Two moms talking about our families' lives with type 1 diabetes
From Danielle at WaltzingTheDragon.ca:
“Diabetes doesn’t have to stop you! You can do everything with diabetes that you could do before diabetes came into your life! If you went camping before, you can go camping again – it doesn’t have change now that diabetes is in the picture.” Those were the encouraging words the nurse in the hospital spoke to me right after my son Paul was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Now 14 years later, I agree with her but I would go one step further with that statement. You can do everything with diabetes that you could do before diabetes came into your life ‘as long as you have a plan’.
By planning, you then have the freedom to be spontaneous. Talk about an oxymoron – planned spontaneity! These two words are polar opposites but they really are a foundational premise that I have lived by since the diabetes dragon came into our lives. And this concept is especially true in terms of travelling with that dragon.
Three and a half years ago, we decided to go on our dream family vacation before our oldest child turned 18. We went to the travel agency and booked our week to Disneyworld topped off by a week on a Disney cruise. It was all so exciting – until it hit me that cruises are known for an abundance of food. An abundance of food with no access to carb counts…YIKES!! An abundance of food that Paul could access from early morning until late at night (the main deck had unlimited access to soft ice cream, french fries, burgers, chicken fingers, etc.). And to top it off, my son was old enough to run around the ship unmonitored by his potentially ‘scale and measuring cup-equipped’ parents. I wanted this holiday to be as free from diabetes restrictions as possible so I had to come up with a plan for us as a family, but mostly for Paul, to be spontaneous.
Months before the trip, we started working the plan. The plan was for him to become confident and accurate at guessing his carbs – without a scale or measuring cup. It started with weighing/measuring his food and seeing how many carbs were in it. Then, after a good month, progressed to weighing the food and having him guess at the carb count. Then after another few weeks of practice, progressed to making an educated guess at the carbs and then checking BG’s one, two, and three hours after the guessed meal to see how close he was. To make a long story short, this process translated into Paul becoming confident and accurate at guessing his carbs – a skill that still serves him well today.
Travelling with the diabetes dragon meant that many other things had to be thought of. Many plans had to be made – not just one. I can honestly say though that all the planning was worth it. We had a very stressless trip with a plethora of amazing BG’s despite the abundance of food – a true dream vacation. And yes we did everything with diabetes that we would have done before diabetes came into our life and we did it well, ‘because we had a plan’.