Healing Benefits of Yoga for Type 1 Diabetes: My JDRF Presentation

Those of you that have been following my blog a while know I love yoga!! Although I’ve written a handful of articles as well as posts on Diabetes Light’s Facebook page about aspects of my current practice, I have never shared the story of how my practice began or gone into detail about some of yoga’s amazing health benefits.

I was recently asked by the JDRF MinnDakotas office to be on a panel with a T1 cyclist and T1 marathon runner at an Adults with Type 1 meeting (AWT1) and share about my experience with yoga and Type 1 diabetes. An incredible Type 1, Sarah Hankel, who works as a personal trainer and is an endurance athlete shared first as the main presenter.

**This is a collage of the four presenters made by the marathon runner in the lower right hand corner, Doug. Also pictured, Sarah, upper right, personal trainer and endurance athlete. And Christine, upper left, a cyclist who rides in the JDRF fundraising ride annually.

**This is a collage of the four presenters made by the marathon runner in the lower right hand corner, Doug. Also pictured, Sarah, upper right, personal trainer and endurance athlete. And Christine, upper left, a cyclist who participates in the JDRF fundraising ride annually.

I was absolutely thrilled being given this opportunity! After all, I have experienced profound healing of mind, body and spirit since adding yoga to my life and was excited to share this life-changing information with other Type 1′s.

photo (65)I seriously could have talked over an hour about yoga — so much good stuff to share!! Especially considering yoga, developed in India, has been around over 5,000 years!! (isn’t that incredible??). Since giving this presentation I have thought about so many more things I wish could have been included. Yet, we can only do so much with a small window of time to share our story!

A special thanks to a few Diabetes Light community members that made the request to see a video of my presentation — this prompted me to ask my husband Jaim to come to the meeting and record me on my iPhone! A big thanks also to Invisible Bee Yoga in South Minneapolis (my very favorite yoga studio!) for generously donating a free class coupon and schedule for all of the T1 meeting attendees. One more thanks to Jaim for taking a few pictures and recording my presentation! And lastly, thank you JDRF MinnDakotas for asking me to share my yoga story and knowledge with the local Type 1 community and for believing in the value and benefit of promoting holistic health. Yoga has been life-changing for me in my life with Type 1 diabetes.

**And please keep in mind, although I have been a reader/lector at church for quite a few years since college, I am not an extremely experienced public speaker yet about diabetes and related holistic topics. This just gives me inspiration to improve! Although there are some ways I can grow in my presentation skills, I am super passionate about the subject matter and have received many healing benefits from my yoga practice — both in studio and at home.

Thanks for watching!! I hope not only that you might learn something new but if you have not yet tried yoga, may feel inspired to add this healing practice to your life. I also hope this video helps you feel like you get to know me a little bit better. I am not always sure how I come across in my writing and in my daily Diabetes Light Facebook posts, but I do love to joke around a lot and make those around me laugh. I can also be quite serious and love to educate others… :)

Without further ado, here is the YouTube video of my presentation that was given to an audience of about 27 awesome T1 peeps at the JDRF Adults with Type 1 (AWT1) meeting last week. Note: There was Q & A (question & answer) at the end — the actual yoga presentation is not the full length of this video.

Here is a link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6B2AODDc88&feature=youtu.be


In Peace & Light,

Cynthia

The Healing Power of Tears

A Theology professor in college shared once in class about how healing it is to cry. It has been helpful all these years as the tears fall from my eyes with grief or upset to remember they are good for me and nothing to hold back or be ashamed of. I had unexpected tears fall from my eyes this morning after making a phone call. As the person answered I needed to speak to, all I could do was cry as I tried to get the words out that I needed to say.

I was reminded just now about the healing nature of tears when I saw this beautiful Facebook post with reflection by Jeff Brown: “When we release our emotional holdings, the path clarifies. This is why the suggestion that our emotions are an illusion does not serve us. When we pretend they aren’t there, they just turn inward against us- congealing into walking time bombs- and they block our lens. The more we honor our feelings by expressing them, the more space we have inside for clarity to emerge.” (*Image created by http://www.facebook.com/TheRoadtome)

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So, please remember the next time tears start welling up in the corners of your eyes — there could be nothing healthier for your soul, heart and spirit than for you to release them. Let them fall, one by one. Whether it becomes a brief release or many emotions all at once deciding they want to come out. Release the healthy expression of tears and experience the healing that comes when you do. Blessings to you on your path and always remember that tears are a good friend on our healing journey. Blessings.

ps. If you saw the quote I wrote earlier today and shared on Diabetes Light’s Facebook page, this is related to the same situation. And I did feel much better after I cried.

