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Francesca’s 2021 Review

Wow what a year it has been! I thought I’d write an overview of the year for people who are interested but also for me to read back in the future. There has definitely been many peaks and troughs to this year, with some parts extremely harder than others. January 2021 feels like a lifetime ago but also feels like it was yesterday. 


To kick the year off I created my Instagram account! Wow how pleased I am that I have done that! Not only has it helped my diabetic control, but it also has connected me with other like-minded people and that is invaluable! If you are thinking about getting involved in the Diabetic Online Community my advice to you is just do it! I have listed my favourite accounts here.


February was much of the same as January for me! It was spent by my laptop working continuously on my dissertation and other university assignments. I mean not much really happened in February! I spent my time working or walking and spending time with my family! Jake and I had unlimited date nights inside the house, playing cards and having takeaway dinners!


The first three months of 2021 have been exactly the same! Just dog walking and completing uni work! It was my sister and dogs birthday so we had a couple of small celebrations as a family when the rules lifted slightly! But March was extra special as I submitted my dissertation! That felt like a huge weight was removed from my shoulders!


We were able to finally travel outside of Warwickshire again! So, the second we could, we travelled down to see Jake’s family as we hadn’t been able to in months! We had a month of connecting with other family members outside of our immediate bubble! As the COVID situation got better come April time, Jake and I were able to go out for dinner which was nice. Unfortunately, it was all outside so I’d put a nice dress on, have a photo, then immediately put a big woolly coat, scarf and hat on! It was time spent with family and dogs! The big news for myself in April, was I decided to switch from the Freestyle Libre to the Dexcom. Wow I am so pleased with myself that I decided to make the jump! I thought that diabetes is rubbish and I have dealt with it for so long now that I deserve the good quality equipment. It completely changed my diabetes management around, the fact I can see my real time blood sugar instantly is perfect. My mum and boyfriend get the alarms as well which gives me so much security! If you wanted to trial the Dexcom, click on the hyperlink.


I became adventurous with Dexcom sites etc and was working out what worked for me and what didn’t! As the Dexcom and Libre are different shapes, I needed time to get used to it! We were back and forth to Kent a lot but then we were able to visit other friends who live down in Brighton. It was so nice to see everyone who we hadn’t seen for months! Some of our friends also got engaged which I was so over the moon about! So very happy for them. As the weather was nice, I was dog walking lots and completing yoga sessions outside which felt so unbelievably nice! In May, I had 1 more steroid injection in my shoulder. I fell over 2 years ago and ripped my shoulder and have had issues ever since. But because I am a diabetic, all I was told for the first year was that as I’m diabetic the recovery process can take much longer. Frustrating I know! But after the steroid injection made no impact I was referred onto another specialist. 


I visited Oxford again to see some uni friends for my friends 21st birthday! It was so lovely to see them as I hadn’t seen them really since February 2020, which felt like a crazy long time! We went out for lunch and had a general catch up, I was so thrilled to see them after such a long period of time. Following this, we arrived back in Kent as it is Jake’s birthday in the start of June. We had a lovely BBQ with his close friends and had lots of laughs on a warm, sunny day! Later on in June we were celebrating my sister’s graduation down in Bristol, she graduated in 2020 but wasn’t allowed a celebration so my parents organised one for her instead! We went for lunch in a lovely restaurant on the Harbour side and had a perfect day in the sun! My mum and dad then went on holiday, so I was in charge of the house! I went on countless dog walks and lots of baking. We had lots of bonding! Unfortunately, on the 18th June my Auntie was rushed to hospital due to her bone cancer and the strain that was putting on her health. She was incredibly poorly. We visited her in hospital a lot and just tried to be there for support for my cousin and uncle. I luckily managed to tell her that I graduated from university, and I achieved a 2:1 on the 25th June. She wanted me to continue on the holiday Jake and I had planned the 27th June. We travelled down the Exeter for a night before continuing on to Devon. She took a real downward turn that evening, my mum sat by her side the entire time. I was broken hearted when on the 28th June I was told she passed away that morning. I was told when we arrived in Devon, there was puppies on the farm, so I sat and cried to them for a while. They licked my tears away but unfortunately it doesn’t make it any better. We were told to continue with the holiday and not to come home as there was nothing we could do. We walked around Dartmoor, visited local towns and just had a nice relaxing time. It doesn’t mask up the feeling of pure guilt and tears I experienced the whole time. I have no idea how my mum, uncle or cousin are feeling. 


