A Letter to My Insulin Pump Trainer

As you know, I have been doing a lot of writing and research about my own relationship to Type 1 Diabetes.  I have studied and practiced yoga and meditation in an attempt to find a metaphor for the balancing act we must engage in 24/7.  I have explored alternative “body work” like acupuncturecranial sacral therapyChinese herbs, supplements, and other modalities.  The results I have realized especially over the last 3 years have been significant and profound.  My A1C results have been all under 7.0 and when I am really on it I am below 6.5.  Beyond the numbers I have achieved a paradigm shift in my degree of certainty I am able to apply to my life.
I know that my purpose is to help others with the disease and those affected by it which is everybody.  When I went on the pump and you trained me I was ready.  I had 28 years under my belt and I had already been on track to gain better control (balance) over things.
Here are my initial thoughts……..

As a trainer I have learned a few things:

You can basically train 3 things.  You can impart knowledge.  You can introduce and develop skills.  And you can impart and enhance the thought context or attitude which maximizes the ability to “get the job done.”  Most training is focused on knowledge and skill development.  Current diabetes and pump education training is as well.  Most trainings deal with the different attitudes of the trainees as best as can be dealt with and then there is hope that the knowledge and skills stick.  In the development of my training protocols I have made the assumption that attitude is at least 80% of the battle.  I have therefore ingrained throughout the training process tasks and exercises that challenge current attitudes and mold desirable ones.  One of the most important things I have learned in my 32 years in dealing with this disease is that my attitude is the most critical component.  The challenge lies in theAcceptance of the situation at hand.  And it is a persistent and sometimes insidious situation that Type 1 Diabetes presents.  Therefore, I have thought about and written about the optimal attitude for training for this disease.  For example, going on the insulin pump is a change in the insulin delivery function of a system that includes many other functions.  Perhaps going on the Animas pump is an opportunity to present a training that is a whole system training.  It is really the only way it will work for most people, I believe.  Some will get it.  You are probably getting the most motivated diabetics with the best adjusted attitudes.

Acquiring Diabetes at the age of 14 vectored in a lot of fears, insecurities, worry, adjustment, relationship and social challenges.  All of these things combined with the constant presence of the disease and its ups and downs naturally has an affect on the way one thinks about things and does things.  Over the past 7 years and especially the last three I have gone inward to push against the negative and find the positive.  I have realized a level of acceptance that I never thought I could achieve.  And that has yielded a higher level of responsibility – The ability to respond to the task at hand.  We, as type 1 diabetics are always walking on a high wire, trying to stay in a range.  We will fall out of the range often.  The pump is one of the best tools in assisting us in our balancing act.  But it is only one tool.  Persistence, Patience, Faith, Courage, Restriction, Compassion make up a few of the foundational pillars of being able to stay up on the wire
and perhaps, more importantly, being able to get back up when falling off.  These attributes can be ingrained throughout the Animas training program to both their clients and extending out to their caregivers.  These are the ingredients that make up the optimal attitude for a type 1 diabetic.  It is a bold approach but when one considers the present state of diabetes education and training it is a badly needed approach that, in my opinion, will increase sales dramatically.  And when you increase sales you are going to be lowering the A1C of the Type 1 Diabetic population, reducing complications, easing the worry and concern of parents, siblings and friends, and enhancing the performance of primary care physicians and endocronologists.  That is a noble mission with very cool results.

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