Type 1 Diabetes

To Fin, 11 years on from D Day!


As I sit here, wondering what to write to you this year, it seems crazy to think that it’s been 4,015 days since that dark Friday night back in January 2012.

All this time later, I can still recount every single minute of that night as if it happened yesterday. Dipping the urine strip into the sample and watching the stick turn to the darkest shade possible, the phone call to Out of Hours, packing your bag as I knew we weren’t coming home, the look on the GP’s face when she tested your bloods and they were too high to give a reading. I remember you lying on the bed, sleeping soundly, oblivious to how our lives had changed in that split second.

Later on, I remember sitting on the ward waiting for the paediatrician, with you on my lap reading a Peppa Pig story, feeling numb from head to foot, and you turning to me with those huge blue eyes and saying “Don’t read it in that voice Mammy, do it in your normal voice!”

I remember you fighting (and winning) against 3 fully grown nurses and doctors as they tried to put a cannula into the back of your hand and them giving up because in their words “he’s just too strong!”.

And I remember those next three days learning everything we needed to do to take care of you before we were released into the big wide world to fend for ourselves. I’ve never been as terrified as I was that day!

But we made it through that first year, injecting you twice a day and testing your bloods between 8 and 12 times. We got through the 2nd year where you were given an insulin pump and learnt to deal with that and we’ve got through every year since learning to use the Libre, the G5, the G6 and now, more recently, the closed loop. These learning curves haven’t been easy but every advancement in technology has gradually given you a better quality of life.

It’s been a funny old year, this one. The first year in the last 3 where we’ve started to emerge from COVID hell ( even though you eventually succumbed to it in October 2022) and yet despite games going ahead as normal, you’ve been plagued with injuries which have prevented you from doing what you love every weekend regardless!

Firstly, breaking your wrist in the first week of the Easter holidays, which basically took you out of action for the rest of the football and rugby season. Then, when the new season started back in September, it was only a couple of months before your knee gave out again, which saw you side-lined until after Christmas.

Exercise plays a huge part in your diabetes control and so having such a stop / start year has played havoc with your blood sugars, meaning that even when you have been fit enough to train, sometimes, your blood sugars simply don’t play ball and you have to sit out of training sessions and games which gets you down enormously.

We’ve always been warned that the teenage years would be rocky with regards to diabetes control but I totally underestimated how much harder it would be to keep your bloods in range. Sometimes I can sit in front of graphs and readings for hours and be totally baffled as to what I need to change when; something which has previously come so easily to me.

I watch my phone like a hawk when you are training or playing and I cannot tell you how sick to my stomach I feel when I can see your bloods dropping despite all the measures I have put in place beforehand, because I know how much it affects you emotionally.

This year, more than ever, I’ve realised how much you can resent your condition on times. There have been a few occasions where you’ve had a massive bang out, ranting about how you want to be normal and are sick of having devices attached to you, and those moments scare me. They scare me as I have no idea what to say to make you feel better and they scare me because every time they happen, I worry that this is the start of a slippery slope, that your resentment will escalate and you will start to rebel against your condition, which is my biggest fear.

However, in true Fin fashion, once you’ve had your rant and let all your frustration out, you wake up the next morning, singing in the shower as usual, cracking jokes at every opportunity and forever laughing at videos on Youtube.

And that’s what I love about you! NOTHING gets you down for long. However much bad luck you have and no matter how crap you feel from a night of hypos or a day full of highs, you spend way more time enjoying life than moaning about it.

And this year has been no different!

We spent Easter 2022 at Meadow House, our old stomping ground, where we celebrated you becoming a teenager.

Mayday was spent in North Devon for the weekend where we sampled all the best Gluten Free food they had to offer ( and there was plenty! )

Mid May saw us finally celebrate Stacy’s wedding where you were the star of the show, dancing ALL night with all the women at the wedding!

Whitsun 2022 saw us travel to Scotland for a fishing break in a luxury lodge. Whilst you couldn’t fish because your arm was in plaster, we still had a lovely relaxing time, spending time just the four of us, eating out in lovely restaurants and (you) drinking your body weight in flavoured milk!

