travel

Welcome to DTreat

Welcome to DTreat

I worked last night until 11 o’clock trying to get things that I absolutely had to do accomplished. Then I went home and did laundry, and I was supposed to pack and get all my stuff together for the DTreat. But I didn’t. Nope. I fell asleep before anything sensible like that could be accomplished. That’s what happens after you go full throttle all day and night.

Know what else happens? You wake up low and move at a snails pace with the half realization that there is no possible way you’re going to get everything that you failed to accomplish the night before done in time to get to where you’re supposed to be later in the day. I scrambled around and finally managed to leave the house in time to get to DTreat in Tampa before things kicked off at 6 o’clock. However, I forgot that it is the Friday before the July 4th holiday weekend. I ran into more traffic and accidents than I had budgeted time for, so I finally made it to the DTreat almost two hours after registration had been scheduled to close. At one point I was sitting on I-75 with my car parked and turned off, ten miles away from the DTreat, and no way to get there but wait for the Florida Highway Patrol to clear the accident that was ahead. I called A-Flizzle practically in tears of frustration, I had a massive headache from not eating all day, and I was so close, yet so far way.

It was a horrible day. Until I saw this…

Welcome to DTreat

…and that made all the difference in the world.

I arrived at DTreat just in time to miss dinner, but also just in time to get to meet other people with Type 1 diabetes who are just like me. We started with an exercise that was an icebreaker, basically introducing ourselves. It occurred to me as we were doing an exercise that demonstrated our strength and ability to make things happen as a group that even though I didn’t yet know the names of most of the people there, there was not a stranger in that room. Every single person within those four walls “gets it.” They understand the seemingly random beeps of a pump and CGM monitor. They don’t think twice about pricking a finger and testing before having a snack. They know what it’s like to be “low” and “high,” and have wildly entertaining stories to go with each.

These are my people.

I am so thankful for the folks here who are in college, transitioning from life with parents to life on their own, and the fact that they have something as amazing as DTreat to help them deal with their diabetes while they deal with their new found independence.

I am so thankful for those folks here who are just beyond college, and are transitioning into a professional life of a contributing adult in society, and that they have this amazing opportunity to meet other adults who are doing and have done that same exact thing.

I didn’t have this opportunity when I was in those various transition stages of life. I didn’t have anyone. That’s why I am so very thankful that I have this opportunity, to be a part of something bigger than just me, and to be able to see, hear, touch, and be touched by others and know without a doubt that I’m not alone with my diabetes.

Nicole Johnson, former Miss America, and pretty much boss of breaking the mold of what you can and can’t do with Type 1 diabetes, is greatly involved with the DTreat. She talked to us a bit tonight about finding the fire to fuel your life with diabetes. You don’t have to be perfect with diabetes. It’s okay for all of us to identify things that we suck at, especially with our diabetes. (Side note: Nicole didn’t say “suck,” because she is more eloquent then I am. That’s all me, Martin Wood, paraphrasing by using words out of my full color English dictionary.) Nicole stressed that if you can find the strengths in your life with diabetes, and use that perspective as fuel, it will make you stronger and help you overcome those days when diabetes wins.

DTreat - Nicole Johnson

Nicole Johnson at DTreat

There was one exercise that we did tonight that identifies some of the big issues we deal with while living life with diabetes. While this event does focus on Type 1 PWD’s, many of the topics identified resonate throughout the diabetes community, regardless of type. Things like traveling with diabetes, exercise, relationships, insurance, stress, diet, family, work, technology, myths and misconceptions. I’m looking forward to the discussion about these topics over the next couple of days.

Something that I realized when I was looking at all of the notes on the walls and seeing all of these other amazing people adding their thoughts to them was that we are most assuredly not alone with diabetes. Looking around the room, everybody there has as many questions about their diabetes as I have about my own. Those that have lived with diabetes only a few months, and those who have lived with diabetes for decades, we all have questions.

I know that this DTreat is not going to answer all of those questions. Just knowing that someone else is asking the same questions about their diabetes as I am makes me feel a whole lot better about not knowing all the answers.

A-Flizzle and Martin - NOLA - May 2011 (FI)

Helleaux From New Orleans

I’ve been traveling and working a lot lately, which is to blame for the lack of blog posts in the past couple weeks. A couple weekends ago I spent a few days in New Orleans celebrating A-Flizzle‘s birthday. We had a great time eating good food, exploring quirky and interesting stores and art galleries, and overall just having a great time away from work and responsibilities. We even got to check out a fun swampy sounding backwoods bayou band that featured a mix of blues, jazz, and a quintessential New Orleans sound…and a trombone. I love me some trombone.

New Orleans is a city whose disaster history in recent years is known quite well. In September of 2005, the city of New Orleans suffered a devastating blow by Hurricane Katrina, causing billions of dollars in damage and changing the lives of thousands of people. The city still features glimpses of the storm damage, but it is as rejuvenated and full of that New Orleans spirit as ever, while still retaining it’s signature lack of polish that gives the city so much of it’s soul.

Librarie Book Shop - New Orleans French Quarter

Librarie Book Shop - New Orleans French Quarter

Shotgun House Garden - New Orleans French Quarter

Shotgun House Garden - New Orleans French Quarter

Haunted Hotel - New Orleans French Quarter

Haunted Hotel - New Orleans French Quarter

Lafayette Cemetery - New Orleans

Lafayette Cemetery - New Orleans

Traveling with diabetes is always a challenge, as any PWD can attest. Accurate carb counting while on the road is equivalent to winning the lottery or catching an empty cab in the city on a rainy day. Really, it’s mostly luck and best guess. Something that New Orleans is better known for than Katrina is its amazing food, but when you’re trying to stay focused on low carb eating, it isn’t easy being in a city where poor boy sandwiches and fried everything are the staples.

Some of the foods that I enjoyed the most in New Orleans weren’t really food at all. A couple blocks from the shotgun where we were staying was a Community Coffee house, and let me tell you, Community Coffee is so much better in New Orleans than it is anywhere else you can get it. One of the highlights of the trip was a morning when A-Flizzle and I got up early, walked to CC’s to get our coffee, and then headed east to the mighty Mississippi River and sat on a bench and just took a few moments to chat and soak it in. Here is a city that actually sits below the water level, where all that is separating it from a seemingly unending supply of muddy water is a dirt and rock levee, and yet somehow it thrives and survives.

Mississippi River Levee in New Orleans French Quarter

Mississippi River Levee in New Orleans French Quarter

It’s a lot like how I feel about my own diabetes sometimes. I’m always just a break in routine diabetes management away from the proverbial levee breaking and a gush of unpredictable blood sugars flooding in and causing all sorts of chaos. Which is pretty much where I am right now, by the way. My biggest problem is that I’m having a hard time getting pump insets and CGM sensors to stay stuck to my body. On more than one occasion I’ve reached under my shirt to check an inset just to find it floating around in the fabric as free as a bird, spewing insulin all over me like a malfunctioning Band-Aid smelling fire hose.

The thing about diabetes though is that you can’t let it keep you from living life. As annoying as disconnected pump insets and CGM sensors can be, they are manageable and something that I refuse to let keep me chained to the house. I love to travel, and see new places. If that means I have to duct tape my diabetes attachments to me in addition to spending a small fortune and carrying extra supplies everywhere with me, I will.

So in the true New Orleans spirit of things, I say to you, diabetes: “Laissez les bons temps rouler!”

…because ultimately, this is what being in New Orleans was really about:

A-Flizzle and Martin - NOLA - May 2011