Category Archives: Transforming Diabetes

transforming diabetes

Diabetes is an epidemic in our society.

There are 28 million Americans dealing with the dis-ease.

5% of these cases is Type 1 diabetes which is an immune deficiency disease brought on by a malfunction in the immune system from a virus or outside agent of some kind.

Type 1 requires injected insulin to survive.

It requires 24/7 monitoring.

However, there are no guarantees.

It is a very difficult situation and it requires tremendous resources to deal with.

Most diagnosed with Type 1 are children or adolescents.

Diabetes is a condition that arises in a person’s life which can create great pain and sorrow not only for the person afflicted but also for family, friends and co-workers.

There are the syringes, alcohol swabs, finger pricks, infusion sets, pumps, blood tests, doctor visits and a restricted diet.

Being outside of normal blood sugar range does not feel good.

Being above normal (high) is stressful and wears on the body.

Below normal blood sugar (low) is confusing and frightening.

Add to that the possible complications associated with the condition like kidney disease, blindness, neuropathy and death and you have an extremely challenging situation with this condition.

In my experience, one of the misconceptions about diabetes is that it is simply a physical condition that can be treated medically.  This approach did not work for me.

The foundation of my approach is based on my experience of over 40 years living with the condition combined with a holistic, systemized process.

It effects the whole system of a person;  physiology, psychology, relationships, career, emotions and will.

Simply addressing the physical is not enough if you want to truly manage diabetes.

I have lived through just about every experience that a person with Type 1 diabetes can have.

Living with diabetes, like living life, is really about starting over every day.

I am now 55 years old and in good health.

I have no complications.

While at my last visit to the eye doctor he said…”Michael, keep doing what you are doing because your eyes are perfect.  I have never seen anyone with diabetes as long as you have had it without some changes in the retina.”

My A1C results have been below 7.0 for the past 10 years.

This has been done with eating anything I have wanted to eat.

Insulin, pills, pumps, syringes, blood tests, doctors and diet are all important components of diabetes management.

However, my experience informs me that the most important resource will be your personal connection and union with body-mind and spirit.

Balance reveals peace and joy.

This is not a quick fix and it is not the same for everyone.

It takes commitment and perseverance.

A few years after I was diagnosed I wrote an essay called…

“Walking the High Wire.”

‘I’m risking my life on the high wire, and they’re complaining!’

That is how I saw “my” diabetes then.

Felt like I was sent to the circus to perform this high wire act.

It was downright impossible to stay on that wire.

I was falling off all the time.

There are gusts of wind in the form of injection/infusion site issues, stress, hormones and the common cold.

Most of my time and effort was spent trying to get back up on the wire.

A fall to the right meant high blood sugar and being tired and run down.

A fall to the left was a low blood sugar episode that often resulted in a boomerang type effect that sent blood sugar soaring way up.

When I did find myself actually on the wire (in normal blood sugar range), it was often by accident and I was probably just passing by on my way to one side or the other.

It felt like a rollercoaster and I was damned if do and damned if I don’t.

Pretty much the definition of Helplessness.

Is it hopeless as well?

What was I to do?

Thank God for my support system back then.

Thank you Mom, Dad, my siblings, friends, coaches and teachers who looked out for me.

Without them I would not be here.

When short acting insulin was invented, I started taking Lantus once a day and several shots of humalog to cover meals.

I felt like I moved from the high wire to the balance beam.

I could stay in normal range for longer periods of time and the falls were not as drastic.

I had an easier time getting back up on the beam than I did getting on that thin high wire.

Still, the level of difficulty was high.

I spent most of my time on the floor getting back up.

About 15 years ago I got really good at it.

  1.  I made a decision that I had to take 100% responsibility for my situation.
  2. I had to stop playing the victim and take full ownership for my path.
  3. I re-discovered the athlete in me. I started to work out hard. I ran, walked, lifted weights and started to take yoga classes.

It was the balancing influence of yoga that awakened me to the metaphor of flying a plane.

Ten years ago I made the decision to go on the insulin pump.

Simply put, the insulin pump is the best way to deliver insulin for a person with type 1 diabetes.

I would qualify this statement by saying that it requires a commitment to “Fly the Plane.”

It is a condition that affects every facet of a person’s life and taking a shot or a pill is not enough to get the job done.

You can fly the plane if you are on Lantus and humalog injections.

It is just not going to be as well equipped as it would be with the insulin pump.

This is probably the best time to mention Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGM’s) (I have one and I have used it.)

Theoretically, it provides a more advanced altimeter for our plane. It provides a blood glucose reading every five minutes.

Personally, there are a few reasons I don’t use it.

It requires another “port site.”

My body does not like this.

The port is not stable enough for me.

I workout a lot and I sweat. The port came off often.

I have had some bad readings from them. It is too cumbersome for me.  More information would be valuable but I will wait until they can figure out how to make it less intrusive.

Learning to Fly the Plane is a five step training.

It mirrors a process I learned 25 years ago and have used in my career as a Corporate Trainer and Systems and Procedures Designer.

I have learned a few things as a trainer that are important to go over at the outset.

First, there are basically three areas which can be addressed in training:

  • Knowledge. Information can be imparted and retained. You will certainly gain a lot of experiential information here that a doctor or healthcare professional does not have.
  • Skills. I will be covering some skills that are essential to managing and living with diabetes.
  • Attitude. Perhaps the most important area of all three. Attitude is our thought context. I have experienced many attitudes toward having diabetes. I will discuss many of them and point to a few that have been more optimal than others.

