This Too Shall Pass

It’s day 6 for Diabetes Blog Week and todays topic is to reflect on a previous blog and share something you feel proud of writing or expressing. For me it’s the following quote published recently on DOYOUYOGA.com

People often ask me how do I face a disease which is incurable and full of restrictions. My answer is simple…

I approach it like I approach my Yoga practice. It takes determination, skill and strength to master a difficult pose and patience to sit and watch the breath and steady the mind in meditation. If I approached my practice with laziness, frustration or fear of failure I’d never master a complicated pose like handstand. But even when I’m in a pose and every things going perfectly I can’t control the outcome. There’s always that point where the perfect balance point tips to imbalance and I’ve fallen out of the pose.  Regardless of the ups and downs of daily practice I feel grateful for the opportunity to attempt to find mastery.

I still stand by this quote, in fact today I was having tea with a friend and she asked how I manage my diabetes so effortlessly and remarked that she could never do something like that. I shared that if it was a life or death situation she might feel differently. Not that having diabetes is any sort of death sentence. I went a long time without any symptoms at all and even when I did start to get symptoms was still complacent and ignored the warning signs.

Diabetes blog week Yoga for diabetes day 6

If there is a difference between the discipline of my daily yoga practice and the daily management of diabetes, it’s that I don’t worry if I can’t get into a yoga posture. With the daily ups and downs of diabetes it’s harder not to worry  There’s not that much room to move in the triage of Insulin, exercise and diet. I may have eaten, injected and exercised impeccably and still my body doesn’t do what it’s supposed to.

I’ve had to start to trust more. Trust that my body is doing its best. Trust that there will be better days. And to know….

This too shall pass

With great respect…Rachel

Change is Here to Stay

Todays topic for Diabetes Blog Week is all about change.

The biggest personal change I have made and one that I hope really comes to the forefront in the management and care of diabetes is the merging of functional medicine with conventional approaches. I know it’s happening on a small scale. But I would love it, if on diagnosis, conventional doctors encouraged their patients to look into the diet and lifestyle changes that are on offer in the functional medicine world. I have learned so much from reading books like “Diabetes Solution” By Dr. Bernstein, Keto Clarity, by Jimmy Moore and attending The Diabetes Summit, which supports all types of diabetics in alternative approaches to self care and management.

Nearly a year ago today I paid my own visit to a functional medicine GP. During the visit we discussed what he called my “narrowing corridor of food issue”. I was controlling my carb intake but I was also suffering from food sensitivities due to leaky gut syndrome. Bottom line? I ate a total of 6 foods and had done so for nearly a year.

After feeling like a pincushion at the lab and shipping my poo off to the U.S.A  it was determined that my system was severely depleted due to an overgrowth of candida. I breathed a sigh of relief, candida was an old friend. I’d met her in my early twenties and had managed to quell her before. This was going to be a piece of cake. I naively held out hope that my BG levels were out of control because I had candida. It was all HER fault.

Boy was I wrong!

I was put on a host of remedies, creams, shots and more and crossed my fingers. Much to my surprise and disappointment my blood sugar levels went higher.  I told myself it was the detox, but after three months of high levels and the beginning signs of neuropathy it was time to get real with myself. We repeated the tests. There was good news and bad news. It was clear that the candida was in remission, but the diabetes hadn’t budged.

My functional medicine GP recommended I start insulin which was later re-affirmed by my endocrinologist.  It was assumed by both health care providers that I would keep up my diet and lifestyle management strategies as that’s what had kept me honeymooning for so long.  They both reiterated that being on insulin would increase the range of foods I could eat and rather than being a death sentence would make my life a whole lot better.

Diabetes blog week changes

And they were right! I am happy to report I am no longer tunnelling down a narrowing corridor.

Being able to eat properly again has completely changed my relationship to food. Instead of putting together a drab meal of egg and spinach omelette. I’m getting creative. Making hempseed coconut bliss balls, egg and avocado salads and feta cheese and spinach soufflés. I even lashed out and made coconut cauliflower pancakes. To those of you who eat these things as part of your regular low carb regime and think, no biggie.

For me its a BIGGIE… it’s like finally having chocolate and ice cream again.

With great respect….Rachel

Diabetes blog week clean it out

It’s a Wild Ride!

Todays topic for Diabetes Blog Week is all about getting the skeletons out of the closet. What can we let go of in order to fly?

I’l never forget my first trip to Disney world.  I couldn’t wait to see Mickey and Minnie and the enchanted castle. But my big  8 year old dream was to see the dolls dancing in costumes to the lilting tune of it’s a small world after all.  I wasn’t that keen to go in the spinning teacups, they made me dizzy, but I liked the idea of the tomorrow-land ride… until I saw people stepping onto the ride and then magically being reduced to miniature people. Being 8 and quite impressionable I had no idea that what I was seeing was a model, not the ride itself.

I began to scream, stamp my feet and declare that there was NO WAY I was going on that ride. I clambered out of my seat leaving the rest of the family to go ahead without me. I was petrified! What would become of my family? Would they survive the shrinking procedure? Would they come out the same as they went in?

Rachel Zinman Yoga for diabetes blog

Luckily they greeted me with smiles on the other end, but I’ll never forget the feeling of helplessness and despair.

Thinking about my 8 year old self reminds me of how I feel about things I don’t understand and can’t control. Yep I’m a control freak.

Now along comes Diabetes.

Something A: I can’t understand

And B: I can’t control.

Being an adult I can’t kick, scream, cry and jump off the ride. Instead I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I’m not special, that just like everyone else things happen, the body is problematic.  And the only thing I can do is get out of my own way.

To sum it up; let my hair down, go with the flow, get a hold of my control freak and trust the process, trust that there’s a world full of people just like me who are dealing each and everyday with the ups and downs. Trust that I have what it takes to go the distance.

And just like my parents appeared whole and happy at the end of the ride so will I!

with great respect…. Rachel

On a personal note

I’ve just signed up for Diabetes Blog Week with the intention to write for the next seven days to a specific topic. Todays topic is deeply personal… What are the things I wouldn’t share about myself with regards to my illness…

As I discover more and more about the diabetes online community and all the support that’s out there I feel incredibly lucky. For the first 6 years after my diagnosis I felt completely isolated. The only other person I knew with diabetes was a friends son who’d had it since he was 8. He was already on Insulin while I was still managing with diet so we couldn’t really compare notes. To say I was roaming around in the dark would be an understatement. To top it off my job required constant travel, meeting new people and appearing the model of perfect health.

Yoga Teachers don’t get sick!

I’ll never forget a time, when I was teaching in Kyoto, where our host had organised us a hotel room instead of an apartment. I’d agreed to it thinking I could find something to eat even if it was just a salad and boiled eggs with an avocado from a local supermarket. What I hadn’t factored in, was a frustrated hungry husband and son who wanted more than just take away. An argument ensued which left me a quivering mess with soaring BG levels. Somehow I managed to placate the situation, feed myself and head out the door in time to teach my class.

I remember smiling through clenched teeth for most of the yoga class reflecting on all the moments, as a dancer, where I had to go on stage and smile when it was the last thing I felt like doing.

Diabetes Blog week Rachel Zinman

The beauty of being  dancer is that you use your body as the instrument of your heart. You don’t need to say anything. But society and life requires the word. So is it possible to keep my thoughts and feelings about Diabetes on the QT?

Not really…. because I am a share-a-holic

Perhaps the only thing I wouldn’t readily divulge is the minutia of thoughts that parade their way through my mind.

Luckily my meditation practice takes care of that!

with great respect…. Rachel