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White-Water Rafting.

I was completely terrified of getting on the raft.  Jenn (Chris's sister), Steve (her husband), Chris and I fastened on our life jackets.  Armed with a yellow helmet, a paddle, and a life vest, I looked like a Nintendo character and I felt like I was going off to war.  We carried the raft down to the edge of the Kennebec River and got ready to climb on.

"I don't know about this.  I am scared, dude."  I grabbed Chris by the arm and shot him a panicked look.  (I also briefly wondered why I called him "dude," but that's neither here nor there.)

"It's going to be fine.  Once we start, you'll love it.  I promise."  He rubbed my arm and we climbed into the boat.  Scott, our rafting guide, shouted to us from the back of the boat.

"Okay, so the pace-setters in the front," Chris and Steve took the front spots.  "And then file in behind them."  Jenn and I sat behind them and the other four rafters filed in behind us.  Eight rafters, one guide, and one jam-packed fanny pack filled with my meter, glucose tabs, tubes of cake gel, juice, and insulin pens. 

Two seconds into it, I was beside myself with fear.

About 30 seconds into it, I thought it was awesome.

And despite my terror, this whole trip was awesome.  I'm not the woodsy-type (contain your shock), so the idea of being out in the middle of class 4 or 5 rapids with nothing but a paddle in my hand and my legs locked against the center pontoons of the raft to keep me from falling out didn't sound terrific to me.  I was also worried about the diabetes-related implications.

But something about being in the middle of nowhere with water raging on either side and feeling scared, excited, and completely alive all at the same time was worth every damn second.

The great outdoors!

We stayed at the Northern Outdoors lodge in a cabin tent, so we camped out at night, cooked s'mores on the fire, and had the benefit of a bathhouse (read: cabin where there were flushable toilets) within walking distance.

We suited up in our wetsuits and conquered the Kennebec River (read: didn't fall out of the raft).

Chris, me, Jenn, and Steve.

After our day on the raft, we went out and drank with our rafting guide.  Here he is, rather drunk, telling me that I wasn't the only diabetic he's seen on these rafting trips and dagnabit, I did it!

Scott, lecturing me.

Diabetes-wise, this trip wasn't easy.  After spending the week reacclimating myself to Lantus and readying myself with insulin pens and syringes, I felt confident that my blood sugars would remain semi-stable.   My blood sugars were a little higher this past week, but nothing too obscene.   However, the anxiety and excitement of rafting sent my sugars skyrocketing, tossing me up into the 350 mg/dl range about halfway through the trip.  Thanks to the trusty insulin pens I brought with me, I came down quickly, but it was annoying to reach that peak (mainly because it made me have to pee and peeing in the woods is not my thing.  blech). 

After considering all the options, it was a good idea for me to stay off the pump for the trip.  I wasn't confident that it would remain dry, even if I had an aquapack or something similar.  Rolling pumpless allowed me to jump into the "swimming rapids," where we could swim in the class 2 rapids, let me leap off the raft when we were easing down the last part of the river, and I didn't have  that constant worry of "Is it okay?  Am I still connected?  Is it dry?"

My main (Maine?) concern was bringing enough reaction supplies.  Thanks to the terrific rafting guide and my traveling companions, there was enough cake gel on that raft to sponsor a Barbie birthday party.  Chris and Steve each had a tube in their pocket, I had three tubes on me, and the rafting guide had a stash of juice, cake gel, and an insulin pen in his dry pack. 

Testing on the boat proved to be a bit of a challenge.  I had my One Touch UltraMini encased in two plastic bags, so it remained mostly dry, but finding a moment to unearth it from within both bags, set up the strip, test, and keep things dry was tough.  I tested every 30 minutes or so, despite these conditions, and the Green Mini kept things controlled.  (Although the tampons would have been helpful from an absorption standpoint.  It was soggy on that damn raft.) 

I missed my pump terribly, though.  More on that tomorrow.  But pump and I have been reunited, I am now a white-water rafting veteran (or at least I can say I did it), and I'm looking forward to going again next summer. 

I DID IT.  I am quite proud of myself.  Diabetes be damned!

Comments

Wow, that sounded like an awesome trip!! I'm glad your fears evaporated and you were able to have a great time ;)

*I'm proud of Kerri!!!*

Once again proving that diabetes will scarcely have the upperhand...

Ha! You made me laugh out loud. I was reading along, thinking to myself, "hmmm, she calls him dude?"

Good job conquering the Kennebec. Sounds like a lot of fun.

Kerri - I'm delurking to compliment you...your attitude and spirit is amazing. I've been reading your blog for a year or so now, and you continue to inspire me. I'm T2, diagnosed about 3 1/2 years ago and still fighting to accept the reality of diabetes. Unbenownst to you (until now, I guess), you have been helping me cope.

