. When she was looking at the letters during the vision exam, at first she couldn't read any of them. After a series of different lenses were used she still couldn't see. Then all the lenses were removed and, what do you know, she mysteriously COULD see the letters.
It's all very confusing and upsetting. The doctor said it's actually quite common. The solution is we're getting her glasses to wear at school with an EXTREMELY low prescription. She'll see a slight difference, but her eyes won't become dependent on them. They're almost like a placebo. Then we go back in August for a follow-up and hope this bit if TLC has helped, and corrected the problem. We've told her that the glasses will fix the blurriness and heal her eyes so she won't have to wear them forever.
I can't help feeling like I'm failing her. She is my light, my heart, my joy, my everything, and yet I've failed to show her enough love. This stupid disease has sucked so much of my time that I've lost track of the needs of my daughter - the one without diabetes.
Little Sister is now a different person because of Grace's diagnosis. I only hope I can get her back on track quickly and help her grow into the amazing person she's destined to become.