Here we are again, another 27th January, another year of living with Type 1 Diabetes and what a year it has been!
At this point in time, I normally look back over the preceding year and re-visit all of your (mainly sporting) achievements but, unfortunately, this year, there have been very few due to spending the majority of the year in lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
You enjoyed a “tackling and jackling” course in the Cardiff Arms Park in February.
And later that month, after playing for the Rhondda Schools Squad for over 18 months, the year started off well with your first ever win (and 55-5 at that) on the Oval beating South Powys in the cup.
Then things got even better in March, when you went on to beat Blaenau Gwent 25-0 in the Quarter Final. The next stop would have been the semi final and a possible appearance in the Principality Stadium if you managed to reach the final.
And then that was it! The Quarter Final played on the 6th March 2020 turned out to be the last ever game of rugby you played in the whole horror show that 2020 turned out to be.
You missed the last term in Primary School and spent from March to July 2020 learning at home before one last farewell visit to Ton Juniors to say Goodbye to all the teaching staff that had done so much for you over the years.
When virus levels dropped, as we approached the summer, rugby training was allowed to commence, albeit, no contact was allowed and it was more to keep your fitness up and keep the camaraderie of the team going.
Luckily, as you moved to the Under 12s age group from September 2020, you were also able to join Ton and Gelli Football team, where you slotted in like you’d always been there and made friends with everyone within a matter of weeks.
You were even allowed to play a few games before yet another lockdown kicked in and put paid to that!
September 2020 saw you move to Treorchy Comprehensive School. A move I was nervous about, with you having to become even more independent with your diabetes management but, as always, you exceeded my expectations. You made loads of new friends and loved school life (other than the actual work of course) and I’m pretty sure most of the teachers don’t even know you have Type 1 as you have totally self managed your condition from the first day.
Just as everyone was settling back into some kind of routine, along came another indefinite lockdown in December 2020 and we were back to home schooling yet again, which you were over the moon about!
Over the past couple of months, your condition has almost had to take a back seat since Cian developed a serious eye condition in October. This resulted in numerous hospital appointments and many a day spent in Bristol Eye Hospital. I have been so stressed and worried about it all that I’ve almost unknowingly allowed you to do more of your own care and make your own meals, but, as always, you just get on with life and take everything in your stride. You are revelling in your new role as 2nd cook in command during lockdown. You can rustle up a cracking cooked breakfast and are able to calculate all the carbohydrates yourself, which is amazing for your age!
Looking back on 2020, it can be hard to remember any good times, but there was a period over the summer where we did regain some freedom and certainly made the most of it.
Lazy days in the garden.
Bike rides and getting up to no good with the boys.
Eating out to help out (a lot) in August.
Two lovely little holidays to Somerset, where Daddy was thrilled that you finally discovered a love of fishing..
… followed by a glorious long weekend in Devon.
We went on to have a lovely (albeit very quiet Christmas) where you are Cian were spoilt even more than usual, to make up for the rubbish year we’d had and all the trips and plans we had cancelled.
And whilst you may not have had the opportunity for sporting achievements this year, without a doubt, my proudest moments have been your work as a Diabetes UK Ambassador.
From making videos to raise awareness of Type 1 and the 4T’s and speaking at the Senedd about your condition at the Children and Type 1 Diabetes Day…
..to being interviewed by athlete Mel Stephenson-Gray live at the “Type 1 and Tech” conference and appearing on ITV talking about the importance of all people living with Type 1 having access to technology.
In those very rare serious moments, you make me incredibly proud and so emotional to think how mature you are for your age. You never complain about taking part in these events and even though some of the videos require at least 100 takes, with me getting increasingly frustrated and you laughing your head off, we always get there in the end and I know Diabetes UK are over the moon to have you on board, calling you their “poster boy” in a message just last week, asking you to to take part in another event.
And when I say rare serious moments, I’m not exaggerating. You are still an absolute tonic to be around. Sometimes I’m sat at my desk, up to my eyes in work and feeling so stressed and then out of the blue, I will hear you laughing your head off and I can’t help but crack a smile. I’ve never known such a happy child and to this day, I can’t remember you ever being in a bad mood.
I really hope 2021 is a better year for you. I hope you get back to your rugby and football, back to school, and most importantly, out with your friends as I know you miss that more than anything.
Thank you for never complaining throughout the last twelve months and still being the happy go lucky, singing, dancing, comedian that you always have been, despite missing out on so much. I promise we will make up for it as soon as we possibly can!
Unfortunately, whilst we can’t pay our respects to Pete the Pancreas at Pizza Hut tonight, as we normally do, he’s going to have to make do with a takeaway. I’m sure he won’t mind in the circumstances!
Nine years living with this condition and never once letting it get you down. I don’t think there are many people who can say that. If only I’d known what a warrior you were all those years ago, I never would have worried so much!
I am insanely proud of you Fin and in awe of your personality. I love you so much more than you will ever realise (way further than to the shed and back or all the random places you write on my cards).
Don’t ever change,