No Vacation from Diabetes

A year and a half ago, we booked a bucket-list trip to Alaska. Being from Florida, we hadn't traveled so far for a vacation or been somewhere quite as cold. We got lucky and were able to travel with my mother, as well as my best friend and her family. In fact, we were able to get aft balcony cabins side by side right on the back of the boat. A charmed life it seems, until you factor in the unwanted tag-along guest, diabetes. Airport security is a nightmare as I receive pat down after pat down and scolds for bringing liquids. I am within our rights to bring shelf-stable milk to get my daughter through a 6 hour flight, but apparently this is inconvenient for TSA to check and I should have brought open containers instead. (Yes, let me then have to bring ice packs, a cooler, additional bottles, etc just so you can save yourself the hassle of processing a swab sample). Thankfully the flight is fairly uneventful and we land on time. (A whole other story about the trip home with lightning delays).

Once in Seattle, we hop on the Link, go check into our hotel, and head out to explore. We end up in the Pike Place market, and sit down to eat. I see M acting tired and decide to refrain from pre-bolusing her meal. Score 1 for mom intuition! She crashes while we are waiting for our food. As in, could pick her head up off the table and it would fall down kind-of crash. She ends up having to be carried throughout the marketplace and sleeps for over an hour. All I could think about was thank goodness we didn't bolus her for all those carbs, because she was out-out.

Our first port stop is in Juneau, AK, where I've booked a canoe trip on Lake Medenhall, where we will paddle up to Medenhall Glacier and get an up-close view, as well as Nugget Falls. Of course being a 5 year old diabetic, M ends up having to go to the bathroom at our Nugget Falls pit stop, so we teach her the intricacies of pottying over the side of a rock.

Nugget Falls

During our paddling session, my husband realizes that her Contigo water bottle has worked its way out of his pocket and dropped off the side of the canoe....somewhere.in.the.lake. M starts to freak out about how she won't have her water bottle to lower her blood sugars. I mean, why is this fair in life that those are the worries for my 5 year old? Even after assuring her that we will get a new one ASAP, she continues to scold her father about losing it. I let the guide know to keep an eye out for it on the off-chance we come across it somehow on our way back, but considering the size of the lake, know it's a lost cause. Close to shore, we see an otter, which is extremely rare because the silt from the glacier makes this an inhospitable environment for life, so nothing grows. If nothing grows, there is no food, and no food chain. But once in awhile a salmon makes it from an adjoining river, and the otter follows, and we get a sighting like we did. We land on shore, take off our gear, and start to walk back to the bus when the guide runs up to us to let us know that our water bottle has magically appeared on the shoreline. My 5 year old is now convinced that the otter brought it back to her. (More likely a kayaker, but whatever).

Lake Medenhall

While on the cruise, we decide to take M to the kid's club. They give phones to parents of D kids, so that they can tell us to come back if needed. So of course, this happens nearly every time we drop her off. We have to pull her out, give her a snack, let her go back in.

Staving off a possible low

On our trip into Ketchikan to ship home some fish, we have a low.

On our car trip into the Yukon, we have a million potty breaks, some of which are without real bathrooms again. My mom gets to introduce her to camping mode.

British Columbia/Yukon Territory

This was our first real vacation with M since her diagnosis almost 4 years ago. I felt so intimidated by traveling with D on board, and couldn't justify the cost of a trip when I wasn't sure if we would be able to enjoy ourselves. But this trip changed our minds. Although we didn't get a vacation from diabetes, we got away from the day to day stressors of every other part of life, to make this the trip of a lifetime. It was cold, but we didn't have any insulin issues. TSA stinks, but we made our flights. We needed lots of insulin, but my daughter ate everything she wanted on the ship, and ran those servers with her demands of yogurt and ice cream. She loved the kids club, and I was even able to sneak away for a few hours to go read in the library. Sure, we had an entire bag just dedicated to our D supplies, but what's an extra bag when you can have a view like this?

Johns Hopkins Glacier, Glacier Bay