I picked up a pelican case for my outdoor adventures - it's a hard plastic waterproof case that floats; after my Dad flipped the last cannoe we were in I thought it would be a good idea!

Courtney HATES when I call her dude :).

Kerri-Glad to see you made it!! I love thrill sports, skiing, cliffs sky diving. You name it I would probably do it. The most challenge I have right now is when I rock climb and the harness pushes on my "set" because I didn't place it high enough, but who cares you made it a week on Lantus after pumping and that I think is harder than the rafting. Congratulations!!!

Woo hoo, Kerri!! Way to go!!

I'm proud of you, too! We PWDs can do anything, but I find it takes a lot of extra planning sometimes, right?

Dave - I just had a similar problem while carrying a big pack with hip belt. After the hike, bolusing for an apple, and then driving 2 hours, I looked down to see that the cannula had popped out. Infusion set firmly stuck in place, but cannula out! Naturally, BG was approaching 300. I need to figure out a better way to backpack with the pump.

Congratulations! You have every right to be busting-at-the-seams-proud of yourself. It's good to hear that the Lantus worked out OK for you. Perhaps, if you raft again, you could put those *free* tampons in the bag with your Green Mini to keep it extra dry...maybe that was the grand scheme behind their sending them to you? LOL

That sounds AWESOME!!! Way to go!

PS - Chris and his sis look alike.

BRAVO! You are a champ!

Although I cannot get that Nintendo character image out of my head.

wheee! Congrats on kicking butt on those rapids and having a great trip. I'm so happy the Lantus worked out for you , and you had a planned but spontaneous time! :)

I'm SO with you on the whole peeing in the woods thing. DisGUSting. Dood.

I think I would be terrified, too, and I don't know that I could actually squeeze my fat arse into a wet suit, but it does sound exhilarating.

I just am sorry to say that I wasn't at Northern to guide you on your adventure. You see I am also a diabetic and was diagnosed at the age of 18. However, lets take it a step further. I started rafting with Northern Outdoors back in the 70's when the company was first founded. I had always been into water sports. In 2005 I had the opportunity to go through guide training and now am a Level 2 white water rafting guide. I also last year got my recreation guides license and can do hiking, camping, canoeing and snow mobile trips. Every summer I run a program though Northern Outdoors through Johnson & Wales University in Adventure Sports and Nature Based Tourism. This summer I had 20 students. We also go to Canada and raft the Ottawa River and jet boat on the St. Lawrence. We hiked the Appalacian tail for several days as well.

Bottom line I am now a very spry 58 year old diabetic who has never let the illness get in the way. So the sky is the limint. My recommendation is to get your group and try the Dead River or the Penobscot Class IV & V and ask for me to be your guide. You did have a good guide with Scotty Too Hottie.

Paul

Kerri

Now that you're acclimated to the outdoors, what's next? Geocaching or yurting? You'll enjoy both of these way more than rafting!!

Oh and sky-diving. I need to post a picture...

Kerri you rock! You should be so proud, once again you prove diabetes doesn't have to hold you back. Way to go!

woah, wait, were you just there this weekend? My friends were there in Maine at that river whitewater rafting for a bachelor party.

that's very strange and coincidency.

What a great adventure! Hats off to you for conquering that activity.

Yay, sounds like a great trip and no mishaps, well done!

Kerri, did someone say Appalachian Trail?

What? Appalachian Trail? Where? ;)

I'm wondering if that guy Paul wants to guide us next summer, and Scott can paddle with us instead of sending us to our watery graves.

Kari,

I am very impressed. It is so great reading stories like yours...it makes me worry just a little bit less about my son.

I am assuming you know about these things, but just in case...Sidekick Glucose Testing System

Hi, rafting is fun, yeah. But facing your fear is more fun - sharks I mean! I have a blog that recently features a shark story. You can read it a http://benhurjun.i.ph/

And I can't figure out the tagline "Six Until Me"?

Hi Kerri - Just came across your site when I was googling rafting pics (after having just white water rafted my first time this weekend). I saw the picture of Scott and thought, "Hey, that guy looks like the Northern Outdoors guide we had." Sure enough!

He was up drinking with us until 3:00 in the morning the night before (okay, I was trying to sleep - I'm not that tough anymore) but did a great job keeping us in the boat and, well, alive.

Glad you had such a great time, too!

That sounds like a blast! I went rafting once for a weekend and kept my pump on, inside my wetsuit. It was a little uncomfortable but it worked and my sugars remained stable. Our raft guide actually kept my meter, glucose tabs and glucagon in a special dry bag with them. Just a heads up if you ever go again!

i have the block island song if you want , its a crappy version tho ,

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