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My name is Elle Christian Manfield and I have type 1 diabetes.

On 8 December 2014, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D). My little sister Asha Mari Manfield was diagnosed with diabetes on 17 June 2013. That was probably the scariest day of my life, along with the day I was diagnosed too.  So, I am going to tell you both my sisters and my diagnoses – I will start with Asha.

My mum, Fiona, tells the story like this:

“It was the week before Asha’s diagnosis and she was at kindy. I looked at her and I thought to myself, that she did not look quite right. She looked skinny and pale and was eating like she was starving to death. I left her there that day as she seemed happy. Over the weekend, my concerns grew but we were having a good time because we happened to be having her eldest sister’s birthday party. On Monday, Asha returned to kindy and her teacher called me later that day to say that Asha was feeling unwell and had put herself to bed. They rang me once she woke up and told me that she was not feeling any better. I went to collect her and on the way home she seemed very confused and tired. I laid her on the couch and gave her a bottle of water that she drank in the one go.

I called Asha’s grandmother, a nurse, and told her all of these symptoms. She said to me, ‘it sounds like diabetes’ and I said, ‘what the hell is diabetes?’ I rang Asha’s dad and said we need to take her to the hospital straight away.

When arrived at the emergency department, I told them straight away that we think she has type 1 diabetes.

They tested her blood glucose (BGL), but we never saw the result at that stage.

Without delay, Asha had more blood tests done, and within 30 minutes the paediatric endocrinology team were in the room telling us that she had T1D. I burst into tears but tried to keep it together. Her BGL and her ketones were really high, as they told us she was in diabetic ketoacidosis. She was taken to the ICU were she was started on insulin and fluid, I stayed there that night watching over her and watched the colour come back into her little face. After a long, 24 hours, Asha was admitted to the children’s ward, were she stayed for five days. Her father and I took it in turns staying overnight with her. In those five days we learned all about how to manage T1D and it was there that she took her first insulin shots.”

It was a year and a half later when I was diagnosed with T1D, and this is my story. My mum tested my blood glucose periodically because she knew of the likelihood that I might get diagnosed too. During my sister’s ballet rehearsal, mum noticed that I seemed unusually moody and was drinking a little more than usual. She put it down to it being a hot summer day and me being extremely bored. Later that night when I was asleep, she tested my BGL and I was higher than normal, but not alarmingly high. Mum called Asha’s diabetes educator and told her what she had found. She told my mum to test me again in the morning, but mum already knew that I would probably also have T1D.

The next morning when mum tested me again, the result was similar. We then went to the doctor and did a fasting glucose check, which was absolutely terrifying and disgusting because I had to drink this terrible drink and have three blood tests over the course of  two hours. Two days later, mum received the results via a phone call from Asha’s healthcare team, who told her I also had T1D. Mum and dad woke me that morning before I was meant to go to school, and told me that I have T1D. That day, I started my insulin injections. I felt so scared that I was screaming and crying ‘please don’t let this be true’, just like now, I am still crying as I tell you my tragic story.

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