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Adventure & Travel with T1D

A young diagnosis.

I was eleven and living in Singapore when I was diagnosed with T1D. It was July and we were in the states for summer vacation. We were on our way to visit my grandparents when I threw up and ended in the hospital. My life changed that day! Like most newly diagnosed T1D’s I was in denial and mad at the world.

The trip back home to Singapore was a learning experience in what to do and what not to do when traveling especially through different time zones. One of the main things we learned, and I say we because my mom was making the best decision’s she could with something so new and foreign, was when and how much insulin to inject. Mind you, I’m from the era where we used to pee on sticks, prick your finger and draw insulin out of a vial. There were no pumps or CGM’s back then. Hard to comprehend, I know. I have had T1D for 49 years now and have traveled without incident to 39 different countries.

Like most newly diagnosed T1D’s I was in denial and mad at the world."

Throughout my years, I have become extremely comfortable traveling with T1D. Obviously, I carry all medications in my carry-on including emergency sugar. I like life-savers. I have learned the hard way to bring extras of everything. For example, if my CGM is set to expire in 7 days and I’m traveling for 14 then I bring 2 extra CGM’s. I also bring a doctor’s note along with prescription refill information. TSA no longer requires a note from your doctor but it doesn’t hurt to have one. I also bring along my Baqsimi. One thing I do upon arrival to my destination city is to locate the nearest emergency facility and local numbers for emergency responders.

Over the years, I have found that T1D doesn’t limit what I can and want to do. I got my scuba certification when I was 27 and continue to jump out of a perfectly good plane every year. I used to water ski and have snow skied numerous times. The only drawback when snow skiing is getting under all those warm clothes to shoot up (no, I don’t wear a pump). A minor inconvenience in the big scheme of things.

In a weird sort of twisted way, T1D has taught me to be more flexible, adaptable and
determined. It has also taught me to be grateful for each day. I often wonder if I would be taking such good care of myself and having all the wonderful adventures if I didn’t have T1D.