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In Peace & Light,

Cynthia

A Diet Exemption Card: Why You Need One!

For as long as I can remember and especially the last 6 years living with multiple food intolerances, I bring food with me wherever I go. It can be anything from a full balanced meal to one snack or two (or more!) if it’s a long day away from home. I take my health seriously and do not chance getting hungry or low while away from home. It is not easy to find food that is free of gluten, corn, nuts, refined sugar and dairy in a pinch.

A number of years ago a family physician that worked at my previous endocrinology clinic let me know about a diet exemption card — it allows someone with diabetes to safely bring food with them wherever they go (no restrictions), including the Twins baseball games my husband loves so much! Seldom do I have to pull it out, but tattered and torn and expired since 12/2/09*, it has come in handy a few times to let authorities know there are several important medical reasons I need my healthy food and not the crap sold at concession stands! Of course, if you are enjoying a treat at an event, no judgment at all! I would be partaking once in a while too in nachos, popcorn, ice cream or chicken strips if I could!

*Why do these expire anyway? Makes no sense!

*Why do these expire anyway? Makes no sense!

Another T1 (Thanks Thea!) shared an article this morning of a Type 2 in New York that was escorted out of a movie theater for eating strawberries (link below). Ridiculous! After a google search, I was able to find a new diet exemption card that I was able to print myself (yes, I’ll have to admit, it was an exciting moment for me… lol) – that I’ll have my endocrinologist sign at my next visit. Although this is for the state of Minnesota, I am sharing it here with you to possibly use (I have never had anyone read the fine print on the back of the card) or as an idea to check into if your state may offer this handy and necessary tool to ensure our health and safety as individuals with diabetes and/or food sensitivities/Celiac, etc. I recommend doing a Google search and entering in your state + diet exemption card to see if one is available for your state to guarantee the efficacy of the card for you.

Does anyone else carry one? Have you heard of a diet exemption card before? It means business! Lol. :)

 

In Peace, Light & Health,

Cynthia

Carrots and Raisins: A Lesson in Empathy

Miss KToo cute. A Mom of a T1 contacted me (due to my food intolerances) to ask what would be a good gluten and nut free pre-packaged snack to bring for treat day at her daughter’s school. As I have made a conscious choice to cut way back on processed food, I was at a loss of what to suggest that wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. I assumed that the gluten and nut free treats were for her 12 year old Type 1 daughter — I was informed otherwise. Her daughter is just fine but there are two other kids in class – one who cannot eat gluten and another who cannot eat nuts. This sweet T1 girl said, “The other kids bring in things like cupcakes for all, and the girl who is on a gluten free diet doesn’t get anything…” Not wanting for any child to feel left out, she worked with her mom to find a safe snack that everyone could enjoy. Eventually deciding on individual bags of carrots and little boxes of raisins for each child. Perfect!

I was just so touched by her heart. Diabetes is really a challenging and at times unbearable condition that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. But… this is a perfect example of how diabetes can change even the littlest of souls. And help us be better people — kinder and more considerate of others and their needs because of the pain and struggles we’ve endured. I wanted to share this touching story with you to remind you that there is beauty in the struggles. Love despite the pain.

Bless this young T1′s heart and all the little T1′s out there who are learning what the true meaning of empathy is and are truly wise beyond their years. 

*Thank you to the mother who graciously allowed me to share her story and provided me with this sweet picture.

**Story originally published on the Facebook page for Diabetes Light.

In Peace, Light & Health,

Cynthia

How to Stay Warm in a Polar Vortex.. Lessons From a Pup Named Jonah!

Jonah was born in Kentucky so is more of a Southern boy. In January 2013 he gave some ideas of how to survive cold snaps. He’s back around this January with a few more tips of how to stay warm when you live in a chilly Northern state like Minnesota where the weather gets frightfully cold.. (-11 reg. temp & -35 below windchill right now*!). This is the coldest winter we can remember! *Written on Monday 1/27/14.
1) Find any patch of sunlight streaming through a window and just bask. Close your eyes, feel the warmth. Let it brighten your spirit!

IMG_78862) Look really cute and slightly cold while relaxing on your dog bed. If you are successful, your human will have empathy for you and cover you with a blanket. This will keep you warm and toasty. Enjoy.

IMG_78803) Find your favorite toys and play! You may not be able to play outdoors when it gets this chilly but indoors is a very suitable next-best-thing replacement. By expending energy in movement, you naturally stay warm and keep your blood sugars in check!

IMG_78894) Give ‘em the best puppy eyes you’ve got (hoping it will work just like last time…) and politely ask to sit on their lap!  If you look adorable enough in your attempt, they will give in! Warm laps are the absolute best! And they make you forgot about the cold weather conditions outside… at least for a bit! :)

IMG_7894We hope these tips helped! Much love and many warm and snuggly greetings and high fives from Jonah… the Minnesota rescue pup teaching you to always rescue a dog vs. buy from a breeder or pet shop. Rescues are extremely lovable and will fill your home with immense amounts of joy and laughter (as you can see from the photos shared – my little comedian!).

One more thing.. If all else fails, wait out the cold weather patiently. The next day that’s a little warmer is sure to come soon!

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In Peace & Light,

Cynthia and… Jonah! :)

Happy 2 years to Diabetes Light!!

photo-76Today is a very special day!! Diabetes Light celebrates 2 years! In blog terms this is officially called a blogaversary or blogiversary. But I’m about as big on that term as I am “diaversary” (living with diabetes anniversary) so I’ll just leave it that I’m celebrating my 2 year blog anniversary!

On December 9, 2011 the Facebook page for Diabetes Light was created. Then 7 days later on December 16, 2011 I wrote my first blog post about the benefits of coconut oil. Although I had wanted to start a blog for a long time, to start Diabetes Light right before finals was truly a distraction from my studies. I was enrolled in a nursing program at the time and procrastinating.. Since then I have left the program but Diabetes Light carries on!!

One of the greatest joys of blogging for me is the wonderful Diabetes Light community that has formed on Facebook. Each day I share a quote, things that make me laugh, smile or bring me health. Sometimes just what is on my mind or perhaps something I’m wrestling with. My greatest joy is getting to hear from you and what you are thinking about and experiencing.

We now have 832 members in our Facebook community which is about double the amount we had at this time last year for the one year blog anniversary! I am so pleased our community is growing and look forward to our continued growth in the next year!

My mission remains the same as when I started two years ago. I certainly don’t have things figured out as far as this crazy life with D, but I love sharing about my journey with others in a quest to live well—happy, healthy and with peace regardless of my diagnoses.

The added benefit? This diagnosis has allowed me to meet all of you! This is so incredible to me and one of the definite blessings living with diabetes.

Thank YOU!!!

Mostly I am writing this post today to thank you for joining me on the adventures of this D girl with her dog Jonah. :) Thank you for every like, share, comment and message. They truly mean so much to me and let me know you like the work I am doing through Diabetes Light and I should continue! Yay!

And thank you for reading. I write to help others and spend a lot of time and energy on each article I write so truly appreciate your readership. Your love and support of what I do is fundamental to my success.

This next part may sound super sappy and I truly apologize if it does… But I want you to know you are never alone. I may not have time for as many close friendships as I’d like, but I care about each one of you. And before I go to bed each night and in church each Sunday I say a prayer for our Diabetes Light community. I am always sending you light, love and peace from this little corner of the world in Minnesota. I hope you can feel it, especially on those dark days we all experience from time to time.. <3

Quick Summary of Blog Happenings…

I’d like to share just a little review of what I’ve been up to with Diabetes Light the past year! I was invited to speak three times on behalf of my blog! I love this so much. Although I was nervous, I was also so excited and loved sharing my story. I hope 2014 opens up more opportunities for sharing my passion and how I do my best to live well in body, mind and spirit. Here are a few pics! The first several are me teaching diabetes firsthand to a group of nursing students at a local university.

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Speaking to parents at a childrens diabetes camp - Camp Sweet Life

Speaking to parents at a childrens diabetes camp – Camp Sweet Life

Speaking at a JDRF AWTO (Adults with Type 1) group

Speaking at a JDRF AWTO (Adults with Type 1) group

I also took a blogging position in June with an online healthcare publisher called Diabetic Lifestyle, a subsidiary of Vertical Health. I write articles weekly for my blog, Finding Peace Between the Pokes (find listing of archived articles here). While initially somewhat stressful writing for a larger audience the first few months, I now have gotten over the stage fright – thank goodness! I have article ideas coming out of my ears! I have so many thoughts week to week what to write and share about. I hope it doesn’t stop! Which of course was my initial fear.. How does one write weekly without running out of things to say? Can I keep it up for 52 weeks alone? So far, so good. :) This also means I am contributing less to diabeteslight.com but I try to blog here about once a month.

