Writing is my way of reaching out

I’m so excited it’s Diabetes Blog Week and every day for the next five days I’ll be blogging  to a specific topic along with a host of others. Check out whose blogging this week and join in the fun. Here’s our first topic for Message Monday

Let’s kick off the week by talking about why we are here, in the diabetes blog space. What is the most important diabetes awareness message to you? Why is that message important for you, and what are you trying to accomplish by sharing it on your blog? 

Rachel NYC2 work

I was a teenager the first time I met someone with diabetes.  I can still remember the medical ID on her wrist and her passion for sugar free sweets. She was a little plump and always cheerful and I never imagined how difficult it must have been for her. When I was diagnosed nearly 30 years later I tried to find her. An impossible task. I wanted to tell her that I’d never understood how hard it must have been…I wanted her to know I was just like her.

Writing is my way of reaching out, and a vehicle for me to put into words how it feels to live with diabetes. I don’t remember my friend ever mentioning how she felt about her condition. In those days a person with diabetes lived in isolation. I lived like that for the first 6 years after my diagnosis too. Pretending, hoping and convincing myself and others I wasn’t really sick. Easy to do when I didn’t bother to inform myself.

Struggling to accept my diagnosis I felt ashamed, lonely and guilty. I kept wondering what I could have done differently. I searched the internet and the globe for a cure or some way to reverse what I thought I had. Back when I was diagnosed I didn’t know anyone in the yoga community who had diabetes. I remember asking a fellow yoga teacher if they’d ever had someone with diabetes in their class, “ Hmm…don’t know , maybe…but no-one ever mentioned it, if they did.”

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I came out of diabetes denial when it became impossible to ignore that I wasn’t going to get better. With an A1c of 10.7, mild neuropathy and a million visits to the toilet it was pretty obvious that I had to get my blood sugar under control.  The first step was to admit I had a problem.

A long post to our yoga teacher facebook group about my decision to start long acting insulin was met with nothing but love and support. Reading everyone’s comments I couldn’t help crying. It just felt so good to know that I wasn’t alone! Everyone struggles with something in their lives. And it doesn’t have to be a chronic illness.

Now that I am an avid online diabetes advocate the one message that keeps hitting home is that this disease doesn’t work in isolation. By telling our stories, sharing how we manage, voicing our hopes and dreams and demonstrating how we live beyond, we not only come to terms with our diagnosis, we heal.

I always thought that healing meant I’d never have to deal with diabetes again. That I’d be able to say I used to have diabetes…now I know better. Living beyond is all about accepting what is and thriving anyway. My disease might be invisible to others, I might have to micromanage every minute but still, I am happy, healthy and live a fulfilled and complete life.
With great respect…Rachel

P.S Want to know more about my passion for yoga and diabetes? I’m offering the first chapter of my new book on Yoga for Diabetes for free. Find the right practice for your type by learning all about Ayurveda, the sister science of yoga.

18 thoughts on “Writing is my way of reaching out

  1. Hi Rachel, I’m new to your blog (thanks DBlogWeek!) and this post is fantastic. I’m surprised no one ever brought up having diabetes in yoga, I always went low when I used to do it!
    I love your definition for living beyond- I will try and adopt that for myself.
    Looking forward to reading the rest of your posts over the week.

    • Thanks so much Bec. I’ll make sure to check out your blog too. I know its weird…and I was surprised. Since then I’m meeting lots of people with diabetes who do yoga. So I think theres much more awareness now. Or at least I’m meeting more people through the DOC…

  2. Your blog is beautiful!! and I loved your post.. I am sure your experience benefits many – even beyond diabetes.. My son in the diabetic here.. another subject I see we have in common.. I was in Japan about the same time as your workshop! Although I did no yoga on that trip – we went for a vacation – my first time, and I am in love with it.

    • Hey Pam, Thanks for your comment! I read your blog…I love what you wrote. Thats amazing we were in Japan at the same time. Its a great place! I look forward to following your blog this week.

  3. Hey Rachel, I felt exactly the same way – closed off from my diabetes for the first few years after my diagnosis. I often think about the two people I knew with diabetes back in school. Love your perspective here and connecting online with friends like you has opened up my world and my perspective on diabetes.

    • Frank I am so glad we met last year through this forum. As you know I am a huge fan and your personal perspective supports me to be more proactive. I am looking forward to reading all your posts this week!

  4. I remember feeling ashamed of diabetes too. In my teen years I didn’t want my friends to know I had diabetes. Now I barely shut up about it!! Thank goodness for blogs and the DOC and understanding we have nothing to be ashamed about!

    • Thanks so much for sharing Karen. I know exactly what you mean. My partner sometimes has to put his head phones on because i am so focussed on connecting and advocacy. That’s why I love #DBlogweek… its such a great opportunity to connect with others! Thank you for your inspiration and work to make this happen.

  5. Yeah, I used to do yoga but would never tell anyone about it so I could imagine it not really being brought up. I love your post…I hope you find your friend one day!

    • Thanks so much Kelly…interesting. I’m trying to make yoga teachers more aware so that they find out about their students and their health and how to meet them where they are at. So glad you like the blog 🙂

  6. Thanks for being brave and sharing! I was diagnosed 2 years ago (as an adult) and was recently explaining to my dad some of the nasty things people say about diabetes. It can make it hard to talk about it. Sometimes I think we have the most patient-blaming disease out there. I don’t think I would have made it through these first few years without the DOC.

    • I know exactly what you mean…I think before I was diagnosed I was so misinformed about diabetes that I thought someone with it just injected and was fine. My family and friends still think that sometimes. I find myself really speaking out…

  7. I do recall a time when I was ashamed. As I matured I got beyond it more and more. Today few know I was so shy.

    I referred your blog to the TUDiabetes blog page for the week of May 16, 2016.

    • I know its actually amazing. I’m at the stage now where i am having to add short acting to my routine and I am hesitating a bit. facing some new resistance and fears. But i’ll get there 🙂

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