Type 1 Diabetes

To Fin, a decade on from your diagnosis.

Fin,

How can it be 10 years since I carried you into hospital on a dark wet Friday in January?

How can it be 10 years since I laid you on the hospital bed snuggled up in your khaki parka jacket; Lightning McQueen gripped firmly in your chubby little hand, and waited with baited breath whilst the doctor pricked your finger?

How can it be 10 years since the words were uttered that changed our lives forever.
“His blood sugar is too high for the machine to give a reading. He has Type 1 Diabetes and you need to go straight to the children’s ward!”

I don’t really know how I got through those next few hours, let alone days. Watching on helplessly as you screamed when they tried to insert needles and cannulas into you, the feeling of sickness when you clung to me every time they came towards you with the insulin injections and the overwhelming panic at the thought that in a couple of days, we were being sent home and it was solely up to us to keep you alive.

I’ll never forget those nights we spent in hospital, you cwtched up with your teddies, a picture of health with your gorgeous rosebud lips and beautiful curls. And me laid next to you, holding your hand and crying myself to sleep that I couldn’t take this away from you. The feeling of dread at what the future held and how we would ever live a normal life ever again was suffocating and I could think of nothing else for days on end.

Whilst in hospital we christened your insulin injection the “magic pen” and told you it made you special and gave you super powers. Whilst it didn’t take all your fear away, it helped to distract you and made the process somewhat easier.

And then the time came to go home. And as we got home, your injection was due and it was up to me to administer it for the very first time. As I got it out of the case I’ll never forget those words you uttered with confusion. “No Mammy, I better now, no more magic pen!” and with that, the pent up emotion of the past 72 hours escaped and I couldn’t stop sobbing. Suddenly, I felt two chubby arms around my neck and heard the words “It’s okay Mammy, please don’t cry, I have my magic pen!”

And with that, we looked at each other and I stuck a needle into your leg for what would be the first of thousands of times. I’ll never forget how absolutely abhorrent it felt nor will I forget how your overriding concern that day was to stop me from being sad. And let’s face it, you’ve stopped me being sad every single day since.

I know I’ve said this a thousand times but you are one of the most incredible people I have ever met. I’ve never known such a happy go lucky, fun loving person as you, despite everything you go through. You are the sunshine in every one of my days and when I am feeling at my lowest, you are the ONLY person who can make me belly laugh. I am in awe of you and the way you handle anything and everything that life throws at you; still singing, dancing and cracking jokes from morning until night. I have a gallery of videos of you on my phone that I watch every time I feel down and they never fail to make me laugh out loud.

However, whilst this is you 99.9% of the time, deep down, beneath that huge, hilarious personality of yours, sometimes, especially as you are getting older, I can see that having Type 1 Diabetes gets you down, albeit momentarily.

I know you hate having to eat sugar in class and sit out of sports when your bloods are low.

I know you get embarrassed at having to go to the toilet all the time when your bloods are high.

I know how frustrating you find it when you do an hour of exercise to get fitter and lose weight and then have to eat sugar to compensate for the exercise which totally eradicates all your hard work.

I know it irritates you to have to give yourself insulin every time you eat a morsel of food and that you resent having to carry a bag with you wherever you go.

And I know that you would give absolutely anything to be like all your friends who go through life without a care in the world.

But then you wouldn’t be Fin.

Because as much as I hate this condition with an absolute passion, I truly believe that it’s made you the strong, resilient person that you are today. I made you a promise when you were two years old that I would never let your diagnosis stop you from doing anything. Little did I know that you would be unstoppable, with no help from me whatsoever.

You may be small but you take no crap from anyone and are never afraid to stick up for yourself. You have confidence that I could only have dreamt of at your age and you make friends with everyone you meet, in all walks of life. You are never happier than when we are at family get togethers and you can be one of the boys and you have people in stitches within minutes of entering a room, with a wit that is way older than your 12 years. You are up for anything for a laugh even if it means dressing as an old lady and appearing live on television, but similarly, you take the work that Diabetes UK ask you to do extremely seriously, and I’m never prouder than when I see you on TV sharing your experience with others.

Quite simply, you are everything I hoped you would be, and so much more, and I wish I could rewind 10 years and give that scared 31 year old mother a glimpse into the future, to see that actually, she had nothing to worry about at all.

A whole decade since those fateful words were uttered.

A whole decade making every second of every day count.

Please promise me you will spend the rest of your life doing the same.

I will be forever proud of you Fin and I’m so grateful that you are mine. You have taught me so much and I love you more than I can ever put into words.

Don’t ever change,

Love, Mammy xx

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