Due to the aforementioned flavoured milk and the lovely restaurants, we also joined the gym together during the Summer!

July saw us celebrate Cian’s 16th ….

…and Hannah’s 30th in Cardiff where we ordered WAY too much food!

Then, the next day we were off to Benalmadena for a week, just the four of us for the first time in 11 years. It was amazing to have the sun on our faces and to chill by the pool all day, and of course, you kept us entertained daily!

After just 8 days at home, we were off to Alvor for Nanna’s 70th Birthday Celebrations. You had a whale of a time, especially in the evening, loving all the dancing every night and first to get up to show them how it was done, in your designer T shirts and crocs!

As Summer turned to Autumn, we celebrated Nanna’s 70th..

October Half Term saw us set off to Llandissilio as an extended 70th Birthday Celebration for Nanna. You were chief babysitter for Ivy. She absolutely loves you, as all kids seem to do!

We went to see the Script in the Motorpoint Arena

We enjoyed a few rugby internationals…

and you had a few football trips with the boys!

We watched Cian in his rugby final at the Cardiff Arms Park (his last ever game at Under 16s)

And in December, we were invited to the Senedd in remembrance of Peter Baldwin, who tragically died from undiagnosed Type 1 Diabetes. You gave his mum Beth a hug (she was very honoured) and also met your namesake and Peter’s baby brother Finley. For such a joker, I am always SO proud of how you conduct yourself on these occasions.

Shortly afterwards, Christmas was upon us….

….and we said Goodbye to 2022 and welcomed in 2023 with our first NYE party for 3 years! World Cup Style!

You’ve surpassed all my expectations in school this year, always doing your very best and your hard work has paid off. I know how much harder you have to work to get those results than your ‘Einstein’ brother and that you constantly compare yourself, even though there is no need; nobody else does. We are always very very proud of you!

You’ve played rugby and football, wherever you could, in between injuries and have had a few cracking games with some great action shots from Matthew, our in house photographer.

Injured or not, you never look happier than when you are in the middle of the boys, whether on or off the pitch. Even when you haven’t played for weeks, you are still the biggest Jack the Lad of them all in the clubhouse afterwards and king of the karaoke in both presentations!

I’ve been so proud of you this year too, with how you have managed your weight, despite not being able to exercise for a good few months. You’ve even lost a few pounds towards the end of the year which is incredible, considering the circumstances. I know it hasn’t been easy but you’ve been praised massively in clinic and I know that means the world to you. All we need now is for you to grow a foot or two!

Let’s hope 2023 and your pending MRI scan sees the end of your knee problems and that the 23/24 season is injury free so you can get back to your best! Although as I type this, I’ve just had a phone call from you to say you are on your way home from a school rugby game with a suspected broken finger!

Looking back, whilst it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster year, thankfully there have been more ups than downs. I know living with Type 1 is hard. I obviously don’t know how hard; only you know that, but you make it looks so easy! People who don’t know about your condition would never suspect you had anything wrong with you at all, which makes me even more proud, knowing what you actually go through in the background. You’re an inspiration to so many people without even knowing.

With everything you have going on, you’ve still made me laugh more than anyone else in my life this year and you are the only one who can snap me out of a bad mood instantly. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, they broke the mould when they made you and I feel extremely lucky that I was chosen to be your mother. As Nanna once said “That kid would laugh if his arse was on fire!” and she’s absolutely right!

There’s just one thing I want you to promise me. Promise me that as well as making me laugh daily, you will continue to speak to me when you are struggling. That’s more important than anything! I never ever want you to bottle things up and battle things on your own. The teenage years are hard enough without Type 1 thrown in so you are entitled to have a meltdown now and again…… as long as you promise to wake up belting out Adele songs the following morning! Come what may, we’ll get through it together, as always!

Never change, my boy and keep making us proud!

Here’s to Chapter 12 of the Diabetes Diaries, bring it on!

I love you so much!

Mammy xxxx

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