I wrote earlier this month about taking a vacation from my pump. I recently returned from that vacation and thought I'd share my thoughts about it.
As mentioned earlier, my family and I headed to Turks & Caicos. It was amazing. Beyond beautiful. Unfortunately the Nor'easter caused strong waves and what not in the ocean which went all the way down to Turks & Caicos. Not a huge deal but it resulted in a red flag everyday for the ocean. The red flags meant no snorkeling, no sailing, no scuba diving, no stand up paddle boarding, etc. Have no fear though. Plenty of time was spent in the sun by the pool.
I wore my pump and CGM until around 3:30 in the morning when we took off. I checked my blood sugar and bolused for my breakfast which I ate as I removed the CGM and pump from my body. I waited until I got to the airport and through security to visit the ladies room to test and take my Lantus. My blood sugar before leaving was 135. At the airport it was already in the mid-200s. Yikes! I couldn't get the first insulin pin to work or the second one. I finally tried a new pen needle and it all worked. Phew.
While traveling all day I stayed on top of my blood sugars and took lots of corrective insulin. My brother-in-law mentioned that it takes awhile for the Lantus to build up in your system and I probably shouldn't have waited until the very last minute to remove my pump and switch to injections.
I checked my blood sugars quite often throughout the trip and took quite a few corrective doses. Only a handful of times did my blood sugar reach the 300s but thankfully never went above 392. The lowest blood sugar I had was 73. I would have preferred to stay between 80 and 140 but I knew going in my blood sugars would be wonky and not nearly as greatly controlled as when I'm on my pump.
I struggled with carb counting. Especially with the alcoholic beverages. My beverage of choice? Frozen lemonade with vodka. Yum! Most of my counting was of the SWAG method. SWAG -- Scientific Wild Ass Guessing. I tried to load up on the cheese slices at breakfast for protein and the fact I wouldn't have to bolus for it. Except for about three breakfasts and the desert for one dinner, everything was a la carte. I think this helped immensely because I wasn't tempted with a ridiculous amount of food options at the buffets. Because with buffets there are times when you just want a tiny nibble of this and that and things you want to try you've never had before. It all piles up and next thing you know you are taking all the insulin in the world.
My endocrinologist sent me to Turks & Caicos with six insulin pens of Novolog. She was worried six wouldn't be enough. I didn't even completely use one pen. I felt she was enabling me to eat and drink whatever I wanted. So I took advantage of that and found myself at the American themed restaurant which had cotton candy during the day. It was delicious. I should have drank more alcohol though. I'm a slacker in that regards.
She also sent me with three Lantus pens and I didn't even completely use one. I am not complaining as I feel fortunate to have this extra insulin. I get where she was coming from though. We set my I:C ratios and Lantus doses but we didn't know how my body was going to adjust, what I would be consuming and how much corrective insulin I would end up needed through the week. Better to have too much insulin than not enough.
I returned home late on a Friday evening. I stayed on the shots until I had completed breakfast Saturday morning. By lunch time my blood sugars were kicking ass. Yay! I didn't put a new CGM sensor on my body until Sunday evening after dinner though. I waited because I wanted to make sure my blood sugars were stable on Saturday with switching back to the pump before putting a new sensor on. Then Sunday became a little crazy so I waited until I ate dinner.
By Monday morning I was beyond thrilled to be hooked back up on all of this stuff and I'm definitely appreciative of how much easier it makes controlling this disease. However, I loved my week not being hooked up to it all and I wouldn't second guess taking a pump vacation again in the future. As long as I'm returning to sunshine and water and warm temperatures.