I grew up keeping my diabetes to myself. I’m not entirely sure why I didn’t talk to anyone about it, I guess I figured no one would understand and I didn’t want anyone to feel bad for me. At most, I informed very close friends, a few family members, and managers at work. Aside from that, diabetes has been a silent battle.
I attended my first ICD (I Challenge Diabetes) event about a year ago and it changed the way I looked at diabetes. Sitting in a room with 18+ type 1s was overwhelming at first and quickly turned into a comfortable endeavor. These fellow type 1s had the same little quirks as me! Examples: not poking your index finger for blood sugar checks and over-eating during a low only to take insulin to correct the blood sugar spike shortly after. Though there are millions of type 1s in the world, until I touched base with Chris and got involved with ICD, I thought I was in it alone.
After missing the rest of the events throughout the year, when I heard ICD was coming back this Winter and organizing a Hemlock weekend, I had to jump on it!
Day 1: Ryan & I arrived at the chalet in the evening. After a few quick hellos and settling in, we layered up to head out on the hill for some crazy carpeting, boarding, and good ol’ sliding down on jackets. One of the girls was struggling with low blood sugars so a few of us stayed back until she picked up. Eventually, we caught up to the group:
Ryan showing off his headlamp:
We retreated back to the chalet to officially meet everyone, have a snack, discuss the day ahead, and then hit the bed.
************************ 3:45am wake up call to check blood sugars************************
Day 2: We woke up to breakfast made by the men. Our plan for the day was skiing/boarding, lunch break, more downhill time, break, dinner, and then either go back for night skiing/boarding or stay in. This was my first time on skis and I loved it (if you haven’t already, check out the clip at the top of the page)!
First time using the rope tow, it was not pretty:
I’m not entirely sure where these were taken. Let’s be honest, I didn’t make it off the bunny hill & rope tow:
At some point during the day, when we went back on the hill, I picked up the wrong pair of rental skis. When I returned my skis, I found out there weren’t the original ones I rented and someone had returned mine earlier. Hah! This rationalizes the rough afternoon I had.
During dinner, we did a quick recap of the day and everyone shared a memorable moment. I shared an incident on the hill. My insulin pump detached itself twice and fell out. I guess one of the times I put it back on, the tube must have tangled intself and formed a knot. Long story short, the knot was so tight, my pump was not delivering insulin, and I didn’t notice until it was a little late. I felt myself getting dehydrated so I took a water break. While I was drinking water in the cafeteria section, I heard my pump alarm go off. I saw the ‘no delivery’ sign and pulled everything out to investigate the problem. There was a tight knot in my tube. It took a little while but we eventually loosened the knot and I was able to correct my blood sugar level.
Another memorable moment was when one of the guys had a problem with his insulin pump – I don’t know the full details but when he wasn’t able to get insulin, others from the group covered him with their pumps until he was ok. That’s what this weekend was all about! Sharing best and worst practices, ideas, and simply helping each other out.
After dinner, we went for a walk to catch views of the ski hill at night:
Later in the evening, there was a presentation of the 10 essentials of hiking. Here’s a recap of what we went over:
The group checking out some emergency gear:
After the presentation, we wrapped up our stay while the rest of the group spent another night.
The turn out was bigger than last year with a total of 22 people. Some old faces and some new ones, some non-diabetic ones too. As always, it was a pleasure to spend time with a group of like-minded and motivated type 1s. Thanks to everyone who taught me how to ski, helped me down the hill, and picked me up when I was stuck.
Big thanks to ICD for an amazing weekend!