National Sisters Day

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August 7th is National Sisters Day, a day dedicated to celebrating the close bond shared between sisters. Meet Hailey and Brittany, identical twin sisters who share a very special, unique connection—they were both diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) within months of each other.

When were you both diagnosed with T1D?

“I was diagnosed with T1D when I was 7 years old. My twin sister, Hailey, was also diagnosed when she was 7 a few months later. At the time I didn’t know many people with diabetes so it was nice to have someone that I could relate to and was going through the same thing as me. We have been able to support one another as we entered different stages of life and are always there for questions and support whenever one needs it.” -Britany

What was it like to have your twin sister diagnosed after you?

“I think having my sister diagnosed after me allowed my sister to go through the diagnosis process more easily. My family was able to recognize the signs and symptoms much earlier than they had for me and had already been trained on the treatment. Over time we learned from each other what did and didn’t work and how we differed.” -Britany

Do you have similar or different experiences with T1D?

“Growing up as identical twins we had similar experiences with T1D. We both played on the same sports team, and our blood sugars during games and practices seemed to correspond. Triggers for drops in our blood sugar were very similar, so it was helpful having both of us involved in the same events to point out when those triggers were present. Certain foods also seem to affect us the same. After talking with each other we were able to determine that milk was one of those foods that impacted us both weirdly, and by sharing our experiences with substitutions, we were able to determine that almond milk was the best alternative.” -Hailey

How did you support each other in school and going away to college?

“Going away to college, we started at separate universities. This was challenging because no one around me was familiar with T1D or understood my experience counting carbs, feeling off when my blood sugar is out of range, or using an insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor. Transferring to the same college that Britany attended made it easier when I needed to apply for testing accommodations and understanding how the Disability Resource Center worked. It also helped when I got sick because someone around me was aware of the difficulties of regulating my blood sugar while being sick, and what I needed to bring it back in range.” -Hailey

What is it like having a sister with T1D?

“As a kid I didn’t really understand what having T1D meant and why I needed to count carbs or go to the nurse’s office before a meal. As I became older and began to understand what having T1D means, living with T1D has just become normal, especially when living with my sister. I don’t think twice counting carbs before a meal or needing a site change. Our house is filled with medical supplies and juice boxes in every corner. Having another person going through the same things within my family has helped make things more normal.” -Britany

How do you both support each other in your T1D journey?

“We have always gone to the same endocrinologists, so being able to hear what each others A1Cs and blood glucose patterns was helpful. We were and still can make sure each other is regulating their T1D well and provide suggestions and support when these are a little out of range.” -Hailey