We all know Disneyland is The Happiest Place on Earth, however, going to the park as a Type 1 Diabetic can be somewhat of a challenge and not always the happiest it could be. This past week, I had the privilege of spending my 21st birthday at Disneyland and I came across some minor challenges and things I had to figure out throughout the day, but through it all, I learned some valuable bits of knowledge to carry around with me whenever I am out on the go for a long period of time away from home. I have put together some helpful tips and tricks in making your trip to Disneyland, or any other long day trip by that token, a fun and enjoyable experience.
1/ Plan your day: When going to Disneyland, you may not want to worry about T1D getting in the way of your fun, however, it is very important, especially as a Diabetic, to plan out your day, what time you will arrive, leave, eat your meals, etc., so that you can arrange accordingly your day and ensure the most fun and less stress during your Disney day! When you know approximately what time things will take place, you can plan how many snacks you should bring to regulate your blood sugars throughout the day as you walk around the park, you can know what you will be doing and when, making sure you have all the right supplies in case of an emergency, and so on.
2/ Bring enough (and more) supplies: When going literally ANYWHERE as a Diabetic, it is always smart to have all the necessary supplies that will be of great help, whether in an emergency or not. Always planning ahead and preparing for the worst is key in making sure you have the best outing possible. When I go to Disneyland, I have a backpack with me at ALL times and in that backpack, I carry different pouches and cases full of backup pump sites, syringes (incase my pump were to somehow break), batteries, alcohol swabs, juice and glucose tabs, water, and so much more because nobody ever knows what may happen as the day goes by and it is better to have all the supplies readily available with you than having to leave the park and go home simply because your site went bad, perhaps. I typically advise that you bring a second backup of everything, just in case your first backup tends to fail somehow. Yes, your bag may be heavier than you would like at this point, but it is better to be safe than sorry!
3/ Stand your ground: As a Diabetic, one of the most frustrating things can be dealing with uneducated people (such as security or anybody else in the public eye) and having to explain what your Insulin pump or medications are for can be somewhat of a challenge (sometimes). When going through security, depending on the guard at the time, be prepared to explain your Diabetes to them and don’t let them force you in through the metal detector, resulting in your pump to breakdown from radiation. Simply explain the dangers of going through with a pump and most of the time, they are very understanding and kind, they just may have to pat you down or use a wand, which isn’t all that bad, again, better safe than sorry. Your right as a Diabetic allows you to carry all your supplies, food, and drinks with you at all times, as you are dealing with a chronic disease that shouldn’t be cared for lightly.
1/ Forget to stop and check: When at Disneyland, you’ll probably be so caught up in all the fun, that the last thing you will want to do is worry about your T1D. However, it is important that every now and then, you stop and take a rest to check your blood sugars and treat accordingly. You will have a much better time knowing that your numbers are just fine if you simply take mini breaks throughout the day to care for yourself!
2/ Show up to the park with an almost empty pump reservoir: It happens, but sometimes, we need to take a step back and think before we act. When going on a fun-filled day, we MUST always make sure we have a decent amount of Insulin in our pumps (or carry an extra vile of insulin) as you never know what emergencies you may run into. Also, when at Disneyland, you may run into foods and treats that you want to allow yourself to have and most of those foods may be high in carbs/sugar, requiring larger amounts of Insulin. When I know I will be out of the house for a full day, I always either change my pump site the night before, allowing for a full reservoir of Insulin or I just make sure I have a fresh new vile of Insulin that I carry around with me throughout the day incase my pump goes empty, in which depending on the weather, you will need to make sure your Insulin stays cool and out of direct sunlight or severe cold temperatures.
3/ Have only a few sources of sugar on hand: One of the scariest parts about T1D is going low and we all know the panic that comes with low blood sugars. Always make sure you have some form of sugar on hand throughout the day (depending on how long you will be away from home) and if you somehow run out of sugar as the day goes by, RESTOCK! Stop what you are doing and go buy some juice or candy right away, because you don’t know when your next low may hit and if you are not prepared and find yourself standing in a long line to pay for some sugar when you are low, it won’t be a fun time and that will add to your panic. Like mentioned above, ALWAYS be prepared!
To sum up, going to Disneyland is supposed to be a fun time for you, so to take out the stress and ensure that you will have a great day, try and follow these tips during your next adventure!
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I’m a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE), fitness instructor, public speaker, and proudly live my life as a healthy person with Type 1 Diabetes for more than 24 years. Like many of you, my story began with the realization that I needed to change my eating habits and exercise routine. I also needed to wholeheartedly embrace the fact that I have type 1 diabetes, but most of all I simply wanted to live better.
I could define myself in many ways based on my experiences, but most of all I am determined, strong-willed, and not a quitter. So, I raised the bar on myself and found a way. Now, my role is to pay it forward and share my knowledge.
My professional goal is to support people with T1D of all ages with nutrition education specific to their individual needs with regular exercise. Nothing makes me more excited than to work with athletes with T1D! I am very driven to provide education that I would have found valuable when I was a teenager. My philosophy is evidence-based through sports nutrition research but also from many years of personal trial and error while becoming more physically fit.
One thing I have learned is that people with T1D are all at different stages of glucose management. Some may be thriving with what seems like effortless blood glucose control, while others struggle with the basics. Keeping track of test strips, dosages, and technology, can be so overwhelming! I believe in meeting a person where they are in the learning process because it’s so easy to cave under the pressure of perfect nutrition and an impressive A1c.
T1D management is a partnership within all the other aspects of what makes us who we are. Hemoglobin A1c does not define us. We are individuals first. Individuals with unique nutritional needs, interests, and fitness goals.
When I present education I often say that I did not become a nutrition expert the very moment I was diagnosed with T1D. It takes a massive amount of effort and will-power to master diabetes and I had my own struggles for years before finding my method of success. And that’s when lifelong health maintenance begins. This is one reason why I see myself in every person I meet with T1D and I am such a fan of anyone putting in the work.
Social Media :www.lpnutritionconsulting.com
At 49 years old there couldn’t have been a more pronounced time when I needed my mommy most, but at 80 years old she was suffering through her umpteenth battle with cancer and a complicated surgery. Somehow it didn’t feel right to burden her with my diagnosis. So there I was, just shy of turning 50, with a life-changing, devastating diagnosis of Type I Diabetes and without my mother to console me. No one can feel your pain or offer support in times of crisis like a mother. As a mother of 2 boys myself who have been afflicted with food allergies, Celiac disease, ADHD and Asperger’s I was no stranger to offering comfort. I’m just not accustomed to receiving it. I’ve always been strong, emotionally strong I mean. There was no time for self-pity, for sadness for failure. Failure meant death. My friends and family offered support and kindness but no one can really understand the depth of fatigue and fear the disease brings. The persistent need to monitor my blood sugar and account for every scrap of food takes its toll; it’s exhausting.
Ultimately I made a new best friend, my Dexcom CGM. I go low in the middle of the night, more often than I should, and definitely more often than I like. It’s always there for me and I’m thankful for my little pink receiver that wakes me up and shouts EAT SUGAR, figuratively of course. I’m doing great: still exercising a ton, eating healthy, and living life. My purse is heavier, the TSA screening takes longer and everyone has seen my muffin top when I inject in a restaurant. Despite all that I’m in control. I’m winning. Diabetes doesn’t control me.