Not Letting the What-Ifs Win

Overprepared but going with the flow… is there such a thing?

The summer after our son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, I reluctantly agreed to take our first family road trip. Talk about being nervous! I was still learning all things diabetes-care at home, and to now think about being hundreds of miles away from home for an entire week… how would I make this work?

My husband and other family members would be on the trip to help manage everything, but I usually take on the responsibility of preparing and packing my family for trips. So after checking in with a few moms I’d met online for best practices, I made a list and checked it twice, and we were on our way. Bags were packed, snacks were packed, insulin and backup insulin were packed… or so I thought. Over 300 miles into our trip, we stopped for breakfast. It was at this moment that I realized I had forgotten all of the insulin in the refrigerator back home. I immediately broke down in the middle of the restaurant. How could I forget the most important thing we needed? In my attempt to leave the insulin in the refrigerator until the very last minute, we had pulled out of the garage and completely forgotten about it.

Once my husband and my mom were able to calm me down, they suggested looking up the closest pharmacy and calling our endocrinologist for an emergency prescription. About 45 minutes later, we had insulin in hand, we were ordering a late breakfast, and everything was again right in our world!

A major what-if had become our reality, one we were not prepared for, being new type 1 parents. However, after my breakdown and small panic attack, we were able to find a solution to our problem, and our first family vacation post-diagnosis was not ruined. Now, I always triple-check for the insulin — but I also look up the nearest pharmacies where we’ll be… just in case.

We’re now five years post-diagnosis, and somewhat seasoned in type 1 diabetes parenting. And I’m still sometimes paralyzed by the what-ifs. But how do we have fun and enjoy these moments of family time when we’re burdened by what-ifs?

Thinking about the memories we’re about to make, hearing the excitement in my kids’ voices — this is what pushes me to keep going, even when I sometimes want to back out of a trip or new experience because it seems too hard to plan for. The joy of my kids keeps me going. Diabetes can’t steal that! I’ve vowed not to allow diabetes to steal our joy, to shape our family in a negative way, to take away my kids’ childhood. Nope, not gonna happen!

My strategy is being prepared for anything that could go wrong by having a plan A, B, C, and sometimes D. In other words, being overprepared — but going with the flow. Is it easy? Absolutely not! But I find my strength in my faith and my husband. We piggyback off of each other; when he’s super worried about something, I’m usually less worried and ready to allow the kids to experience it. When I’m super worried, he’s the opposite and brings me back to reality. If we’re both concerned about something, then we know it’s time to take a pause and really evaluate our concerns and whether they hold credible weight.

With type 1 diabetes, there may always be what-ifs to every experience, but not allowing the what-ifs to take away the benefits of the experience is the goal.

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.

Related topics:
Yes, You Will Make Mistakes
Tricks for Road Trips With Type 1
Traveling with Type 1 Diabetes

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