After coming home from my holiday, I took a couple of weeks off work to gather my feelings and understand my grief. The funeral was an incredibly tough day. I miss her dearly, she was always asking questions about my Instagram page and always told me how proud she was of how I overturned my health complications. I still can’t bear to think about it really. At the end of July, we travelled to London for Jake’s Summer Party for work. The company had paid for us all to stay in hotels which was incredibly kind! The next day my dad had organised my graduation in Oxford. We hopped on the train and had a lovely day celebrating me! We stayed in the Malmaison hotel, which was nice, but unfortunately I had an unbelievable cold. Lost my voice and felt incredibly poorly (I had done multiple COVID tests – all negative). We went to my absolute favourite restaurant; it’s called Chang Mai in Oxford. Its Thai food and would recommend to anyone to visit. 


We went off to a couple of cricket matches over the summer in ‘The Hundred’ series which was great fun! Lots of laughs with the family, excited to go again next year to be honest! We have lots of birthdays in August! We celebrated my grandma’s 91st birthday in the care home with her, followed by my other grandma’s birthday. Then it was mum and my birthday on 18th August! We are very lucky to share a birthday so we get to do a lot together. This year we went for afternoon tea and had some friends over in the evening. Jake and I had a lovely dinner at a fancy Italian restaurant followed by a monumental hypo which wasn’t the nicest! But we had a brilliant day, I made a low carb chocolate cake as well! My mum and dad celebrated her birthday in London together which looked lovely, I was very jealous! 


There were some beautiful sunsets so on one of them we sat and watched it! The view was beautiful, took some wine, snacks and the dogs, we had a brilliant time! September was a quieter month really, lots of dog walks and Jake had joined a football team up at home so watched plenty of football over September. I decided to make the switch from my insulin pump to injections, if you wanted more info on that please visit my blog. But I was so pleased with my decision to switch, the Mio cannula’s were failing me and I just had enough. It was so refreshing to make such a big change! 


October started out as a very exciting month! Jake had booked for me to feed some penguins at Bird Land for my birthday. Wow what an experience, I had the best day ever! I couldn’t believe I was that close to the penguins! We had some birthday celebrations in October, with Jake’s dad and my own dad. We had celebrations for both! I made my dad a birthday cake! I was so impressed, I didn’t think it would look as good as it did! 


As we all know is diabetes month, so I had a very diabetes filled month, finding different topics to talk about! Diabetes is a pain in the arse but anything to raise conversation about those hidden topics such as diabulima or mental health difficulties associated with being diabetic. I had plenty of time for family in November, did lots of bauble painting ready for Christmas, all penguins of course! Travelled to Bristol to visit some friends and started feeling festive! We had some very unexpected snow in the end of November which was a surprise! A very happy surprise! I love seeing the dogs run around in the snow, they are so happy when it snows! I also started 3 days a week ecology job, which has gone really well! It was a lot of learning but by the end of the month, I was asked to work 2 extra mornings a week which was exciting! 


December was spent working lots basically! I had already sorted all of my Christmas present buying out, I like to start early to make sure the cost of it is spend evenly throughout the months! I felt like I got into my stride with the ecology job, I am proud of the work I produce but unfortunately I have had 2 weeks off over Christmas, so I am now worried I have forgotten everything. I also now get to start full time in the new year. We took the boys (my dad, brother, Jake and my sister’s boyfriend) to the snow dome for a freestyle skiing lesson ready for our holiday in January. It has since been cancelled, thanks France XXXX 

I loved decorating our Christmas tree with my family, it’s always been something that has been great fun. We followed it up with a Christmas film and lots of Baileys, a must a Christmas! We visited Blenheim Palace Christmas lights and oh my word. It was so beautiful! If anyone gets a chance to go next year I urge you to! We have spent Christmas down in Kent with Jake’s family which has been nice. But it’s the longest time away from my family for such a long period of time now, plus my first Christmas away from my family that I am missing them terribly now! We are spending New Year Eves at home, having a dinner party with my family. Alcohol will be involved of course but will be dressing up for the occasion! We are having a quieter start to 2022 as we are hoping to get away to Austria or Italy instead now for skiing. Just trying avoid bloody COVID! 

As we enter 2022, it will become my 18th year as a diabetic. That’s an enormous milestone and I can feel extremely down about it as I always end up thinking about my life that would have been. But unfortunately, you can’t change that. Instead I will try and focus on the positives of being a diabetic. 

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