12 Apr A Sibs Story
My Best Friend
I met my best friend on February 8th 2002 in a hospital room in Fairfax Virginia. He was a little over 8 pounds, and he completed the family in ways we didn’t know were unfinished. We did everything together, watched tv, ate every snack in the house, took naps, played baseball and had nerf wars. Ryan was my shadow, I couldn’t go anywhere without him, and to be honest, there wasn’t many times I even tried. I wanted him around as much as he wanted to be around. After every baseball game I played, as soon as the last out was recorded, Ryan would run on the field, go right up to our catcher Andrew Katz and just hold out his hands. Katz would take off his mask, hand Ryan his glove and at 2 years old he would position himself behind home plate waiting for someone, anyone to pitch to him. However, he would never let anyone throw from any closer than the rubber, he would holler at you like Bobby Cox until you were on the rubber.
Fast forward to Ryan’s freshman year of high school. He started getting sick a lot, he would go to school…get sick…come home, repeat. It was a routine for about a week until he was taken to the doctors to get checked out. What we thought was just a bug going around or the flu, couldn’t have been further from the reality that we were all about to face. Type 1 Diabetes. Ryan’s blood sugar was north of 500. He was sent from the Doctors office, to a children’s hospital in Fairfax Virginia, where he spent a few days in ICU as a part of almost a week-long stay all together. Life as we knew it had changed completely, was he going to be okay? What’s going to happen now? Will he ever be able to play baseball again? Can I take the disease instead? While the whole family worried day and night, Ryan was the rock star. Never complaining, never asking, why me? Taking everything in stride and understanding that ‘This is my new normal’
When Ry got home from the hospital, we all tried to get back to a new normal, but how can you? I remember the first time he took a nap when he got home, I almost had a heart attack. Is he napping? Is he low? What do I do? Skittles, WHERE ARE THE SKITTLES?! While the rest of us struggled to get a grasp on things, he had this demeanor about him that just made you relax, it made you feel like everything is going to be okay, and to this point it has been. We still throw together, workout together, eat everything in sight together, he’s still my shadow and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Ryan hasn’t let T1D slow him down at all, he is as active now as he has ever been. On top of training and getting ready for his 3rd varsity season on the baseball team as a junior in high school, he’s also a competitive bowler. Always on the go, and never afraid to explain to his peers what he’s doing when he pulls out his test kit. He’s had his up’s and downs, but he owns this disease, not the other way around.
My best friend is my little brother, Ryan. He’s a 16 year old type 1 diabetic and you would never know it because it doesn’t define him. He’s a baseball player, a bowler, a high school junior, an A-B student athlete, an amazing brother and son, a great friend, and a hell of a lot of fun to be around. Ryan doesn’t have to deal with type 1. Type 1 has to deal with Ryan.