Up until my sophomore year of high school, I honestly didn’t know what a dietitian was. I had probably heard of them at some point, but I had never met one – let alone thought about becoming one. That changed when my little sister, Kolie, went to her pediatrician for a bad ear infection and discovered that she had Type I Diabetes. All of the warning signs and symptoms were there, we just hadn’t known what to look for. Or that we should have been looking. She was an active little 12-year-old soccer player who we thought just had an ear infection.
Kolie spent a few days in the hospital to stabilize her blood sugar and learn how to control her diabetes. The hospital provided us with tons of education on the disease, including meetings with a dietitian. It was here that I saw my first Calorie King booklet and meal planning sheet. This crazy, emotional whirlwind for my family was my first exposure to dietetics. I sat by Kolie’s bedside and went to work reading all of the papers, looking up recipes, and planning meals. I was bound and determined to fix this disease that was making my sister so sick. After we came home from the hospital, I cooked dinner for everyone the first couple of nights. I helped give Kolie her insulin shots and count the carbohydrate content of each meal. I tried not to eat in front of her when she couldn’t. Quite honestly, it was a tough adjustment for the family, and I cannot even imagine how difficult it was for Kolie. But looking back, it provided me with the utmost respect for food, health, and the field of dietetics.
Four years later, Kolie is doing incredibly well and I could not be more proud of her. She’s still playing soccer, eating well, and overall living a healthy lifestyle. Most importantly, she has her diabetes under control. My love for food and wellness has grown tremendously since my first encounter with dietetics. I have branched out and taken interest in many aspects of health, but diabetes is still a cause that I care for deeply. I would never wish diabetes on any child or their family, but I am fortunate that Kolie opened my eyes to the world of nutrition. Truthfully, I could not imagine pursuing a career in any other field.
To learn more about diabetes, please visit the American Diabetes Association at www.diabetes.org.
Thanks so much for reading my story! Love you, Kolie bug ❤