I entered the land of unfamiliar food, schedules, and exercises, and immediatley knew that managing my diabetes here would be a daunting task. Some may say I was working toward a goal that was simply unobtainable. However, I was determined that I would be able to control my type 1 diabetes while away for 4 weeks at sleep-away camp.
As I walked into the uncharted land, I knew that my mission had begun. I had to quickly scope out the kitchen, and a swift peek in the dining hall allowed me to evaluate this year's salad bar, cereal bar, and menu. French toast, pancakes, pizza, chinese food, and pasta. Are they purposely feeding us complete carbohydrates, or are they unaware that they have comprised a menu of carbohydrate loaded meals? I guess I'll be sticking to a lot of salad, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and egg salad. Canteen is a place in camp where you get 3 candies 2 times a week. For most campers, it is a dream come true, however, for those who have special interest in their health, it can have an added stress factor. When I go to canteen today, I think I'll get a water with healthy chips and maybe one small candy. Or maybe I will get one diet coke instead of regular pepsi. If I get a tiny candy today, I won't get one next time. I need to remember to check my blood sugar and deliver insulin before I eat everything. If my blood sugar is too high, I will not get anything unhealthy or anything with too many carbs. I can go to and enjoy canteen as long as I remember to stay healthy and eat everything in moderation!
Next, I should head over and spy on the list of activites. Basketball, jewelry making, canoeing, and woodshop. If I can find the right balance, I can participate in any activity I want!
Finally, I should check out this year's scheduele. Wake up time is promptly at 7:30, while bed time is at 22:30. I will have mandatory athletic training at exactly 9:00 and will swim every day at 16:00. Breakfast is 8:00, lunch is 13:00, and dinner at 18:00. Perfect! A set schedule will help me manage my insulin dosage and carbohydrate intake much better.
At camp, every day is a different challenge. With different activities every 50 minutes, various foods without nutrition labels, it was hard but possible to control my diabetes. I had to remember to adjust insulin and carbohydrate amounts based on my exercise and schedule, and I always had to keep a tight control of my diabetes and health care.
One evening activity at camp was a competition between all the bunks in my age division. We were given tomatoes, a pack of cookies, various fruits and vegetables, bread, peanut butter, jelly, mayonnaise, ketchup, salt, pepper, chocolate, and lettuce. We then had to make a 3 course meal out of these ingredients! My bunk made fruit salad in carved apples, vegetable burritos, and s'mores with cookie crumbles! Yum! However, it's not as enjoyable when you have to eat them and figure out the correct amount of carbohydrates! I had to figure out approximately how big each portion of food was. For example, I estimated I was consuming about 2 slices of bread, 1 apple, half of a banana, etc. From there, I had to figure out how many carbs I was eating, which I estimated based on how many carbs I recalled each item to be at home. Finally, I administered the correct amount of insulin based on my doctor's orders. Then, I bit in and enjoyed our delicious meal!
Another challenging activity I endured was the Camp Lip-Sync Contest. Although it was optional, and although I knew it would be difficult to control diabetes during it, I knew that it was possible to have acceptable blood sugars and participate. A Lip-Sync is when you dance to a song while mouthing the words to that song at the same time! It can be a lot of fun! My bunk and I had to make a dance to a song for two entire afternoons. Before we began dancing, I would check my blood sugar. I also checked my blood sugar half-way through and afterwards. It may not seem like it sometimes, but dancing can be very strenuous, and it can easily, quickly, and greatly affect your blood sugar if you are not careful. When we performed our lip-sync, I had to make sure that the excitement and dancing didn't lower my blood sugar too much, so I checked my blood sugar a lot before and after the performance as well! There were many circumstances such as this while I was at camp. For example playing in a volleyball tournament, playing basketball with friends, running around camp on a scavenger hunt, and many others provided obstacles, but I was able to overcome them all! I made sure that I did not let diabetes get in the way of having fun while preparing a lip-sync, or while participating in any other activity at camp!
Diabetes can be a hard disease to control, but my friends and I were able to have fun at camp, even while I had to give insulin or check my blood sugar! My bunkmates and I would try to guess my blood sugar before I tested, and whoever was the closest to the real number would win! We would all try to figure out the carbohydrates in everything together! Diabetes may be annoying sometimes, but it doesn't have to stop you from having a great summer!
Hello everyone! I'm Hannah! I'm 16 years old and have been living a normal life with type 1 diabetes for 10 years! I'm so excited to share the journey of Penpals United with you through our blog!