This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending something pretty epic. I don't throw that word "epic" around lightly because I think it is over-used. But this canoe trip really was epic for me in SO many ways. I almost don't know how I could possibly summarize such an overwhelming trip into one post.
Let's begin with CIM. Connected In Motion is the brainchild of one Chloe Steepe of Toronto, Ontario. The slogan for this organization is "Breathing fresh air into diabetes education." Go to the link to read more, learn more and support more because I'll probably bastardize it if I try and re-iterate it on here. I've wanted to join a CIM event for a long time now but haven't been able to because of either time or money reasons. This was the first of many for me I hope.
We spent the night at the Holiday Inn in downtown Toronto whilst attending a little meeting and pre-trip get together. I must say, walking into a group of people that I've NEVER met was a wee bit intimidating. Moreover my state of mind was in a most terrible and anxiety ridden place. I hesitated about going on the trip a couple days prior and was close to backing out due to my emotional state and fear. The moment I walked into that room I was greeted by Chloe herself and I nearly fell to my knees and worshipped the ground she walked on, I mean this chick is FAMOUS in my diabetes world. Okay okay, so I wasn't REALLY going to fall to my knees, I was more just totally excited to finally meet this person. I began to feel at ease. Everything was going to be okay. Aside from a low blood sugar episode in the middle of a speech (that I contained very well until the end I might add while not disrupting the group) everything was really fucking sweet.
Then I met my roomie for the night and what would then become my tent mate for the rest of the trip. My new friend Mandy immediately made me feel at ease as I tried to explain a few of my fears and anxieties about going on this trip at this point in time.
20 type 1 diabetics. 18 insulin pumpers and 2 pen shooters. 10 canoes, a big ass mini-bus and we were off to the French River near Georgian Bay. It took me a little while to feel at ease and relax during this trip. It's difficult around 19 people you've never met before. I think I was just so elated at the connection we all instantly shared whether some of us knew each other or not.
Chloe mentioned something at the beginning of the trip about conquering our "mountain" whatever that may mean to each one of us. Be it a physical task of jumping off a cliff, a mental task of learning a new thing about diabetes or anything else. At first I thought, "meh, I've got no mountains to climb, I'm just trying to get through this weekend." But as the day progressed it became more and more apparent to me just what my "mountain" was. I had a two mountains and I think I can actually share them.
Mountain #1, going into the back country to spend 3 days 24/7 with 19 people I've never met. It seemed to me that they all knew each other through some connection or another. I felt extremely out of place being the only one there that had no prior connection. Sometimes I'm not the most social butterfly (especially as of late). So going out and putting myself out there was a mountain. I climbed that mountain, I let some new folks into my life and I made some amazing new friends.
Mountain #2, I went camping.
Simply put. Back country camping is part of the glue that holds me together as a human being. It is such a gigantic piece of who I am at the core. I haven't been camping in a year for some personal and highly traumatic emotional reasons. I haven't been able to bring myself to even LOOK at my camping gear. I was ready to put that side of my life away for good possibly. When I signed up for this trip a few months ago I felt like I was maybe being a bit ambitious but at the same time I thought it would give me a reason to pass a glance at my gear. 2 nights before the trip I had a pretty major breakdown as I dragged all the items upstairs and started organizing it all. The idea of camping tugged at a very private and broken place deep within my heart. I didn't want to go. I didn't think I could do it safely without great distress. Luckily for me and thanks to a very insightful and caring mother who drove all the way out to my house and talked me off a ledge, I went.
The trip WAS very stressful on that piece of me. There is no doubt about that. But with the support of these new friends and a couple very understanding ones who knew my struggles, I actually felt a bit safe. I know it doesn't sound like much, but the simple act of GOING on this trip was not just a mountain to me, it was an "Everest". And it's just as cheesy as it sounds!
Enough with the emotional crap though. This trip was pretty amazing. I found so much of it absolutely hilarious. I learned a few new things about both diabetes and camping. I made a bunch of new friends that I didn't think I was capable of. There was lots of SWAG'ing, swimming and general shenanigans.
A few thoughts that still make me laugh,
- the empty diet Coke bottle that became the Sharps container
- the impact of the "double down"
- learning that diabetics should drink the juice of a lemon
- apparently coffee enemas are good for us
- "reclining" is the activity of choice
- the amount of CGM alarms going off and the subsequent "wasn't me" that would follow
- the insane consumption of "Dex" (Dex 5 glucose tablets)
- the different kinds of "lows" like Katie's "angry low"
- and my favourite, the "Low Bag" which was always accessible and always full of dex and fruit source bars.
The list is actually much much longer but I'm about ready to post a few pictures here. To see the rest of my pictures, visit my facebook page.
More checkin' pumps
We can do ANYTHING!
One of my favourite pictures from the weekend
We spent so much time disconnected from our pumps and "connected in motion"
I'm pretty sure that's Mandy
We certainly know how to have a good time
Failed attempt to sail back to camp. Lazy diabetics! The tarp tried to eat Virtue.
The night of the big feast. The best (worst?) part of this night was the fact that we all ate SO much that I think there was a lot of concerned over-bolusing going on. Later in the evening almost on cue half the group had a low.
Mandy scooping brownie mix out of a Nalgene and Virtue's marshmallow making her day. Can it get any cuter?
We all learned a good lesson this day: don't put boiling water in a fake Nalgene bottle
Tailgate "lunch" party at the end!
I had to save the best picture for last:
Cinnamon buns, chocolate brownies and roasting marshmallows all at the same time!
"This is what happens when 20 unsupervised diabetics head into the bush together, absolute sugar MAYHEM!" Do you want to know why? Because YES, WE CAN EAT THAT!
A major shout-out goes out to Chloe and Jen for organizing a problem-free amazing canoe trip! You guys seriously rock my world and helped me to smile again.