New experiences can be overwhelming.
Learning new things can take time to settle in…
Breakfast was fabulous. Hilarious. Full of laughs and stories. Lots and lots of sharing. I even manage to make a few inquiries. Why not? Everyone makes it so easy to ask questions. Everyone is so open.
And it leads me to wonder, have I encountered a new breed of human being?
Then it hits me. I sort of have. I realize, by having what we do in common, we all share certain exclusive experiences. That unless you are with someone who can truly empathize with an experience, it really is an utterly independent and unique thing.
Away from the table, alone, I scan the room. I look at all of those wonderful people and suddenly feel less alone. Each and every single one of them can relate to me.
And that is so overwhelming.
So much so, I break away. I need air. I go outside and walk back to my cabin. Because even sitting, surrounded by over one hundred other Type 1s the experience, my experience, is still completely unique. My Type 1 Diabetes is not yours…or yours…and yet we are all able to appreciate each other’s experiences on a level non-Type 1s cannot. And THAT is so foreign to me.
I quickly change, pack my gear up and head back to the Main Lodge. There I realize everyone has dispersed. Gone to their respective first sessions. I find out the location of mine and hustle. HUSTLE to it.
Oh fuck. OH fuck. OH FUCK.
I’m hurrying because I’m late. The walk from my cabin to the Main Lodge and now to this place has cost me time.
Seriously!?!? It’s right BESIDE my cabin. What the actual FUCK!?!?!
I enter the room, session in progress. And my anxiety is through the roof. I am NEVER late. In fact, I’m chronically early. Probably annoyingly so. NEVER LATE. And here I am, late to “class” – they all turn and look at me walking through the door. It takes everything in me to not turn around and run out…like out. All the way back to my car!
Thank goodness I stayed. It was a wonderful session. And it hit home HARD. The session is about dealing with hypos. Extreme hypos. And given what happened to me in the spring (when my glucose dropped dramatically, and I didn’t catch it, and I had a seizure at work) it was highly relevant. Plus, it allowed me to further bond with a group of my fellow campers.
Next up, a session about technology. This is something I was really looking forward to because I am hoping to make a decision about what kind of insulin pump I want to try when my funding gets approved. The session is eye-opening in so many ways. SO. MANY. WAYS.
And it was a great segway to lunch. It pushed me to ask more questions. To utilize the experience of others and make an informed decision. During the session I met a pump rep. She was fantastic. So helpful. And one of the two people attending camp without Type 1 (though she had a long history of working with and being surrounding by Type 1s). We chat extensively.
Lunch is a nice check in point. We all section off to our tables and the Main Lodge is once again alive with laughter and chatter. Then we all scurry off to start our afternoon sessions. I follow lunch with a lovely session about gratitude and creating an empowered mindset.
I carry with me a renewed sense of self-empowerment and am eager to get creative. With lakeside painting. Landscape isn’t what I typically paint, but how can you not be inspired these surroundings? So I commit myself to painting the view across the lake…
And that’s when I see the first rainbow. I stand up and tell those around me. We all “oooh and ahhh” before it quickly vanishes. And then another appears…and the metaphor of resilience is not lost on me.
I really enjoyed the opportunity to pause and capture my surroundings. Though I’m apprehensive of using watercolours as I’m more of an acrylic, mixed media kind of gal, I manage a quick landscape inspired by the changing colours. Everyone tells me how gorgeous it is but in my heart I feel it is subpar, not my best work. I thank them all as we tidy up, and giggle to myself because I know exactly where it will end up…even though it is unfinished…my son’s room.
That kid will assume it is for him and take it. Regardless of what I want to do with it. Bless his little heart. Gosh, I miss him so much. I wonder what he’s up to…there’s been little to no reception so it’s not been easy to be in touch with the people at home. I’ve been away from my little guy before. He’s done countless sleepovers with Grandma and Grandpa. But I’ve always been away from him with my husband. We were all a little nervous for my adventure away…on my own…but I think I’ve been doing a pretty good job of it. Hell, it’s Day 2 and I’m still here…kudos to me.
Archery is next on my agenda. My brother and kiddo were the driving force behind this registration. Both demanding pictures. I’m grateful for the opportunity to try something new and venture off with a collection of fellow soon-to-be archers. And a lovely instructor.
No more rainbows. It’s cold, damp and starting to rain. But our spirits are high and the woods are alive with the sounds of our laughter as we commence our lesson. One of my meal-time diabuddies is at this session too. He makes me laugh and reminds me so much of my brother (the one that demanded photographic proof of me with bow in hands), so it is only fitting that he be the one to capture my first-ever archery moment.
I am no Legolas but I did have a lot of fun. I catch enough reception to send the picture home that night, and when I call my little boy is so proud of me – I can actually hear it in his voice. When I get home, I shoot my brother the picture after he texts to find out how I did. He is proud of me for going to camp and quick to criticize my stance, asking if I managed to pull back further.
Free time preceeds dinner. I freshen up in the cabin then head down to the lake. I really enjoy the outdoors and am sure to saturate in the beauty that surrounds me. I find the fresh air a great aid when digesting new experiences and emotions. AND there is a crap ton of stuff for me to digest.
I’m still digesting and it’s been two weeks! Not of me standing outside, but since I was at camp.
I pop in to the Lodge before dinner and socialize. The group is big enough that I haven’t (and never did get) the chance to properly meet everyone. I make the rounds as best as I can, but also gravitate to a small collection of people I met the night before at dinner.
One of the campers I met at the table the night before offered to show me how he does a site change. He uses the pump I am interested in, and I am so tremendous indebted to him for his candor and willingness to share. We huddle together in a small group as there are others with questions just like me. It’s a moment that could have come across as very clinical but instead is filled with levity.
We are all grown ups here, but the light in our hearts makes it feel like we are kids again.
One more dinner. One last night. Time to make some more memories.