Bernadette’s journey with Finn
Tell us a bit about your family?
We are a family of five – Mum (Bernadette), Dad (Peter), Jack (11), Finn (9) and Lily (8). We also have two cats, Nove and Cento (named after Mum and Dads favourite Italian wine Novecento) and Ruxin – a naughty 2 year old Boxer Dog. Jack and Finn love to play football of any type – winter, summer, indoor and Lily loves Horses and to be honest any animal of any kind.
How did you get involved with Cure Kids?
It’s a funny story really, it all started with me commenting on a LinkedIn Post that Brendan Pongia put up about his new job! He suggested meeting for coffee and then we were very fortunate to be invited on the most incredible weekend ever…. Ticket to Hope. Finn was then asked if he would like to be an Ambassador for Cure Kids.
What has been the most challenging part of this journey?
It’s hard to answer this question really as when you get the diagnosis you just deal with each day as it comes and then as time passes it becomes part of your ‘normal’ life. The most challenging part would have been dealing with the diagnosis and then the early days after this, I remember having to drag Finn as a wee three year old out from under his bed as he was beside himself with having to have yet another injection. The harsh reality is that he needed these injections to stay alive, but how do you explain this to a wee child? It was pretty heartbreaking but we dealt with it and as each day passed we became more knowledgeable and Finn coped better. When he was first diagnosed, I got told that I was lucky he was diagnosed so early – I didn’t quite understand why someone would say this but now I get it…because he was diagnosed so young, it meant that he wouldn’t remember life without Type 1 Diabetes (as sad as this makes me feel saying this).
How has it impacted your family and life?
Our life is all about planning, we can’t leave the house without his kit which contains juices, mentos, blood glucose reader, insulin, spare insulin pump sites, glucogen (sort of like an epipen) and we are always testing him. I haven’t had a full nights sleep since he was diagnosed as I test him every night as there’s also something called “Dead in Bed” where Type 1 Diabetics have a massive hypo (low blood sugar) in the night and don’t wake up. Jack and Lily are great and keep an eye on Finn, they are all very close in age so they have been very aware and to be honest a great help (although they do try and pinch his mentos but know they are for emergency and not treats). This year Finn has started having sleepovers with friends whose parents we trust to look after him, this has been a massive step for us but also for Finn just being able to do what other kids do.
Your family, and Finn are so brave, how do you stay strong through the toughest of times?
They are amazing, it is heartbreaking when you see them in pain but we always try and focus on the positive and not let it get us down. I do remember when we’ve had some really rough times that I put the experience into our ‘foundation of learning’ so know when we come across the same situation again we will be better equipped. With Type 1 Diabetes you have no choice but to get on with things, it’s a 24/7, 365 days of the year – it’s about planning and when those plans don’t work you adjust and make a new plan.
What is the most important thing for your family?
Having fun together and making memories.
If you could have one wish this Christmas, what would it be?
It’s something that all families that have kids that live with a life threatening or serious health condition want…. A Cure, it actually brings tears to my eyes even thinking about this.
What is one piece of advice you would give to other parents / families going through a similar thing?
Take things one day at a time, be kind to yourself, accept offers of help from people – don’t be too proud as you can’t do this alone. You need to look after yourself to be able to look after your precious kiddies.