Judie Hurtado has lived with type 1 diabetes for 29 years. She is a Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher and a Certified Kids Yoga Teacher. She is also a Reiki Master and a health & wellness writer. You can learn more about her at www.judiehurtado.com.
I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes a few months before I turned 12 years old. I’ve lived with type 1 diabetes for 29 years. I have never let diabetes stop me from making my dreams come true. However, recently I almost allowed diabetes to alter an important decision in my life.
To Visit India with Diabetes or not to Visit India?
I have always wanted to visit India. I have been practicing yoga for nearly 15 years and became a yoga teacher in 2011. As I approached a big birthday milestone (I turned the big 4-0 in June 2011), I decided it was the perfect time for me to make this trip. A fellow yoga teacher asked me if I had checked out Raghunath’s trip. Raghu, as I now call him, is a well-known yogi who leads spiritual pilgrimages to India every year. After speaking with Raghu and taking one of his classes, I knew I had really found the perfect guide to India.
That’s when panic began to set in. The more I told people I was going to India, the more I began to hear about “Delhi Belly,” the horrific stomach condition that can set after eating in India. Even my husband, who has traveled to India for work numerous times, warned me about it. What would happen if I got sick? What if I couldn’t control my blood sugar and had to go to a hospital? I have had stomach bugs in the past, thanks to my children, but I always managed my blood sugars with my Pod. Would it be different in India?
Planning for My Travels with Diabetes
I decided to see my endocrinologist. She too warned me about Delhi Belly. She also advised me to bring extra Pods and back-up supplies like Lantus and syringes. I also had to see a doctor in the Travel Medicine and Infectious Diseases Department. He prescribed antibiotics to take in case I got hit with Delhi Belly. All the doctors seemed apprehensive about a person with diabetes traveling to India, but none advised me to cancel the trip.
Raghunath had encouraged us to pack light. As I began packing, I realized that the majority of my suitcase was filled with diabetes supplies, glucose tablets and snacks. I tend to over-pack as it is, but this time I knew it was really important that I had more than enough supplies with me. I didn’t know what to expect. I was very excited, but I was also very, very nervous.
Telling my Guide about my Diabetes
A week before my departure on my spiritual pilgrimage to India, I decided it was time to make the big reveal. I had not told my teacher, Raghunath, that I had type 1 diabetes. I tend to keep my diabetes to myself. I don’t feel it’s necessary for anyone to know, but my husband urged me to tell others in case something happened. His reasoning was that if I began to act “weird,” they would know I needed sugar. I pointed out that since I was traveling with strangers, no one would really know when I was acting weird!
I decided to tell my teacher a few days before the trip. What I didn’t know was that Raghu was all too familiar with type 1 diabetes. One of his four children, his 13-year-old son, also has diabetes. He had planned on bringing his son with him on this trip, but he and his wife decided it wasn’t the best time for his son to make the journey.
When Raghunath shared that with me, I felt heart broken. I felt responsible somehow for his son not being on the trip. Maybe it’s due to the fact that I’m a mom and I could relate to his sadness as a parent. I tried to look at the silver lining. I told him that I could be his diabetic guinea pig for this trip!
So my suitcase was packed, my Visa was secured and I was ready to go!
Come back to read more about Judie’s experiences with diabetes throughout her trip to India.