Since I am just starting this blog, I have a little catching up to do with a few experiences I had shortly after my diagnosis as a Type 1. My condition arrived at the same time as I was paying off my first ever girls’ holiday abroad. Inevitably, this meant I was worried. Worried on top of the worry that already comes as a package deal with being informed of some life changing news.
I was due to go to Magaluf in the Summer of the following year… I should have been super excited. Instead, I had anxieties about everything: carrying my medication on the plane, getting a doctor’s note, keeping insulin cold… not to mention worrying about how my blood sugar levels would react to 7 nights out in a row! These are all things that I was thinking about when my girlfriends were discussing what swimsuits they were packing and which cocktails they would order as soon as the plane touched the ground.
This was not only my first holiday away from my parents, but I now had to experience my first holiday as a Type 1 whilst also being away from my parents! I was nervous. I remember as the wheels of the plane touched the ground in Magaluf, sunlight streaming in the windows, I was thinking to myself “it’s just one week… I just have to get through this one week.”
It seemed so daunting and terrifying to be away from home with my condition. My friends didn’t exactly all understand what it meant to be a Type 1 Diabetic, but it’s hard to expect them to when I hadn’t known a thing about it before I found out I was one.
The first day was the worst day, rushing around finding the hotel, sorting rooms and experiencing that the heat actually pushes my blood sugars up (mix that with the sugary cocktail that I drank and we had a problem!) I found it difficult to cope with the lack of good food and the little amount that my friends would eat due to hangovers, where as I had to keep a loaf of bread in a cupboard in the room – the concept sounds so funny when I read it back – and attend the (unappetising) buffet breakfast alone after returning from a night out on the strip in order to get those carbs in after my whole night of “unlimited free drinks!” (We all know this is a lie, I mean we spent a fortune just to enter the club.)
The most terrifying memory of the holiday was finding myself on a pedalo boat, a big yellow thing with a slide, with three of my friends, floating on the sea. The terror hit as I realised I had ditched my handbag on the sand under the protection of my friend’s new boyfriend, which included my insulin and my dextrose tablets. And now here I was, milleeees away, floating… in the middle of the sea. (I call this a mild exaggeration but I swear this is how I felt.) I panicked immediately. What if I have a hypo? What if I faint? Etc. Etc. However I kept these worries to myself and tried to enjoy the moment anyway. Because, of course, I was fine! But paranoia and worry were inevitable hand luggage accompanying my first experience of being abroad with Diabetes.
For me, Magaluf was an experiment, and probably one of the worst places to be when figuring out just how your blood sugars react to being away from home in a hot country. However, I did have a good time with my girlfriends. This holiday proved to me how supportive friends can be, as they carried my extra medication in their bags on nights out in case I lost mine, and were constantly checking that I was feeling alright.
Overall, I am glad I experienced Magaluf and that I didn’t allow my worries to push me out of going. Since then, I have been on so many amazing holidays and I know how to cope with travelling and the heat. I don’t let my condition get in the way of allowing me to do the things that I want to do. If I surround myself with loving and caring people and make sure I am prepared medically and mentally in advance, then, ultimately, Diabetes is not an obstruction standing in the way of travelling and exploring the world!