Married to the Mountains

Let me just start off by saying these past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind! From getting a promotion at work to getting engaged, I honestly haven’t had a moment to sit down and reflect on what has been going on in my life…until now, when Nick told me to get to writing 😉

From the both of us, we want to thank everyone for the well wishes- we are so appreciative of your love and support. But let’s get real, I know you are all here for the juicy details.

Although I was surprised by the actual engagement, Nick and I knew this day would come. We looked at rings in December and Nick asked my parents for my hand in marriage back in March. So, for me, the engagement wasn’t a question of “if”, but “when”. There were times when I tested Nick’s patience… or maybe he tested mine? Let’s just say I was eager to be his fiancé. Not just because of the ring and the wedding, but because I was ready to begin the next chapter of our life together. I will save the gushy stuff for another time, but Nick is my person and he loves cats so it’s a win-win.

Details? I’m getting there, people! Nick always dreamed of vacationing in Glacier National Park but unfortunately never got the opportunity. I guess if you are a camper, this place is like Disney World. There are grizzly bears, no cell service, and no toilets – just like Disney World. I’m kidding. I told Nick to take a friend, but he insisted that I go on the trip. I began working out in March to get in shape for the hike. NEWS FLASH: Ellipticals do not prepare you for altitude sickness. All jokes aside, we had an amazing time in Montana. We saw moose, bears and fat little squirrels. As we began our hike to our campsite at Red Eagle Lake, it didn’t seem so bad. It was unseasonably hot in Montana- about 93 degrees instead of the typical 70-degree weather. There had been a large forest fire back in the early 2000’s, so the trees were still bare and charred for the most part. Basically, it was hot as hell. We hiked 7.5 miles and had super heavy backpacks on. Once we got to mile 5, I was getting a little crabby to put it nicely. When we saw the lake I literally cried happy tears! For me, the process of hiking is so rewarding. It’s a great feeling knowing that you must work hard to get to your final destination- it was totally worth it. Nick and I got settled and then took a little stroll by the lake to cool off. He wanted to snap a picture of me looking at the mountains for a blog post. As I faced away from him, he asked me to turn around. There he was, down on one knee asking if I would marry him. I cried… a lot. What else is new? It was perfect.

Although we were sad to come back to reality, we are so excited to begin the wedding planning process. We have started looking at venues and creating our guest list. Please don’t ask me if you’re invited to the wedding. If you have to ask, chances are you aren’t my first pick 😉

Over the next few weeks, I plan to share more details of my Glacier trip and wedding updates. I am ecstatic for what is to come!

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Follow Your Arrow (or syringe)

I know that my last post left many of you guessing so I am back with news! For those of you who don’t know me, I have a slight obsession with JoJo Fletcher from season 12 of the Bachelorette. I will keep this short, so basically JoJo’s hair is literal perfection and I wish I could be her. And yes, we DO have a lot in common…well I think we do anyways. Not only do I look like her 😉 but we are both from Dallas. Cool stuff, I know! That’s not all though, in episode 9 the cast took a little trip to Thailand. ME TOO, ME TOO. Yes ladies and gentleman, I will be traveling to Thailand in October for a little vaca. with my main squeeze. We will be visiting Chiang Mai and the beautiful Phi Phi Islands. Nick is traveling to Taiwan for his MBA capstone course a week prior, so I will momentarily be traveling by myself. I’ve never been out of the country before so this is definitely new territory for me. After my parents had a momentary freak out for a couple of weeks, it was time to get down to business. The first piece of business is how do I handle my diabetes?! Normally when I travel I have everything under control, but being on an airplane for almost 48 hours and gallivanting through the jungle is a little different.

Alex’s Worry List/ Q&A

1.) Do I wear my insulin pump in Thailand?

My biggest worry was the dang pump! Although it is the most amazing thing in my life, I still had concerns about it. I always bring extra pods and back up insulin with me when I travel but I didn’t know if my Omnipod would cause me more issues than Vogue. My pump is set to my specific time zone and expires exactly 72 hours from when the pod is inserted/activated. Since it will take me about 40 hours to get to Thailand and with the major time difference, I didn’t know how that would affect my body. However, my blood sugar levels are better controlled when I wear my pump so not wearing isn’t even an option. My doctor definitely encouraged me to wear my pump while traveling overseas and totally made me feel at ease. I was instructed to bring extra pods, insulin and needles in case anything happens and to leave the pump alone until I get off the plane in Chiang Mai. Once I arrive I will change the date/time on my pump and I should be good to go!

2.) Do I bring paper prescriptions?

My doctor told me there was no need to bring paper prescriptions. He said that people in Thailand know what diabetes is…he’s a gem. He did tell me to locate the nearest hospital from where I am staying in case of an emergency. If for some reason I needed to go to the hospital, the medical staff would be able to assist me.

3.) Do I need a letter of proof from my physician?

I did receive a formal letter from my endocrinologist stating that I was a type 1 diabetic and that I am allowed to travel with medication, including syringes.

4.) Do I alter my basal (background) insulin?

Since I will be extremely active while vacationing in Thailand, I will be adjusting my background insulin to prevent any low blood sugars.

 

My appointment with my P.A. was super positive! I left having no reservations or doubts about my decision to go to Thailand. Sometimes you can’t help but think of the worst possible scenarios but I am confident that I will be able to handle any obstacle that comes my way!

I hope you didn’t think that was the end of my exciting news. SPOILER ALERT for those of you that have been living under a rock but JoJo picks Jordan Rodgers! I’ll admit, I had my doubts about him at first and I didn’t particularly like how Jordan put his brother, Aaron, on blast (or how ABC twisted it) but let’s be real… I’m all for it now! I’m actually hoping that the brothers make up so that Jordan, JoJo and I can hang out together at the Green Bay Packers game at Lambeau field on Christmas Eve! Not sure if that is going to happen but I will be there regardless!

I have a busy few months ahead of me but I am all smiles! I would love to hear any advice that you might have for me in regards to traveling to Thailand whether you or a diabetic or not. Like I said, this will be my first time traveling outside the U.S. so any tips that can help me, on my plane ride especially, will be much appreciated.

 

Stay Sharp,

Alex

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