WellesleyWeston Magazine


Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: http://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/128547

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Page 99 of 207

Type 1 Diabetes Update T H E C O N L E Y F A M I LY left to right: Kelley, Ashley, Kevin, Rikki, and Colby of Weston have been grappling with Type 1 "To me, it is a pain," Kelley says. "I get frustrated and then get angry diabetes for 16 years. Ashley, their older daughter, was diagnosed at age because it can suck. … It irritates me sometimes when some of my two before the family moved to Weston. Kelley, her younger sister, was friends don't quite grasp the consequences of it." RIKKI AND KEVIN CONLEY diagnosed when she was three. Rikki said the biggest change over the last four years was that the sisters, now 18 and 16, had taken charge of managing their diabetes. "We don't talk about diabetes as much as we did," she says. "It's one of those things where life takes over. Diabetes becomes one of the things, not the thing." The sisters exemplify how diabetes affects each individual differ- We l l e s l e y We s t o n M a g a z i n e | s u m m e r 2 0 1 3 ently. Personality matters: Ashley tends to be laid back; her sister intense. So does physiology: Kelley's body and moods are much more sensitive to small changes in insulin. But neither wants to be defined by the disease. After all, as Kelley noted, "You never say someone who has cancer is canceretic." Whether it's because of the demands of diabetes care or just in her nature, Ashley is "very methodical. She's a planner," her father says. During a typical winter week, besides attending school, she participates in ski races several nights, trains in the New Hampshire mountains on the weekend, and comforts young children as a volunteer at Children's Hospital in Boston. All the while she must perform the tasks of the pancreas – an organ that evolved over eons and that most of us blissfully take for granted. "It bothers me when people say it's such a pain, because for me it really isn't," Ashley says of diabetes. "Yeah, it's inconvenient at times. … insulin-secreting cells produced by her pancreas. Without insulin, the You become efficient – that's the key." 98 Getting its signals crossed, Ashley's immune system destroys the body's cells can't absorb energy-producing glucose. Unchecked, soar-

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