A Post- Alaskan Wilderness Diagnosis

Debra - posted on 03/11/2015 ( 2 moms have responded )




I stumbled on this site in looking for "something" to put in my sons Easter Basket ! He is 25 years old, diagnosed just over a year with T1. A college grad, environmental science, and an Eagle Scout, Eric sought an internship in Denali Park Alaska. For three seasons he worked in Alaska. He did horticulture work, he did river guiding, he worked in the dog sled kennels.....his favorite. His dream is to be a Law Enforcement Ranger for the National Park Service. After his 4th season, he came home Christmas Eve and looked like he_ _ .....always lean and wirey but this time gaunt and exhausted. We got through Christmas thinking he just needed rest from jet lag, the time difference and just being in such an extreme environment. He had a scheduled physical two days after Christmas which he passed (no urine or blood test). Only symptom was blurred vision. He hadn't had his eyes checked in some time so we needed to check that out. He had enrolled in a park approved Law Enforcement Academy to begin the middle of January. As the Christmas Holiday week continued, I notice he had downed a quart of Gatorade and heard him in the bathroom. I thought to myself, that's a lot of fluid in and a lot of fluid out. I work in a medical lab and had dip sticks in my medicine cabinet. I told him to check his urine. He called me an hour later and said it was 4+. Not believing the out of date dip sticks I told him to come to the lab and we'd repeat.......His blood sugar was 800. It was a very rough beginning to the new year ! His dream of being a Ranger seemed to have slipped out of his reach due to the diabetes... The ER Doc who treated Eric gave him advice which stuck. He said "Don't let the disease control you, you control the disease." That March he went back to Denali Park Alaska with a 6.3 A1C (down from 14 at diagnosis), an insulin pump, a CGM (continuous glucose monitor) and one heck of a good attitude. I am humbled... I am so proud of him. He has secured a full time position with the Park Service, not yet a Law Enforcement Ranger but still working for that goal ! Maybe his story could encourage others struggling with diabetes. Sharing helps to lighten the heavy feeling of discouragement and aloneness ! Debby

Back to the Easter Candy...Any good ideas for treats I could send 1400 miles away to Alaska ?


View replies by

Chana - posted on 03/12/2015




Glad your son is doing good. I had to read this after I saw it at the bottom of my screen when I was replying to something else. That is awesome that he is doing so well so quickly. My mom had diabetes for over 20 years so I am fully aware of the struggles. She tried to control it with diet and exercise but ultimately ended up taking 4 shots a day before she passed away. I know food is a constant struggle, we went to a diabetic nutritionist and the one thing that sticks in my mind is that she said you can eat anything in moderation. Do not deprive yourself because you will crave it more. Her words "you can eat a piece of cake not the whole cake or you can eat a piece of candy not a pound."

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms