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A quicky post from 6000 feet

July 4, 2011

If I’ve been a little quiet on this blog lately, it’s because I’ve been working for the past month at 6000 feet in the Sequoia National Forest for a diabetes camp. Internet is a rare phenomenon at 6000 feet.

I’m in the most magical, inspiring, beautiful place imaginable. I am working at a diabetes camp, in a supervisory position, which means that I get to work closely with counselors helping support them in their work, while also bonding with some amazing kids and fellow diabetic staff. I get to perform tons of glucose checks on campers, draw up shots, and help kids write songs on the piano during their downtime. I’ve been swimming laps in the pool, going on some extraordinary hikes, and getting in some awesome mountain runs at altitude. Everyone – campers and staff – sleeps under the stunning Sequoia stars.

Everywhere I look there are low blood sugar supplies. Everywhere I reach there are glucose meters and insulin viles. For the first time in my life as a diabetic, I don’t need to explain why I need to suddenly eat something sweet. On the third day I was here, a nurse took me aside and literally put an insulin pump on me. I’m still wearing it. This 8-thousand dollar artificial pancreas is mine for the summer.

I’ve got about 5 minutes to write this whole post, so please forgive any hasty prose.

Every night at camp, we check the campers’ blood sugars at midnight, just to stave off any highs or lows. Last night I helped out one group of counselors with their midnight check. Going from bed to bed in the open air, in the warm July mountain air, shooting stars overhead, I thought about how beautiful of a place I am in right now. What a privilege to go from one sleeping teenage girl to the next, testing their blood sugars, treating their lows, feeding them carbs, and chuckling at their funny, sweet sleepy faces. The whole group of girls I checked last night was running low, and when I checked myself I found I was running low too. How magical to treat a bunch of blood sugar lows – treating these girls with whom I share an identity so powerful and permeating – in this beautiful mountain forest. How wonderful to be in a place where everything about our diabetes is understood, supported, and cared about.

There are just a few more days left to donate to my diabetes marathon fundraiser. I feel stronger than ever that the cause I am running for in Iceland this summer has the power to change lives. I don’t think it will sink in how powerful it has been for me to find a community of diabetics until I leave it in another month. I am prouder than ever to be a diabetic, and for the first time in a year, don’t feel so lonely about it.

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