When Kaitlyn was first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, we were desperate for supplies. We were prescribed exactly the quantity needed, and there wasn’t much left over. There was no room for waste or mistakes. I remember going to the pharmacy and paying over $100 out of pocket for a little box of test strips, because we had run out and we weren’t eligible for more from the pharmacy for a few more days. It was always a careful game we had to play — using just enough to last us through the month.

As a newly diagnosed family, we really hadn’t had any time to build up a good reserve of anything yet. I remember thinking, “What if there was an emergency and we can’t get supplies — a natural disaster, or a political crisis, or a medical shortage?” I wouldn’t say that we’re doomsday preppers, but I definitely prefer to be somewhat prepared. We have emergency food storage, but what about Kaitlyn’s most basic medical needs?

Reflecting on this, I asked our doctor to prescribe as much of everything as possible, and I got on every auto-shipment plan I could. Supplies began showing up on my doorstep in big brown boxes like clockwork, and eventually I started to feel more at ease.

Fast-forward eight years, and I now have a mountain of diabetes supplies. Slowly but surely, I’ve built up our stash to much more than a comfortable cushion. We have well over a year’s supply.

So now I’m beginning to have the opposite problem — having too much on hand. I filled one cupboard and then a second. I have boxes above my fridge and in my closet. The section in my fridge that’s supposed to hold butter is filled with insulin boxes instead. They share space with the milk and eggs too. I’m running out of real estate!

So what now? I’m currently facing a decision about switching Kaitlyn to a new pump with an integrated CGM (continuous glucose monitor), but that would make my supply stash obsolete, or at least the pump supplies. Is it worth having to start over? I’ve become so emotionally attached to those supplies — to the peace of mind that comes with having them on hand. Should I forget about it and just move forward?

I think “hoarder me” and “practical me” have come to a good compromise. I’ve decided to use up some of the current supplies over the next few months and then start on the new pump (and new supplies) once I’ve been able to reduce my storage by about 25 percent. I’ll hold on to another 25 percent for emergency purposes, like if we ever have to go back to the old pump during a crisis. And then I’ll donate the final 50 percent to one of the type 1 families we know who uses the same supplies. Maybe I can help them build their own mini hoard!

Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.

Related topics:
Spring Cleaning: Organization Tips for Meds and More
People in the Know: Transitioning to an Insulin Pump
Building a Diabetes Charging Station

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