Last week my wife and I embarked on an adventure to Mackinaw City, Michigan and Mackinac Island. Why they are spelled differently is a mystery to me. It was a great week and a wonderful time to connect as a couple with lots of walks and lots of food….two of my very favorite things. Just an FYI, evidently fudge is THE food of choice up there, every third or fourth store was a fudge shop….did not get a clear answer why fudge was so prolific there.
However, as a type 1 diabetic, it requires a lot of planned spontaneity. My wife is excellent in planning for our trips, not only in how well she packs bags, but how she plans food for me. During the course of the week we walked more than 106,000 steps or approximately 42.4 miles. Since we decided to walk everywhere we went we had to plan how to compensate for the caloric deficit that would occur and the inevitable blood sugar drops that would occur at the most inopportune times. Most of what I have learned has been through making some dumb mistakes about not taking food or glucose tabs with me EVERY where I go. You would think one having this disease would always be cognizant of these simple things…but sadly no.
As we thought about the week in the UP of Michigan area, we decided we would carry one of two backpacks with us everywhere we went. In these backpacks my wife and I would pack snacks for me including protein bars, cashews and dried fruit, lots of water, and if we were on an extended walk would pack a lunch with cold packs to keep everything cool, including my test strips and meter. All of this fit nicely in a school back pack and we carried it on the Island and around the city at all times. On the Island there is a walking and bike path that circles the entire Island, a total of 8.5 miles. We decided we would walk this path and I am so glad we brought food and water with us. I began to drop about 3 miles into the walk and there was nothing around that would have saved me, but all I had to do was take out a baggie of ‘trail’ mix and I was good to go. I have learned, from many mistakes, what I need to do to be able to enjoy a long walk or sustained activities. There is nothing I do in which there is not some thought about what food I need to take to sustain my disease. Another fun side effect of Diabetes.
The struggle, for me, is to keep my sugars in balance, if they get too low, the liver dumps sugar into my blood stream and my blood sugars spike really high…then the yo-yo effect kicks in with highs and lows because the liver does not know how to regulate the sugar it dumps into the system, it just dumps a load of sugar and I am left trying to manage the teeter totter. I can be as low as 30 and thirty minutes later be as high as 300. It takes a huge toll on my body and is hard to recover. By preplanning meals and snacks, it reduces the highs and lows and I am able to plan my ‘spontaneous’ activities with enjoyment and no stress! I have included some pictures of the area…simply beautiful. The island does not allow motorized vehicles on it, so with the horse and carts, it felt like we were in a different era.