Advice for an adventurous lifestyle?

Hi,

I'm kind of new to this but I've been looking for some decent advice. I am hoping to have a life full of adventure and I always worry that I allow my diabetes to limit me or, even, occasionally, use it as a crutch. I recently spent nearly four months in Morocco studying Barbary macaques (a type of monkey). My goals for my career and my life are to become a primatologist and, hopefully, spend a decent amount of time studying primates in the wild. Of course, most primates live in hot, tropical areas. Really, Morocco was a good introduction to me - we lived in a small town in an apartment with all the basic necessities (shower, hot running water, kitchen, refrigeration, internet, etc), there was a great variety of food and while, physically, the work was strenuous as we were hiking following the monkeys for about ten hours each day, I never really felt like I had to be terribly concerned for the condition of my diabetes. I use an insulin pump, which allowed for me to control my blood sugar quite well, my diet was not limited, and we worked in a temperate climate in the Middle Atlas Mountains so that it was cool and comfortable most days (although it often got very cold). My concerns, now, is for what I hope to achieve next. I recently applied and had an interview for a 6 month research assistant position in the Salonga National Park of the Democratic Republic of Congo to work with bonobos (a close relative to chimpanzees). This is a tropical forest, which means it is hot and humid. There is refrigeration for supplies but this is a very minimalist life-style. We sleep in tents at this campsite, I'm pretty sure hot showers are out of the question, I haven't asked about toilets (but I've dealt with using "nature's toilet" before), the diet consists almost entirely of fish and rice, internet is limited, and to get to the campsite I would have to fly into the big town of Kinshasa, take another smaller plane to a village closer to our campsite, and then hike half a day through the forest to the actual campsite. Of course, the daily routine will be fairly similar to what it was in Morocco (follow the primates all day) which is fine. I have spoken with my doctors and they firmly believe that I am capable of doing this and they have the same basic concerns as I do. They also tell me that the pump may not be practical given the level of humidity and I am hesitant about going if I have to switch back to injections. I guess, really what I am getting at, is I would like to know if anyone on here as successfully maintained a lifestyle similar to this or had experiences like this Congo one before. I firmly believe in myself and my capabilities but it would be nice to know that other diabetics have done this before and how. Please, please, please, help me out with some advice on this. Thanks.

you are so blessed and lucky to have the guts to do this. i always wanted the life of a nomad or vagabond but held off on it because i was always worried about were my insulin and supplies were going to come from. i go to a low income clinic where i am from and can get three months worth of insulin at a time but can only get strips for one month at a time and only if i see my doctor every six months. and have to get bloodwork done one month before that. kinda hard to be hundreds, or thousands, of miles from home and do that. otherwise, my insulin and supplies cost a fortune! that's what's keeping me from doing it. and what is keeping you? INJECTIONS?!! isn't the reward of going to study the bonobos (which i looked up BTW, and they are ADORABLE!!!) enough?!! i am sure there are diabetics over there. why don't you try to contact a doctor over there and ask them how their patients fare over there? maybe one of these organizations can connect you to someone who can answer your questions www.idf.org/lifeforachild  or  worlddiabetesfoundation.org/composite-1.htm. GOOD LUCK! keep us updated!

I've backpacked a lot, but never done anything close to what you are.  The only advice I'd have is to take enough supplies to use your pump AND take shots if the pump won't work for you.  I've heard pump companies will offer you a loaner pump to travel.  You might get a spare for the duration of your trip.  

In the first few weeks in a new location, test a lot and take a little less insulin for meals and corrections than usual.  Before too long you'll adjust to the new routine.  I'd also take tons of glucose tablets, juice boxes and several glucagon pens.  Train your co-workers to administer glucagon since you'll be so isolated.

I'd also have prescriptions and a note from your doctor, translated into the local language, explaining that you're diabetic and your insulin doses, targt blood sugar, etc.

You have to read the logbook in the recent issue of Dia Tribe by a man who was in Africa for two weeks with a school building group. His report is very interesting and he did have problems that you want to avoid. Bring enough extras. Especially a meter and test strips, although they were available in most areas.

Read his report and go for it:

www.diatribe.us/.../logbook.php

If the link doesn't work go to the latest issue of Dia Tribe.

Thank you for all of your advice and support. It really has been very helpful. Having had diabetes for nearly 16 years now, I'm glad that I am still pushing myself. I am still unsure about this Congo thing but it will be a couple of weeks before I hear back anyway. Still, I have another interview for a 13 month position in Ethiopia which seems much more promising. So, here's to a life full of adventure!