Traveling with Type One

Very shortly I will be going on a 3 week trip through Europe… which I am very excited about! But at the same time, it’s going to be very scary. Luckily I’ll be traveling with family who all know about my diabetes and how to treat it in case something is a tad bit off. Traveling as a person with diabetes can be intimidating, but it can be done with a little extra planning.

The biggest concern I am facing right now is my Omnipod insulin pump. I change it quite a bit, every three days, and the whole thing is connected together to my body (no tubes or insertion points!) There is one main issue with that… if I accidentally rip it off or if the insertion begins to hurt, I have to change it and the site itself and I’m down a pod! Being away for so long, I will need to calculate exactly how many pods I will need to bring with me, and hopefully I have enough in this month’s supply to last me until the middle of July! Many other bloggers suggest removing an insulin pump when going through the scanners at the airport. In my case that is impossible, but luckily my insulin pump does not cause the airport scanner to go off.

Omnipod is very good about sending supplies to a different address or location within the United States, but I don’t know how it would work overseas. On top of that, I will be on a cruise ship boat going around Italy for a week, so they obviously couldn’t send it to me there. I wont be staying in one location for a long period of time either, so extra supplies is the plan!! I am going to pack an entire month’s supply of medications just in case I get stuck in Europe an extra week or so. Lucky if I get thrown into a pool, or slip and fall, I wont have to worry about my machine becoming broken. The Omnipod is completely waterproof!

That also leads me to another thought… my suntan lines! The Omnipod is quite large and cannot just be taken off at any point in time (like I already said, 3 days). If its nice, and I’m walking around in my bathing suite, I am going to get a “POD TAN LINE”!! It’s also very annoying to have people stare at it, as if I have a tracking device attached to me or something. No, its my insulin pump and medicine. I can’t take it off or hide it, so get over it! Some try to hide it under their bathing suite bottoms, but I don’t feel like that would be comfortable when I’m not just wearing a suite. I’ll just let it be seen.

I’m not one of those people who are scared to show others my insulin pump. But, that is also usually shortly after they discover I am a diabetic, or if they were asking about my insulin pump, that I show them. I’m proud to be a diabetic, even though some may think that’s a very weird thing to say. Maybe its just my personality in general, but I am glad I can express myself, and show off medical advancements made for people like me.

There is a lot of things I need to think about before planning on leaving for my trip. The day before I leave, I have to make sure there isn’t access of air in my insulin bottles, because the air on the airplane is different then on the ground. It could crack or ruin my entire bottle of insulin. Extra supplies are a must! That includes but is not limited to my insulin pump pods, my test strips, insulin, lancets, syringes, alcohol swabs, and of course lots of extra glucose tablets.

Meeting Other With Type 1 Diabetes Too!

So up until recently, I never thought blogging mattered that much. I didn’t think people actually read what I wrote, or thought about. Last night I went to a meeting with a bunch of diabetics, and it hit me! People actually do read quite a bit of articles online, do their research about others with diabetes and are interested to hear what I think about my life with diabetes. So my next thought… what do I need to do to get people involved? Continue to blog. So here I am. Blogging.

I met a girl in this diabetes group last night who said she was excited to see that I had signed up for her meet-up group. She said she had seen my name “Calla Rusch” before and thought it was very pretty and unique, but couldn’t remember where she had found me online. I do have a facebook, twitter, a blog, and my own website, but how did she know me? I never recall seeing her name before (even though I am really bad at it), I never remember reading her articles or seeing her photos. Ultimately, she claimed that she has seen my website a long time. At the moment, not much has been going on with my site. She had hit a dead end, and I disappeared out of her little online universe. But in” real life,” I reappeared and she finally got to meet the real person, me.

So at this meeting, I was able to meet and converse with many girls my own age, with similar interests and all of us sharing the life of a diabetic. We were all able to talk about how old we were when being diagnosed (I was 9) and how many years we’ve been dealing with it (it currently been 14 years). I was chatting with one of the ladies who is also currently on the OmniPod pump, like myself. She was complaining about the spots where she puts her pods, and being worried about other people seeing it. I told her how I have become accustomed to it, and how I really don’t care if people see it anymore! I’ve learned how to plan ahead, and put it in my bra, if need be. She told me she places it on her leg if she’s wearing a form fitting dress, which I’ve never done. I feel like we both learned a little bit from each other about how we both live differently, yet very similar with our OmniPod insulin pumps.

Altogether as a group we spoke about how little JDRF does to keep us young ladies (aged 24-32) interested in them as an organization. Obviously all of us are type 1 diabetics, and at one point in time, we were all diagnosed as Juvenile diabetics. JDRF, which stands for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, has recently decided to change their name. The numbers of diabetics, like me and the others in our group, have gotten older and their entire lives have changed. Yes I am a juvenile diabetic, but that’s just a part of my life and they way in which they label it, makes me feel as though I am a child. JDRF as a national organization needs to become more aware that children do grow up, do become adults and move on with their lives. It is unfair to label us “juvenile” for the rest of our lives. Everyone in the group agreed.  JDRF is now re-branding itself to support those with Type 1 Diabetes, rather than just Juvenile Diabetes.

The support group helped all of us vent about the problems we individually face with diabetes, and helped us to come to an understanding that we are not in it alone. I too came to that understanding, and now will continue to pass my thoughts and feelings along to all the blog readers out there!