Monday, June 6, 2011
Guest Blogger: My Sister Molly
I haven’t talked much about my family on my blog, not because they aren’t a huge part of my life, because they are. I haven’t talked much about them because this is my story. I’ve been public about it, but didn’t want to put them in a more public eye than they would be comfortable with.
However, my aunt and I recently did the arthritis walk, and my aunt, sister, and I did the lupus walk. Given this, I figured I would give my sister the opportunity to share a bit with you, from her perspective.
My sister is 16 years old. She will begin her senior year of high school in the fall and is preparing to apply for college.
How would you describe our relationship?
M: Since Leslie and I are nine years apart, our relationship has grown over the years. I think that we have become better friends and sisters for one another. We know that we are there for each other, and we enjoy so much more every moment we get to spend with each other (I think and hope Leslie feels the same way). Even though I mess with Leslie (probably a little too often), I know that when and if she needs me, she will let me know.
I agree. Molly and I are nearly ten years apart. I think it was difficult when she was younger and I was a teenager. I think Molly and I have become better friends over the last several years, when she entered high school and I moved out to live on my own.
(And yes, I'm older, but she is taller...)
What do you know/understand about my illnesses?
M: Honestly, I know a lot more than one might think, because of some of the classes I am taking at school. I know that Lupus and RA are both autoimmune diseases, where healthy tissue is attacked by your body’s immune system. One’s body cannot respond effectively, and most if not all of the effects from RA and Lupus are chronic. I also know that Lupus and RA have a huge impact/ side effects on the patients and those that are involved with them.
Can you tell from this answer that my sister wants to go to medical school in the future? I’m impressed!
At what point did you gain this understanding? I was diagnosed a little over three years ago in 2008.
M: Throughout Leslie’s journey, I was periodically filled in on what Lupus and RA were. From the beginning I was aware that they were both recurring illnesses, and I knew that Leslie (in whatever capacity the diseases would affect her) would have to deal with this for the rest of her life. Like I said before, some of the information I learned in my AP Biology class.
Oh, AP Bio. She’s one smart cookie, that sister of mine!
How have my illnesses impacted your life and/or our family?
M: Leslie’s illnesses have definitely impacted my family’s life more greatly than my individual life. Sometimes hospital visits may have gotten in the way of homework or hanging out with friends, but now and even at the time, it did not really matter. It was my responsibility to be there, in the best or worst of times, to support Leslie as much as I could. As far as family is concerned, everyone has been affected be Leslie’s illness, but I would not say in a bad way. We have rallied together, a support network of Rott’s ready to fight for Leslie, but not just Leslie. In general, we have become much closer as a family (we were always very close) and I absolutely love that about us. Even though it can feel like I am being watched by big brother (mostly my mom) it is good to know that I have people always watching my back. Hopefully, that is how Leslie feels, too.
What is it like to have a sister who is chronically ill?
M: This is a really tough question because some of my closest friends do not understand the effects Leslie’s illnesses have on me. I have mixed emotions, some that it is just really strange and some that feel so sad because Leslie is chronically ill. The strange part is the part that is still naïve, which still does not understand exactly what Lupus and RA are, and when people ask how awkward it is to say, “Oh, well I don’t actually know, but I will ask to find out exactly what it is”. The other side, the sad side, is the fact that all I can do is sit back and watch and hear what happens. I can’t stop Leslie’s itching attacks or pain, so I have to be there, to support her and most importantly, to make her laugh.
Has our relationship changed as a result of my illnesses? If so, in what ways?
M: Like I said before, I think that we have become a lot closer since your illness, and since we both are old enough to know that we are sisters, we don’t have a choice, and we always will be (and I can’t imagine being anybody else’s sister). In general, we have learned to share better and be more appreciative of each other. I have definitely learned so many things from you that I always believed you would teach me, and I cannot thank you enough for that.
What has influenced you to take part in the lupus walk and become an instrumental part of “Team Leslie”?
M: I just want Leslie to know that I support her, and if I can walk to show her that I am vested in finding a cure for her and those effected by Lupus, then I will. I could not be more proud to be part of such a cool team, and doing it with Leslie and my aunt is just icing on the cake.
What would you say are our happiest/proudest/most favorite moments together?
M: Most family moments are pretty funny. Scattergories is all I have to say for one of my favorite family moments!!! Now for Leslie and I, my all time happiest moments with Leslie are the times where we just chill together. The times, where we can be in the same room, watching a movie or just laughing, that is the best. Quiet or loud, annoying or off tune, does not matter, special sister moments that I will never forget!!!! Leslie, I love you so much, and want you to know that a girl could not ask for more in a big sister or friend.
Thank you, Molly, for being my sister, and for being the laughter through the tears. You’re the best little sister a girl could ask for. I love you!