While we were waiting for the camp buses to arrive, V was eating her lunch. “Mom, can I have just two more fries?” I giggled: “Sure, your high is not going to be MY problem today.”
Because diabetes camp. It finally happened. V went to a sleep-away diabetes camp for 5 days and it was grand.
Things got tense a few weeks before camp. A big wildfire happened very close to the camp grounds. Fortunately it did not damage the camp, but the roads were closed for a while and there was a lot of uncertainty. Then the area in and around camp had to be evaluated for stability and risk of landslides. At the beginning of this ordeal, one session was moved to an alternate location, but session right before ours had to be cancelled completely. We did not get an official word until 4 days before our start date and I was practically on pins and needles. I refused to look at the packing list and any other last-minute paperwork, due to the fear of jinxing it, until we knew for sure V would be able to go.
This camp is a big deal, really big deal. It’s one place where kids with diabetes can be among their peers, where they can feel normal. It’s also one camp that we felt completely safe sending V to, especially considering that they were also able to accommodate her gluten-free diet. This place is truly a safe haven for both kids and their parents. We were sure that V would be well and thriving and we could safely get off the on-call duty. V was really looking forward to it too. She was a little nervous, as it would be her first time at a sleep-away camp, but mostly excited.
In the few days leading up to camp, my excitement reached a ridiculous level, borderlining on annoying. I was practically bursting from happiness and anticipation. Once we had the official word that camp would be open, we began frantic last-minute preparations. It did not help that practically overnight V decided to go through a major growth spurt and outgrew all her shoes, save for flip-flops, and all of her jeans. She needed some other items, so day before camp we hit Target and came out victorious $200 later.
Then there was a tedious process of labeling all the things and packing. There was not, however, the agony of assembling all the diabetes supplies. All we needed to provide was spare pump pods and batteries. Rest of supplies was provided by camp. That alone – not having to pack all the diabetes paraphernalia before a trip – was worth it.
At the drop-off, there was no worry or hesitation of letting go. There was only excitement, happiness and gratitude that V was going to have this wonderful freedom and adventure away from home, in a safe and caring environment. And there was also a celebration of our freedom. We were going go take a break from diabetes management for the first time in over two years!
Let me tell you, it was glorious. We slept through the night, every night. I did not bring the phone to my bedside because I had nothing to monitor. We heard not a single pump or CGM alarm. We did not have to lug diabetes supplies around. We had not a care in the world. We even escaped for a quick romantic getaway to celebrate our anniversary, all by ourselves.
At the pick-up, we were greeted by a tired and excited camper. She had a blast. Her numbers were not stellar, but that was not the point. In fact, the paperwork from camp reminded us about it:
On the drive back we had a million questions about V’s camp experience. Only two of them had to do with diabetes management. We wanted to know if someone tested them in the middle of the night (affirmative). The other question was about… wait… I can’t remember. Maybe there was not another question about diabetes? The rest was all about the friends she made and the fun she had. When asked about what it was like to be among other kids with diabetes, without skipping a beat she answered “It was great, I didn’t get asked any stupid questions, like if I got diabetes because I ate too much sugar.” And, speaking from the mouth of the babes, this brief letter from camp says it all: