Traveling with Diabetes
On February 14, 2014, I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Cassie and I had been trekking and volunteering in Nepal for 5 weeks, teaching English to Buddhist monks, when I began to feel much weaker. A visit to the doctor revealed my diabetes, probably triggered by a virus somewhere during our travels. My blood sugar was well above 300 – normal blood sugar is 80-120 – and I was in diabetic ketoacidosis, a condition where the body poisons itself by creating acetone.
NOT THE VALENTINE’S DAY WE HOPED FOR
Cassie and I spent Valentine’s Day – and the next 6 nights – in 2 different hospitals in Nepal before I was cleared to fly home for further medical treatment and education. After 35 hours of travel, we landed in New York City, and the recovery process began.
One of my first smiles in the hospital, complete with an IV.
We will absolutely get back to our trip when the time is right, hopefully within 4-6 weeks. Diabetes is now a part of our trip, and I will have to manage my blood sugar on the road while carrying all of my insulin and supplies I need to be healthy and safe.
TRAVELING WITH DIABETES
Normally I would keep something like my medical condition private, but I wanted to show others that traveling with diabetes is safe. It’s a learning process for me, and maybe if I go through this so openly, I can learn from those with more experience than me and inspire others with medical conditions to travel as well. With proper planning and the necessary precautions, our trip – and my life – shouldn’t change at all.
The doctors in Nepal who got me home safely.
In the week after I was diagnosed with diabetes, I was thoroughly terrified of what lay ahead. Now I am absolutely confident we will keep living our dreams. Traveling with diabetes is a matter of education, discipline, and awareness. I wasn’t quite known for any of those things in my school days, but now that I’m older (31 isn’t OLD, it’s older), it all seems a bit more manageable.
BACK ON THE ROAD AGAIN!
We were home for 31 days before getting back on the road, heading straight for Thailand and SE Asia. Here is what we’ve lerned so far while traveling with diabetes (TWD):