Learning ExperienceDriving to camp was somewhat unnerving. I had no idea what to expect, or even if I was going the right way. I get to Tall Oaks and I walk into a room full of younger adults who all seemed to know each other. I looked around and I saw medical supplies galore! What a perk! I was with my people!!! And my nerves started to settle. For the first time, I just felt like people understood. The kids wouldn't arrive until the next day, so it gave us some time to get acquainted.
After a long day of training and learning, we escaped!!!! We ended up in Lawrence at Silas & Maddy's- a homemade ice cream shop. Yep, that's right. The diabetics escaped for Ice Cream.
What was interesting about talking to all of the counselors: No one knew what I knew. Not that I am a genius, but these people wait ALL YEAR LONG to be with other diabetics. They hadn't heard of the You Can Do This Project, The Diabetic Online Community, DSMA, goMeals. I felt like I can make a difference here!!!! I told anyone who would listen about this important things that change my everyday life.
I know I'm in stage one of diabetes. And I have hope where some people do not. But Here are a few things I heard on that first day:
Morgan: No one is a good diabetic. I haven't met one that has it under control.
My response: A loose interpretation of something I heard from Ginger Veira goes a little like this: We all do the best we can every day. Our best today may be different than our best yesterday. But that's okay. It's going to be different every day.
MEALSIt all starts 20 minutes before actual meal time. We do blood sugar checks. Record them. Go to the dining hall and read a white board. The white board has on it the entire carb count for individual options at meal time! It was amazing. Took all the guess work out. Although I know some of it was incredibly off, it was nice to have a base of what we were looking at.
CARNIVALLegit rides. Snow Cones. Popcorn. And lots of laughing. It was amazing that this was done for the kids. So impressive.
ACTIVITIESIt was just like your summer camp. We had swimming. Horseback riding. Challenge Courses. Sing-a-longs. Down Time. Movie time. Nothing was different with exception of our pancreas' were worn on the outside. We all had a common bond of this challenging disease that affects us all differently.
TALENT SHOW!How cool was this. We had skits. Songs. Break Dancing. All Kinds of Talents these kids showed. And they were all so proud. And for that, I'm proud.
People were using their pumps like lighters at a rock show. It. Was. Awesome.
Here's a special shout out to Jacob: He is Seven years old. Diabetic since he was 3. Pumping for two years. He wrote a rap and performed it! He was soooo cool. I wanted to take him home!
Do not wake me up with a prick
To the Finger
No I'm not high or really low either.
I have to count carbs when I check my meter
My pumps going off I wonder whats the matter
Uh Oh better get better
Insulin shots are never much fun
But it's better than the glucagon gun
Oh no i have to get my site changed
That always causes me a lot of pain
Looks like I'm really high
Better check my ketones so I don't die.
This is the diabetes rap and it's time to say good-bye.
Most-Likely:I got voted most likely to run over the staff, hit them with a car, or try and take the camp director's job. Sounds like me.
My GirlsMy co-counselor rocked! Jana is a type 1 diabetic. At the age of 20, she has more heart, confidence, and perspective than most people I have ever met. We were put in charge of girls 13-15, which is not for the weak of heart.
The campers started arriving my firstt thought: "I'm in Middle School Hell." But it got better very quickly. they were all so sweet and friendly! Some of them were incredibly sassy. But, those were my favorite ones. (Ashley and Emily B come to mind ;))
Right away-it was all about the boys. So funny. I thought it was going to be about Diabetes! These weren't diabetic kids. These were normal, run-of-the-mill teenagers with insulin pumps.
They all were crazy. And wonderful. And my teachers. They are all so brave and so marvelous for what they go through every day. They continued to teach me throughout the week. And for that, I will keep going back every year. Some, I have even friended on Social Media to stay in contact with.
Bed time was HORRIBLE. Imagine a sleepover of Sixteen 13-15 year old girls. Yea. I couldn't wait for 2 am blood sugar checks so I could stab them all. OK, so it wasn't a stab so much as a poke. But it was totally worth it.
Bad stuff for these girls was more than just Diabetes. Some of these girls had great lives with a lot of loving and supportive people. Some did not. Some girls shared stories privately with me that will rattle my bones forever. I had to make calls to authorities on some of these things. It just broke my heart. I'm so glad I came equipped with stuffed animals and kleenex because they (and myself at times) needed them. They are all the most brave people I have ever met.
Good-ByeIt was soooo difficult to say good-bye to these kids. They all changed my life. And hopefully, I helped change theirs.
*Pictures to come this weekend.
Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this. Nor did Kim Vlasnik hold me at knife point to tell all the campers and the people who read my blog about You Can Do This. The ADA paid me for my time at camp. But next year, I won't let them.