Adventure As Type 1 Therapy

P me_300pxErin Spineto found herself drawing up insulin on a paddleboard while being buffeted by four-foot swells. She finds this is a good way to stay healthy.

P last shot of four_300pxIn early July, Spineto, two other women with Type 1, and a diabetes researcher paddled 100 miles from Myrtle, South Carolina to Wilmington, North Carolina; the trip took four days. This was the third such Type 1-centered adventure Spineto has planned; she’s also gone on a sailing trip and undertaken a relay swim around Key West in Florida. A paddleboarding trip seemed like a logical next step.

“I spent the previous year staring at the bottom of the pool, and I knew I wanted to look up a bit,” Spineto says.

Even with such training, these trips always include elements of the unexpected. The four paddlers dodged thunderstorms, accidentally landed on a beach monitored by Homeland Security, and dropped various diabetes gear in the water. At one point, the crew had to hitch a lift on a party bus, and listen to 80’s frat music on the journey, to avoid inclement weather. The hiccups were worth it when they pulled up to their destination in Wilmington just as the sky darkened and fireworks went off.

”It was one of the best 4th of Julys I’ve had a while,” she says.

Spineto began planning such adventurous forays to keep herself motivated in her Type 1 diabetes self-care. About five years ago, she found herself slacking in her blood sugar control, as life crowded in and the possibility of diabetes complications got pushed mentally to the background. She realized she needed to plan for something positive to maintain her focus on her diabetes care.

P 3 in cape fear river_300px“If I know I have an adventure a year, I have to take care of myself for that adventure,” she says.

DCIM100GOPRONow Spineto is launching a digital service called Sea Peptide Adventure Academy to provide that same motivation to others with Type 1. This online curriculum will help inspire and guide would-be Type 1 adventurers to train for and undertake similar trips. The academy message is sent via 20 emails over a 60-day period. The academy, currently slated to cost $40, is scheduled to launch in mid-August.

P erin dig through bag_300pxIn the meantime, Spineto is already planning her next adventure. With this next trip, she hopes to include “Type 3s”, or spouses and parents who live with and help care for people with Type 1. It most likely will involve water once again, and it most likely will be at a locale that mimics Spineto’s sunny San Diego stomping grounds.

“I always like to go someplace where it’s warm,” she says.

To learn more about Sea Peptide Adventures, go to

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Craig Idlebrook is a past editor for Insulin Nation, Type 2 Nation, and Información Sobre Diabetes. He is now the community engagement and content manager for T1D Exchange.

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