I am wrapping up the last few days of my family vacation. We got back Sunday afternoon from our camping trip. Because my brother lives in the high desert outside of Las Vegas there was a 30 degree temperature difference from his house to our camp site. Try packing for that!
This was actually the first time I have gone camping (legit camping – IN A TENT) since I was about 13 which means it was also the first time camping since I was diagnosed with diabetes.
After arriving at our site we set up all our supplies and got ready for lunch. We were talking about going on a hike, so I asked if we were planning to do that right after we ate. As we confirmed our plans, I decided to cut my lunch bolus in half to account for the upcoming exercise.
The scenery was beautiful (can you believe we were only an hour outside Vegas?!) and I wished I could have spent the whole time just taking pictures and enjoying my family. Unfortunately, shortly after our hike started I knew my reduced lunch bolus was not going to be enough to counteract the exercise. About 30 minutes into our hike, I had a few of the glucose tablets and decided to set a temp basal.
Twenty minutes later and a little bit further down the trail I needed a few more glucose tablets. The hike became a battle to stay above my low threshold.
I was feeling a little bit better on the way back down the hill and my niece wanted to skip so…
We got quite a bit ahead of the rest of the family so we waited a bit for them to catch up and I took that opportunity to catch my breath as well. When they got to us, I heard the end of a conversation where one family member was saying something like “well, exercise is good for them.”
I asked this person what she was talking about and she said something unconvincing like “we were talking about how exercise is good for people.” I was still low-ish and I tend to be emotional, so in order to avoid an argument I just said, “well, I don’t believe you but that’s fine” and walked away.
We were all pretty tired when we got back to our site so most of us headed to the tents for a rest.
I checked my blood sugar and thought that I had finally gotten back in range. I tried to read but couldn’t quite focus; I tried to nap but I couldn’t sleep.
I finally tested again and I don’t think I can adequately express how frustrated I was by the result.
I continued the temp basal and ate a sleeve of cookies (50 carbs) out of frustration. I barely cracked 200 mg/dL by dinner time.
Having been diagnosed as an adult and mostly on my own, my family has seen very little of my actual life with diabetes. I don’t want my diabetes to interfere with any of our time together so I put a great deal of work into making it look like it is easy, making it look like it is no big deal.
But it is.
I prepared for the hike long before we started. I adjusted my insulin as the situation demanded throughout the hike. I continued on so that everyone else could enjoy the day, even though my body and my blood sugar would have preferred that I turned around. Sure exercise is good for “us”, but during and after our family hike, I also probably ate more calories than I burned.
I spend a lot of time and effort to convince you that living with diabetes is not that difficult, but I wish you didn’t believe me.