I really the like the honesty about this blog post. A mom of 2 daughters who is coping with type 1 diabetes. Great read if you have some time, read it, it's interesting and something we should all think about.
Article Via: CrazySexyLife
I am a vegan mom to two daughters (aged 1 and 3). In addition I am self-employed as a therapist. I have another identity that is invisible to many people: I am a Type 1 diabetic with a couple of other autoimmune problems thrown into the mix. In the 11 years I have been diabetic, I have learned not to fight this disease but to live more peacefully with it.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which your body turns against itself and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells on your pancreas. It is often confused with the more common Type 2 diabetes, which can be managed with diet, exercise, or oral medications. Type 1 (previously known as juvenile diabetes) usually strikes children or young adults who seem otherwise healthy. Without synthetic insulin injected into the body, Type 1 diabetes would be a terminal disease.
I was diagnosed when I was about to turn 25. I was in the middle of graduate school and when I look back, I had been running on adrenaline for some time. The previous year I had been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease, which is an autoimmune problem with the thyroid gland. It never occurred to me that my body was warning me to slow down. I continued to take care of others and to juggle school, work and social commitments. I felt tired all the time, and sometimes would get weak and shaky. I was hungry and thirsty, no matter how much I ate or drank. And still I pushed myself to accomplish more. When I felt exhausted I thought I was being lazy. Finally, I ended up at the emergency room. My sugar was too high to register a reading on a glucometer. I was told they had never seen a sugar so high outside of someone in a coma and I was put on an insulin drip right away. I remember asking a resident the question that I had been pushing out of my mind for months: Am I a diabetic? Of course, the answer was obvious, but for a few weeks I honestly believed it would all turn out to be a mistake.
It surprised me what a juggling act diabetes management was. I spent my first year trying to be the perfect diabetic and I struggled with feelings of guilt and shame. I was convinced that somehow this was my fault and now I could never fix it. My days were filled with insulin injections and sugar checks… suffering from blood sugar lows that left me guzzling juice, shaking, sweating and confused or highs that made me dehydrated and fuzzy-headed. I could never take a day off from diabetes without substantial risk to my safety and well-being.
It became difficult to maintain the people-pleasing life I had lived for so long. I started to realize this was a problem at the first anniversary of my diagnosis, but it took me much longer to actually change my behavior. So my body kept saying NO. No, I will not let you destroy me. No, you deserve better than this. Since the first few diagnoses didn’t slow me down, my body sent out more signals. My digestive system began to crumble. The specialists stuck tubes down my throat and scanned me but had no answers. So I gave up on them and it took me another four years of feeling sick and fatigued before I discovered my path to health.
To heal I had to take responsibility for the fact that my health problems were my responsibility. I had to face up to the fears I buried deep down that something I did caused me, in the prime of my life, to develop all this disease. When I fell in love with my husband (6 years ago) he was able to help me see how little I nurtured myself. He made me feel happy and helped me to slow down. My body recognized its window of opportunity and increased my digestive distress, finally sending me to a naturopath. I discovered the food allergies related to my leaky gut (destroyed by stress and lack of nutrition) and quickly devoted myself to adopting an allergen free diet. During my twenties I did not take time to prepare the vegetables and fruit I had always eaten growing up. I consumed way more wheat and dairy than I had in my parents’ home. Now, with my body failing, I needed to spend more time on me.
When I discovered a wonderful raw food restaurant during my first pregnancy four years ago, I began to realize the importance of adding in even more plant-based foods (versus just cutting out the food I couldn’t tolerate), and had an ah-ha moment: food itself is truly medicine! Two years ago my husband and I started making green smoothies every morning and then craved plant-based foods all day. Last spring, I decided I did not enjoy meat anymore, and thought I may as well cut it out altogether for a trial period. The ACT cleanse was starting here on CSL and I decided to follow along. Everyone’s tips and ideas were so helpful. I started using the juicer that had been sitting in my cupboard, did a little dry brushing, got back to hot yoga, and shook the last few gastrointestinal symptoms I had! I completed my transition to veganism.
There is nothing more empowering than taking control of your health. I may still need my insulin pump and thyroid medication but I believe I have halted the autoimmune cyclone hitting my body and I will continue to eat a plant-based, vegan and gluten-free diet for the rest of my life! I know these changes could help many people… in fact, my husband’s asthma of 25 years vastly improved from eating a less rigid version of my diet at home. I hope someone reading this is helped a little on their own path to good health.
Michelle Sorensen is a clinical psychological associate in Ottawa, Ontario. She practices cognitive behavioral therapy, teaching her patients to change the way they feel physically and emotionally by changing the way they think.