Friday, May 13, 2011

Awesome Things

Today's post for Diabetes Blog Week is about Awesome Things:
In February the #dsma blog carnival challenged us to write about the most awesome thing we’d done DESPITE diabetes.  Today let’s put a twist on that topic and focus on the good things diabetes has brought us.  What awesome thing have you (or your child) done BECAUSE of diabetes?  After all, like my blog header says, life with diabetes isn’t all bad!

So, last summer I discovered a site for the group called Connected in Motion. They provide different outdoor events for people with type 1 diabetes, in the belief that we all have a lot of valuable lived-knowledge about diabetes that we to share with and learn from one another. I saw that they had a weekend canoe trip planned for the end of August...

FLASH BACK TO SEVERAL YEARS EARLIER: I remember friends had asked me to go camping with them. I remember noting that we would need to brainstorm about food, because at the time I was on shots and very sensitive to insulin... which meant that any exercise (like carrying a bag of groceries!) meant dealing with lows. I remember them saying there wasn't a lot of exercise involved, so I should be fine. "But, isn't there hiking/portaging and canoeing?" I asked. "Yes," they replied, "but it's really not that much exercise." To which my brain thought: These are my friends and I love them, but there is no way in hell I'm going out into the woods with them. So, I had always wondered what I was missing out on in these trips... So, figuring that everyone on the trip would be kind of in the same boat (no pun intended... ha!) I signed up for the canoe/camping trip with Connected in Motion.

Now, here's how I remember the conversation with my parents after I signed up for this trip:

Parents: So, do you know anyone else going on the trip?
Me: No.
Parents: Do you know people that have done the trips before, then?
Me: Nope.
Parents: Well, how did you find out about it?
Me: I found it on the internet.
Parents: (Silence)
Me: It's going to be fiiiiine. I think maybe I do know someone who knows something about them... ?

That trip was the first time ever that I got to hang out with people that had type 1 diabetes. I kind of underestimated how great that would be. I didn't have to explain diabetes or glucometers or lows or highs to anyone. I didn't have to ask people if they minded stopping so I could test my blood; I just said I needed to or did it and people understood. (Which made me realize I should never really ask. I should just tell people it's going to happen, stop and do it.) It also felt pretty great to be able to do something that I felt like I would never get to do. After that trip, if anyone had asked if I wanted to go camping/canoeing I felt like I had the tools and knowledge to be able to do so. 

Anyway, I thought this was a good story for this post because it's not just something I did despite diabetes, but also because of diabetes... And not just my diabetes, but everyone's on the trip: without their support and knowledge I wouldn't have been able to achieve what I had that weekend.

About six months later I went to another event hosted by Connected in Motion. At one point we all gathered and figured out how long each of us had had diabetes... then we added up all those years to see how much live experience was sitting in the room:


The DL said...

Beautiful picture! You really are accomplished some great things!

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