I have been a bit on the quiet side this first week of the brand New Year and not been as active, blogging and pushing my EssyEntials plans forward as intended. It was for not so good and unfortunately lifestyle changing reasons. My 12 year old son Fin was rushed into hospital on the 2nd of January and swiftly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. When I received the news from his father my world literally stopped turning for a bit. The thoughts that go through your mind, from utter denial: “Nah not my healthy boy”, to feeling sick with fear; “Shittt!!, will Fin be able to live a healthy life without this stopping him pursuing his dreams, ambitions and being care free”. To self blame; “Have I done something wrong to cause him to fall ill?’ You see Fin has never been a sickly child. As a matter of fact when he was 10 he said to me, “Mummmm, I would like to have the flu or break some bones, as I want to experience what it’s feels like!” Yep, the dude gets his curiosity and total craziness from me, I shamefully have to admit!
Walking into the hospital room with his big sis by my side, (who has been a total super star), and seeing him all wired up with his massive afro taking up so much room on the crispy white hospital sheets made me want to hold him tight and never let go, taking away all the pain and upset he was enduring. I certainly don’t want to come across dramatic or play victim here as I do realise there are people so much more worse off. One of my New Year writing resolutions is to keep things real and not be so reserved with expressing my emotions. Well, being someone who takes everything on the chin without having a wobble, trust me when I tell you, I have my moments where I am far from feeling I am coping nor filled up to the brim with positivity. I guess all parents out there can sympathise with the fact, your child is your soft spot and as soon as that spot gets hurt it freaking hurts you too, and you want do anything to get rid of the pain. Fin being Fin has been from the start of falling ill to present a total trooper. From being woken up every hour in hospital having his bloods taken from sore finger tips, trying to adjust to a life of daily injections, monitoring blood stats and eating healthy. He has taken everything in his stride, not complained once or asked the question; “Why me?”, and been the usual joker branding himself ‘Captain Diabetes’. For instance this morning. During our new morning routine when I was still half asleep and hence being all over the show Fin said; “Stop pretending you are scatty mum! We got this!” Now indeed is the time to let go of so called negative self beliefs, thinking you won’t be able to cope and take control. So yes son, we totally got this!
We are now 4 days in since Fin was first diagnosed, so still finding our feet, but the first thing I’d like to mention is how amazing the NHS has been. Whilst Fin was on the ward at Whiston Hospital they couldn’t do enough for him. Not only for him. They also fed and watered me and made a bed for me so I could stay overnight to be with Fin. I know there are lots of bad stories in the media and I am sure some of you out there have had bad experiences with the NHS, but let’s leave that for another day. However, I’d like to thank all the doctors and nurses in the hospital for being so meticulous, medically and kind with Fin. Above all, the Diabetes team consisting of three incredible community nurses have been total life savers and that light at the end of the tunnel. Always only a phone call away and not only being there to support Fin, they have been a sound board for me when I had my moments. Moments where I had to walk away and let the tears flow. Moments of grieving as I know my healthy care free boy will never be quite the same again. Moments of total denial where I go “Oh I have it all under control, nothing has changed”. Moments where I crashed as I have been living on zero sleep and getting a telling off from the community nurses to look after me too. I know its early days, only the 6th of January and we have a long way to go, yet I feel we have already experienced every emotion possible on this 6 days roller coaster into the New Year!
As some of you may not be aware what type 1 diabetes is and how to look out for the symptoms. It is a serious condition that can kill so I’d like to tell you a bit more about it. I will keep it short and simple. When I posted on social media a few days back that Fin has TYPE 1 Diabetes lots comments were: ‘get well soon Fin’. Super sweet and I don’t want to be a kill joy against all the genuine sentiment of love and support, but the truth of the matter is Fin will never be cured from from type 1 Diabetes (unless we find a cure and let’s stay hopeful) as its incurable and a lifelong condition that is controlled by daily injections, a controlled diet and a healthy lifestyle with exercise. With Type 1 diabetes the body’s immune system attacks part of its own pancreas. Scientist are not sure why, but the immune system mistakenly sees the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas as foreign and destroys them. This is known as ‘autoimmune disease’.
Symptoms of type 1 Diabetes are: feeling thirsty (me and his big sis were thinking a few days before he fell ill, it was hilarious to buy Fin a massive 5 litre water bottle as we thought he started his New Years health kick!) ; passing urine more often than usual particularly at night(apologies Fin for telling you off going thrice to the toilet in the middle of night waking everybody up as you simply can’t pee quietly!); feeling very tired; weight loss and loss of muscle mass. The symptoms usually develop very quickly in young people, which was the case with Fin. They occur because of the lack of insulin means that glucose stays in the blood and isn’t used as fuel for energy. Your body tries to reduce blood glucose levels by getting rid of the excess glucose in your urine. It’s very important for diabetes to be diagnosed as soon as possible. It can be inherited and scientist think it may be triggered by a viral infection. Type 1 diabetes is controlled by regular insulin injections. Fin is currently having 3 Novorapid and 2 Levemire injections every day, to keep his glucose levels normal. Complications of type 1 diabetes can cause long-term health problems, vision loss, blindness, kidney failure, lower limb amputation and cardiovascular disease as strokes are five times more likely.
Whilst mentioning and taking in the complications I have tears rolling down my cheeks, feeling scared even, but also very pissed off that my son has been dealt with this shitty card called diabetes. However about 10 minutes ago when Fin was doings his blood counts and injecting a dose of Novorapid, we were chatting about travelling to San Francisco, skiing trips, visiting theme parks (the perks of having diabetes according to Fin is not having to queue up anymore as he has done his research too) and climbing the Blackpool Tower to raise money for www.diabetes.org.uk. Diabetes will definitely not stop us living life to the full. We are more determined than ever to create lots of happy moments and having even more future aspirations and saying yes to new opportunities.
If you have any concerns or questions regarding Diabetes please contact www.daibetes.org.uk. Fin and I would like to say a massive thank you to all the lovely people in our lives that have shown nothing but love and support. Especially those new people coming into our lives who also have type 1 diabetes and sharing how they managed going through the initial transitional period.
Lots of love from me and Captain Diabetes xxx