For sisters Evie and Lilly Tucker, living with the challenges of diabetes is something they must endure.
Taking control of their illnesses while maintaining regular lifestyles is a delicate balance for the Decatur High School students, who were each young girls when they were diagnosed, but neither have let diabetes dictate their everyday activities.
Their mother, Charis Tucker, said it hasn’t always been easy.
Of the sisters, Lilly, 14, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 6 in a harrowing ordeal for her and her family. In the fall of 2009, Lilly started not feeling well and was sick for a couple of weeks. Although she felt better for a couple of days, the night before Thanksgiving, Lilly’s health got worse. Her family called the pediatrician, who recommended Tamiflu, antibiotics and advised the family she drink Gatorade and eat regularly.
On Thanksgiving day, however, Lilly couldn’t get out of bed. Charis Tucker said she knew something was desperately wrong. Her daughter was struggling to breathe, and when she put Lilly in the bathtub, she couldn’t hold herself up.
“I just started sobbing,” Charis Tucker said. “I said, ‘My child is going to die.’”
That afternoon, Lilly’s father rushed her up to Seattle’s children hospital. During that time, Lilly lost consciousness. While the doctors reassured the family their daughter wasn’t going to die, they later determined her blood sugars were dangerously high. Lilly spent 13 hours in a coma, but fortunately sustained no damage to her brain or organs. After spending three days in the intensive care unit, she was moved to a regular hospital unit and then released.
The family was a little more prepared for Evie’s diagnosis.
Although the family had no history of diabetes, at the urging of Lilly’s doctors, the Tucker children were tested to see if they carried antibodies that might make them genetically predisposed for autoimmune diseases…