I have a dream.
I’m in my 43rd year of living with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D).
My new endo told me that I will get some kind of medal from the Joslin Institute when I reach 50. Really. Who cares? They get a chip after 30 days in AA, NA, GA and SA.
17 years ago I made a “push”. I was 39 yrs old, broke, in debt up the wazoo, out of shape, not taking care of myself…..I figured if I did not make a change I wouldn’t make it to 42. Over a 2 year period I started inquiring into several “things”, like…… writing, reading, yoga, meditation, running, acupuncture, massage, eating well, cranial sacral therapy, and more. It was slow at first. Then stuff began happening. I got a job, I was getting in shape, feeling better about myself. Life changed. I got out of debt, started making good money, got in shape, blood sugars starting coming down/better control, I was happier.
During this time I had a three month period of time where I took off from work and really connected with my current “edge” and began to “push” against it. I reduced insulin requirement up to 50%, at times. I mean long period of times (week or so). Since that time the roller coaster reached the top and started its’ descent. What goes up is going to come down. It’s a long story and I will spare the details, for now. It can be summed up as this. I went from A1C’s in the 9’s, broke, in debt, depressed, feeling hopeless and helpless, not working out, addicted to things I need not be addicted to…..I went from this to In top physical shape; I could run 5 miles under 50 minutes. I could do 2 Bikram yoga classes in one day. My weight was ideal. I felt strong. I made enough money to buy a cool condo in Boca Raton, Fl within walking distance of my Bikram Yoga Studio. It was a 5 minute drive to the beach. I had a lot of free time. Things were good.
I got on the pump and I changed my attitude about testing my blood sugars. I wanted to know. I tested 10-15 times a day and loved the flexibility of the pump. With the combination of getting in super physical shape and having the pump, I got my A1C’s in the low 6’s. I ate anything I wanted. I wanted to eat good.
I have often compared managing blood sugar as a type 1 to flying a plane. The physical plane itself is the physical body. I had transformed my physical body into a stealth fighter jet. It wanted. It needed good fuel in the food I was eating. I needed to inject insulin but the insulin seemed to be working better. I needed less. I was personally experiencing one of the most profound yoga principles; “LESS IS MORE.” I was getting this at so many levels.
My dream is to share this experience with others who are challenged by type 1 diabetes. Whether that be the person with diabetes, a parent, a sibling, a friend, a healthcare worker (that includes you doctors). They sometimes think they are special and in a group of their own. My father was a doctor and I have met a lot of them…so I know.
This is how I want to share it. I want to “host” an intensive retreat like program where I demonstrate and guide others into an inquiry of what I did, how to do it and why. Not like a boot camp or simply an educational experience. It is an immersive training which will be based on the principles of yoga and Natural Law Principles. I have a support “team” in place right now. It includes a CDE, an acupuncturist and cranial sacral therapist, a Bio-feedback specialist, a massage therapist, a life coach and a few yoga teachers incluing one who is a Bikram Certified Teacher.
Each day will consist of:
*2 yoga classes/day
*1-2 hours classroom meeting discussing many topics including yoga principles and applying to diabetes management, spiritual metaphysical “map” inquiries.
*Great Food. Will, of course, accommodate for vegetarian.
*Some form of body/mind work. Could be acupuncture, light therapy, massage, cranial sacral therapy, bio-feedback, life coaching….and a few more.
*There will also be a few opportunities to do a few other things like go to the beach or an excursion to Captiva or Sanibel Island.
I visualize the retreat being in South Florida around the Fort Myers area. I want it to happen in November of 2019. I want to keep this initial one small (8-12 participants). And my dream doesn’t end there……..
In a way, this is my new five year plan. I’m turning 57 in 2 weeks. Still here. No complications (knock on wood). I think that what I did 17 years ago is a huge factor in why I am still here. I’ve come to realize that it is best done in “spurts.” Interval like. And an intensive retreat where we are focusing on where our edge is and working on expanding can be a profound “spurt.” It’s kinda of like intuitevely knowing to do a combo bolus. The body wants to receive it in spurts some short and some a bit longer.
I want the initial retreat participants to be those who want to not only personally experience pushing their edge but also have a desire to help others with our condition. T1D is like a yoga pose. It is like walking on a high wire. And it is like flying a plane. So, my dream is that from this initial retreat we plan a second one and then some will qualify to lead their own retreat.
I have so much more I want to say and if you are interested in it let me know or visit the link to my blog site where I have been writing about all of this for the last 10 years.
I will write a future post called My Dream 2. Where I can expand on some of this. It’s awesome for me as well because I am creating something which provides me an opportunity to do this work more and more. I have done it with others but not people with diabetes. I have worked with a few people who were depressed and addicted. There is a close parallel to these conditions and diabetes. A few of these people wrote client reviews and I posted them in my blog section as well under Client Reviews.