Type 1 Diabetes

To Fin, on your 10th birthday!

Fin,

Ten years ago today, at 1:15pm, after an emergency entry into the world, you were finally placed into my arms. You immediately looked up at me with those huge blue eyes and a shock of black hair and I turned to Daddy and said “He’s going to be wicked!”

You had a glint in your eye from mere minutes old. You were such an easy child and you and your brother bonded from the very first moment you met, becoming the best of friends from day one.

And as you grew, and your personality started to shine through, you proved that initial statement of mine to be true over and over again.

Because you, my boy, are quite simply, bonkers!

You are THE happiest child I have ever met. Every day, from the moment you wake up, you are immediately cracking jokes and singing. Just the other night, me and Daddy stood laughing in our bedroom while you sang the Hokey Cokey on the top of your voice repeatedly whilst you were in the shower for absolutely no reason at all!

Despite having more than your fair share of trauma to deal with in your life, you take everything on the chin and are determined not to let anything get you down. Within days of your Diabetes diagnosis, you were smiling and telling me how much you loved sugar free jelly and when the Coeliac diagnosis came, you just accepted it and said, “Let’s go shopping!”

You always have a smile on your face and it’s impossible for anyone to be miserable around you; your personality is infectious.

Your one true love in life is rugby and since the age of 5, your world has revolved around the game. You are never happier than when you are on that field, ball in hand, or flying in with a tackle and it is in those moments, when I watch the grit and determination in your face, that I sometimes have to pinch myself to realise that you are achieving so much more than I ever thought you would.

In this last year, you seem to have matured so much and are becoming increasingly independent.

Your rugby game has improved massively. You have such a presence on the field but you are also developing into more of a team player and it’s been lovely to see you making so many new friends from the various teams that you are now part of.

You are absolutely loving your new nickname ‘Gibbsy’ after being told by one of your coaches that you remind him of Scott Gibbs and I think I hear you get called that more than your actual name these days!

From a social point of view, you no longer feel anxious about leaving the house without me and the minute you have a message from one of the boys, you are grabbing your rucksack and heading out of the door without as much as a backward glance.

You have started inserting your own cannula, making treatment decisions without guidance and being much more aware of how to bring down a high blood sugar or increase a a low.

And whilst I am incredibly proud of the young man you are turning into, it is so very hard to let you go.

Because the truth is, having you around makes me a better person. It’s impossible to be miserable around you and I can quite often come in from work, feeling incredibly stressed yet within minutes, be in fits of laughter because of something you have said or done.

I can’t even imagine a time where I don’t see you every day or we don’t exchange a sarcastic comment or an eye roll at the expense of others! These 10 years have absolutely flown by and it makes me sad to think that in 8 years from now you could be heading off to University.

I am so unbelievably proud of you Fin and it is an honour to call you my son. I hope you have a fantastic birthday and I look forward to all the good times that lay ahead because “even though you are growing up, you should never stop having fun!”

All my love, forever and always,

Mammy

xx

Family, Sport, Type 1 Diabetes

To Fin, on the 7th anniversary of your diagnosis.

Fin,

Today marks 7 years since you were diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.

I remember getting home from the hospital and once you were safely tucked up in bed,  I started scouring the internet for information and joining support groups to try and make sense of our new world.

During these searches,  I came across posts from people who were celebrating their child’s “diaversary”, otherwise known as the anniversary of their diagnosis, and I’m not going to lie, I was appalled.

What on earth was there to celebrate? How could they be celebrating the worst day of their lives? The mere thought of it, made me feel sick.

But then as I read on, I realised that it wasn’t the diagnosis itself that they were celebrating, but what they had achieved in spite of it.

In the last 7 years, you have endured over 700 insulin injections, over 20,000 blood tests and over 750 cannula insertions. Having needles stuck into you is part of your daily routine. You are frequently woken in the middle of the night to drink apple juice and there are days when you are exhausted from a night, blighted by hypos.

But you never moan, you never complain and you have the best attitude to life that I have ever known.

In the last 7 years, despite what you have had to endure, you have achieved so much more than I ever thought possible and there are so many things that I am grateful for.

I am grateful for your older brother. The one who is there for you no matter what. The one who gets to try everything out before you have to, so that when your time comes, he can reassure you and tell you that everything will be fine.

I am grateful for our large network support. Family and friends that are not scared to learn and are determined to be able to look after you, so that we feel supported and can go to work knowing you are  in capable hands. I know it’s a cliché but family really is everything, please never forget that as you get older.

I am grateful for the way technology has advanced since your diagnosis. We have gone from two injections a day and a really restrictive routine to eating whatever you want, whenever you want and checking your blood sugar on your Apple Watch. It’s insane how much things have improved in such a short time and I am so excited to see what the future brings for you.

I am grateful for all the holidays we have enjoyed since your diagnosis. For such a long time, I was afraid to take you anywhere further than an hour from home in case something happened. But, an Orlando holiday in the October of 2012 had already been arranged before we found out about your condition and so once we nailed that, we never looked back!