Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Doesn't diabetes camp sound like more fun than pony camp?

I just need to vent for a few minutes...

I picked up the mail last night and there was the pretty colorful brochure from Girl Scouts about early registration for summer camp 2012. And I wanted to throw it in the trash but I couldn't.

Last summer Alex went to girl scout camp with her cousin up in Prescott. They had an awesome time together and came home with so many memories. They dreamed of growing up and starting a farm to raise horses. They begged us to sign them up for camp again next summer only this time pick the pony camp where they can take care of a horse all week long every day. We tried to sign them up for that last summer but the camp filled before we registered the girls. So my sister and I vowed to be on top of things this year and sign them up the first day of registration. Alex has talked about going to this camp ever since she came home last June. And I have encouraged it. Maybe now you understand why I want to tear of the f-ing brochure.

You see I went online and read about girl scout camp and their small paragraph on girls with special needs and special diets. And I knew after the first few sentences there was no way I was sending my girl to girl scout camp this year. There is a nurse for the entire camp. She is not necessarily specifically trained in diabetes. The camp counselors are typically college age girls working a summer job and they don't sleep in the cabin with the girls. Case closed. Alex won't go to girl scout camp. Too many things could happen. She isn't even giving herself her own blood tests yet. I can't send her to a camp that has no obvious skill in caring for a newly diagnosed diabetic kid and pray to God she doesn't get a low in the cabin with only 9 other 9 year old girls sleeping there. I can't trust someone won't give her some high carb snack and not realize she needs an insulin shot for it. I can't risk them not realizing she needs a blood test before swimming or any other physical activity which is what camp is all about.

So...I'm grateful for this whole diabetes summer camp that I fully intend to send Alex to in June. You bet I am registering her on day one. It may cost 3 times what girl scout camp costs and I may have to charge it on a credit card but she is going. They do have horses there. It ironically is next to the girl scout camp up in Prescott. I know it will be an awesome experience for her in so many ways.

But I'm still pissed off. Because I want to send my kid to pony camp like I planned to. I want to make good on my promise. But I can't. And I'm sure she'll hate me for that too. Maybe not long term. But I'm sure she'll hate me for it when we have to tell her she isn't going. Yes Alex, won't it be SO MUCH FUN to learn to give yourself a shot instead of riding horses with your cousin?  It will be JUST AWESOME!!!!! I hate myself for it too.


  1. The stories I've heard about diabetes camp over the past (almost) 7 years have been amazing!!! Life altering, fantastic, fun, wonderful!!!!

    This is the first year my daughter will be old enough to go. We've been patiently waiting, and we're very excited. Looks like they'll be newbies together :)

  2. My 8 year old went to diabetes camp for the first time last summer. It was a very long week for me, that was the longest she had been out of my care since her diagnosis. BUT...she LOVED it! The medical staff was outstanding! They had a dr and nurse assigned to each cabin, plus 3 college age girls slept in the cabins with them, waking to check their bgs a couple times a night (especially with all the activity). Ally never felt so included! When she would check her bg before meals or before an activity like swimming, she would look around and see everyone else doing the same. She can't wait to go back this summer.

  3. Hi TK -
    My name is Kelly and I've been a type 1 for 30+ years. Nice to *MEET* you! I'm here to tell you that Diabetes camp was the best two weeks of my life for three years in a row!
    And it was fun to swim, play, do arts & crafts, walk the nature trails, go on hayrides and yes, it was fun learn about my diabetes - shots and all. It was fun because I was surrounded by other children who lived my diabetes life and who understood how I felt without ever having to utter the D Word. Learning about diabetes with them was a game changer!
    It was fun to be in a world where I was normal & I made friends that lasted well past those summer days.
    I know that your daughter is going to LOVE diabetes camp so much and I know that she will thank-you for it, and love you even more for sending her there!

  4. Thank you all for taking the time to read and respond. I truly am grateful there is such a thing as a camp for kids with diabetes and I know she'll have an awesome time. I know she needs to meet and talk to other kids going through what she goes through. I just having my ups and downs at coming to terms with her having this. Sometimes I'm fine. Sometimes I'm a mess. Sometimes I convince myself she just has it "a little bit" but not like other kids, right? I'm just all over the place. Not being able to send her to pony camp this year is just like another confirmation that she has this and that's not going to change.

  5. Hi!! First I give you SO MUCH CREDIT for even thinking about letting your daughter go away to camp. And I LOVE LOVE that you're not letting diabetes take control of her life :) I was diagnosed when I was 10 and my mom was the SAME way you are, looked into everything and "forced" me to go to diabetes came. I balked, I yelled - I did not want to go. And let me tell you that I met my very best friend there and we are still best friends to this day. I went to that camp until I was 16, and then when I was 19 I started working at Clara Barton Camp (bartoncenter.org) and I have been working and volunteering there ever since.
    The thing about d-camp is that she will fit in so well with all these other girls who have the same weird disease that she does. The same complaints that make no sense to anyone else. The same low symptoms that people without diabetes find weird when they really just scare us. She will learn SO much more at diabetes camp than just how to give herself a shot, or which finger is best to prick - she's going to learn so many life skills both diabetes and otherwise that she can't get anywhere else.

    She may fight you about it, but you're doing the right thing. And maybe she will hate it, but she'll learn things she'll have forever, and you'll know you did the best thing for her :)

    Good luck!!!

    (Also, my bg was 52 when I wrote this, I apologize if something doesn't make sense!!!)