The Five Phases
A Map of The Territory
An Approach to Mastery and Transcendence of Diabetes
I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) in November of 1976 at the age of 14. T1D is one of the most misunderstood physical conditions. I believe it is misunderstood because, in a normal body, the affected systems are in perpetual motion without conscious thought. Furthermore, it is complicated. There are some fundamental components to the system which was destroyed through a roque immune system response. The fundamental components include food, insulin, physical activity, blood glucose levels, injections, finger pricks, water….But there are other factors that have influence on this system of insulin production and use. Factors like stress, sickness, depression, infusion site issues, finances, complications, being different, performance issues…..It effects every other system of the body because all of the systems seem to be integrated.
Over the 42 years that I have had to manually inject insulin while keeping my blood sugar levels in a “safe” range in order to physically survive, I have become somewhat of a “systems inquirer.” There are infinite systems throughout the universe and within the physical body. There are many ways to describe a system. A description is a map. A map of the territory. As T1D’s the doctor or the CDE will be talking and it will sound like blah, blah, blah, sometimes because it is such a rudimentary map they are presenting and we have heard it before. We know that there is no way they could possibly understand. My mother and my brother and a few close friends are the closest to understanding but they stop short when they become aware of how horrible it really is. Few people understand the feeling of blood sugar swings like we do. All of them have needed a snickers bar because they got irritated. A few have passed out because they are hypoglycemic. But none of them know what it feels like day in and day out with the sword of Damocles hanging over us in the form of potential “complications”.
There is no one way to describe a map. I have found it beneficial to look at several maps of the same or similar territories in order cultivate a deeper understanding of the territory. And since joining this site I have been inspired to chip through my 2 year long writer’s block and get it done. I have written for several years and posted a lot of it in my blog and website. I believe the link is in my profile. A few years back I wrote a blog series called “Transforming Diabetes.” It’s a 9 blog series where I am attempting to describe the system of managing bg’s as a T1D and integrate some yoga system principles throughout. Two years ago I wrote a blog series called “The Yellow Brick Road.” Both blog series are on the tab portion. Now I am starting to write the “Five Phases.” I am excited about getting this done because it is really the culmination of 25 years of work.
The Five Phases will be a description (a map) of living with diabetes in this world (the territory). I will be presenting multiple perspectives of systems. Buckminster Fuller was one of this most prolific thinkers and inventors of the 20th Century. He was the ultimate systems guy. He said in a long essay where he was re-thinking the Lord’s Prayer and the Creation of the Universe:
“Total Accountability and Total Feedback
Constitute the minimum and only
Perpetual Motion System.”
The System we must put in place, monitor, manage, carry around and live with is no different.