This process is not linear, it is cyclical.

Every day presents a new challenge and situation.

It is important to keep the cup half full.

Stay in the attitude of inquiry as you travel through the steps.

“People are like fruit.  When they are green they grow, when they are ripe they rot.”

Stay green.

Step One:    Confront

  • Confronting the reality of the situation
  • “Showing up on the mat”
  • Breathing
  • Building a foundation from the ground up
  • Being in the present moment
  • Introduction to Flying the Plane Analogy

Step 2:  Understand

  • Everything is moving.
  • Learning to move with it
  • The Detective Attitude
  • Making modifications and adjustments

 Step 3: Integrate

  • Putting it all together
  • Systems and Procedures
  • Integrating food and the workout.

Step 4: Master

  • Exploring Your Edge
  • Advanced Techniques
  • Getting Better Every day
  • Discovering the athlete in you

Step 5: Manifest

  • Validate Results
  • Recognizing Accomplishments
  • Growth
  • Transformation
  • Healing

Seven years ago I wrote a series of blogs in an attempt to share my approach to living with and managing diabetes.   Here are the links to The Transforming Diabetes Series:  

Click on light green links to access posts.



The Journey Begins

The Problem

Breaking It Down

The Integrated System

The Heart Of The Matter

The Reward

The Art Of Living





We have a location in upstate NY on the east bank of Cayuga Lake that is a perfect setting for a small group ( four to eight participants) retreat/intensive.




Beautiful accommodations with yoga/fitness room right on the lake.

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You design your own retreat.


There is nothing more effective than a few days to apply focused concentration.



If you are a group you can come for a few days of rest and relaxation with yoga, meditation, good food, golf, finger lakes wine tours, gorge hikes.


4 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, wrap around deck, fitness/yoga room, huge deck, paddle boards, access to boat rides……..and a lot more.

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Set your own itinerary.

If you want us to collaborate with you we can talk about integrating one or all of the following:

  • My take on of yoga as a healing tool for my diabetes.
  • Introduction to Vipassana Meditation
  • Introduction to Kabbalah
  • Introduction to Spiral Dynamics (Map of human cognitive development)
  • Introduction to Integral Theory (Ken Wilber)
  • Shadow Work
  • Acupuncture
  • Cranio-Sacral Therapy
  • Massage
  • Chines Herbs
  • Supplements
  • Diet Counseling
  • Bio-Feedback
  • Laser Therapy
  • Light Therapy
  • Crystal Therapy
  • Chakra Balancing

As far as food….many options all tailored to your desires.


Let’s Do This.



Post #9: Transforming Diabetes/The Art of Living

If you are this far along the path of Transforming Diabetes and have really done the work then you may have had a shift in perspective.





Diabetes is difficult.

Life is difficult.

Most everyone has something they are struggling with.

I am sure that the experience of diabetes is a bit different for everyone.

Those who are diagnosed as an infant grow up knowing no other way. Children diagnosed before age 12 will experience it differently than those diagnosed in their teens.  A diagnosed as an adult means more advanced coping mechanisms in place, perhaps.

We all have a path.

We all have a mountain to climb

There are different developmental stages with different perspectives, capacity and life experience.





We all have our cross to bear.

Continue reading Post #9: Transforming Diabetes/The Art of Living

Post #8: Transforming Diabetes/The Reward

You have been now been introduced to 4 of the 5 steps in a systematic developmental process with strong influence of yoga guided by a guy who has 40 years of experience living with Type 1 Diabetes.

First, we confronted the situation head on and determined our objectives.  




Second, we identified and started to understand the component parts of the system that we need to account for and the feedback we desire and require.

Third, we created an integrated system.

This system seeks to mimic, as best as possible, the system fatally damaged due to a diagnosis of diabetes.

The first three steps create the foundation.

The fourth step is the experience of illumination and mastery.  The Chakra associated with this step is accessed and begins to illuminate when we have done our work in the first three.  

We now have more clarity

We have shifted our perspective and have transcended what we have been immersed in.

We have become more accountable and more response-able.

There is one step in the process yet to discuss.

Continue reading Post #8: Transforming Diabetes/The Reward

Post #7: Transforming Diabetes/The Heart of the Matter

The chakras are energy centers that ascend vertically up the body.  There are anywhere between 7-10  sometimes more depending on what or who you read, talk with or listen to. 

The first chakra is called the base or root chakra and is located behind the pelvic bone.

It represents our grounding and is the energy center. 



The second chakra is located approximately 1 inch below the naval and concerns our emotions, sexuality and desires.

It controls our relationships and interactions with people and things. 



The third chakra is located just below the breast bone in the solar plexus.

It is the root of our emotional balance, personal power and metabolic energy. 



The first three steps of Transforming Diabetes mirrors the energy in the first three Chakras.

1. Goals/Objective/Seed Level  ******Root

2. Functions/Component Parts ******Relationships/Desires

3. Integrated System ****** Balance/Power/Energy

The intent in yoga is to open these energy centers and create alignment amongst them.

It is only when you open and align the lower three chakras that the energy moves to the fourth.

Most human beings have their energy stuck somewhere within the lower three chakra areas. Continue reading Post #7: Transforming Diabetes/The Heart of the Matter