Livabetes

For most of you that know me, know that I am not a very “outdoorsy” person. My favorite outdoor activity is laying poolside with a nice, cold…Diet Coke. Well, I guess it’s true when people say that love makes you do crazy things because I can proudly say that I LIKE CAMPING. I know, I can’t believe it either.

Flashback to a year ago… I was an intern with the American Diabetes Association during my senior year of college. The Texas Department of Transportation was hosting a health fair and the ADA had a booth set up there. As I was sitting at the table, this very handsome guy came up to me and all I could think to say was, “Do you know anyone with diabetes?” (I am cringing just typing this). Long story short, that handsome guy is actually the weirdest person I have ever met. But, he is the love of my life. Nick grew up loving the outdoors and camping with his family on the weekends. (I may or may not have told him I enjoyed the outdoors so that he would like me).  We decided to go camping last Valentine’s day, and I actually had the greatest time! I guess you can never be too quick to judge a book by its cover. I am actually referring to when I met Nick.

About 3 weeks ago, Nick and I took a weekend trip to Big Bend National Park. We’ve heard great things about it and decided to give it a shot…since I’m an experienced camper and all. Little did I know that this was going to be a weekend for the books. I packed light since we were going to be carrying our belongings on our hike. But don’t worry, I made sure to pack my Patagonia sweatshirt (like I said, I am an experienced camper).  I also made sure to pack EXTRA glucose tabs and apple juice in case of a low blood sugar. Big Bend has no reception or any kind of water source, which is probably a diabetic’s worst nightmare. For those of you that don’t know, I wear a Continuous Glucose Meter (CGM) which monitors my blood sugar constantly. It actually looks like an iPod. Having that on this trip was amazing because I always knew where my levels were at. Strenuous exercise causes your blood sugar to drop, so when I do work out, I give myself less insulin.

As soon as I put my backpack on, I began to panic a little. This backpack was almost the same size and weight as me, 50lbs. Let me also mention that I don’t work out on a regular basis. So about 30 minutes into our hike, the struggle became all too real. I was gasping for air and becoming delirious. I had to stop and rest every 5 minutes… I felt like I weighed 300lbs. At one point, Nick carried both of our backpacks! I cried twice. There were so many times during that climb that I wanted to give up, but I wouldn’t. The reason for that is because I was too weak to even make it down the mountain. I was definitely stuck between a rock and a hard place. But then I remembered why I was at Big Bend in the first place. Nick wanted to experience this with me and he believed that I was strong enough to do it. Well I’m here to tell you that this story has a good ending. I made it up that damn mountain and it was the best feeling I’ve ever had. I can honestly say that was physically and mentally the hardest thing I’ve

ever experienced in my life, but it was SO WORTH IT! Me, a type 1 diabetic, hiked 17 miles in 24 hours. I guess you could say I am pretty proud of myself. You can truly do anything you put your mind to!

I also want to note that during that time I took little to no insulin, in fear of having a low, and I had stable blood sugars the whole time. I find that pretty amazing!

Thank you for all of the love and support,

Alex

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