Lastly, Diabetes Light was also nominated by members of our community for “Rookie of the Year,” through WEGO Health on behalf of their Health Activist Awards. I made it to the finalist category and although I didn’t win, it was an honor to be selected amongst such talented bloggers.

IMG_0977Oh, one last funny thing. I cannot tell you how much my dog Jonah comes up when people talk about my blog. That little guy likes to steal the show! Lol. But I don’t mind. :) I love my boy so much and he brings me so much happiness and smiles. And I’m glad he is able to bring you some of that joy too through his pictures and silly stories.

Who me? (Jonah...)

Who me?!?

Thanks again for reading! You all are truly the best! I appreciate you so much and am thankful for the special and meaningful part you play in my life. Many blessings to you, always. Namaste (the light in me honors and salutes the light in you!).

In Peace & Light,

Cynthia

Diabetes Awareness Month: D-Qute #21, Hero

November is Diabetes Awareness Month! I am pleased to present you with D-Quote, a Diabetes Light initiative that gives voice to our community and helps provide awareness for this challenging invisible condition. Thank you for reading. I encourage you to pass these meaningful quotes and stories along to increase our advocacy and outreach efforts. All advocacy moves us closer to a cure. Thanks for your help! :)

**A special thanks to our community members for taking the time to write and bravely share their stories and experiences to provide diabetes awareness.

“I once gave myself a shot in the leg on an outside deck on a cruise ship, nobody else around. I was wearing shorts, so it was very quick. My husband caught someone way across deck looking and grimacing. Quick as a wink, hubby flipped him off. My hero.”

Becky Tise
Type 1 for 8 years
DX date 10-15-2005

You have just read a D-quote, a Diabetes Light initiative to create awareness and support for November’s Diabetes Awareness month. Please like, comment and share to promote advocacy and awareness for diabetes. Thank you!

*Like/follow us on Facebook at Diabetes Light: My holistic journey to health to read more quotes this month from those living with and affected by diabetes. The quotes are also being shared at http://diabeteslight.com!

In Peace & Light,

Cynthia

Diabetes Awareness Month: D-Quote #20, Perseverance

November is Diabetes Awareness Month! I am pleased to present you with D-Quote, a Diabetes Light initiative that gives voice to our community and helps provide awareness for this challenging invisible condition. Thank you for reading. I encourage you to pass these meaningful quotes and stories along to increase our advocacy and outreach efforts. All advocacy moves us closer to a cure. Thanks for your help! :)

**A special thanks to our community members for taking the time to write and bravely share their stories and experiences to provide diabetes awareness.

photo-72“For me, perseverance is key with diabetes.  And determination. These things I learned from watching my mother. She is the most determined woman I know. I think that if she can stay strong through losing two of her children, cancer 3 times, watching one daughter battles Crohn’s and me deal with diabetes, then I can do it.

I am determined to live the best live I can and not let diabetes get in the way. So I work hard. I watch what I eat, I count carbs and balance insulin. Basically, I think like a pancreas. I take one day at a time, for what good does it do to worry about tomorrow. And most of all, I hold on tight to Jesus because this is one wild roller coaster ride! I can do anything, even diabetes, through Christ who gives me strength.”

Cathy DeVreeze
T1 for 8 years
Diagnosed May 2005

You have just read a D-quote, a Diabetes Light initiative to create awareness and support for November’s Diabetes Awareness month. Please like, comment and share to promote advocacy and awareness for diabetes. Thank you!

*Like/follow us on Facebook at Diabetes Light: My holistic journey to health to read more quotes this month from those living with and affected by diabetes. The quotes are also being shared at http://diabeteslight.com!

In Peace & Light,

Cynthia

Diabetes Awareness Month: D-Quote #19, Rock Star

November is Diabetes Awareness Month! I am pleased to present you with D-Quote, a Diabetes Light initiative that gives voice to our community and helps provide awareness for this challenging invisible condition. Thank you for reading. I encourage you to pass these meaningful quotes and stories along to increase our advocacy and outreach efforts. All advocacy moves us closer to a cure. Thanks for your help! :)

**A special thanks to our community members for taking the time to write and bravely share their stories and experiences to provide diabetes awareness.

photo-71“It’s Diabetes awareness month. In just over 3 years AJ has tested his blood more than 7,000 times. He has spent hours in the nurses office instead of the classroom. He jabs a needle in his stomach every 3 days so he can be infused with insulin and another one that helps us watch his numbers throughout the day. He weighs his food and has decided some foods are just not worth the frustrating numbers they cause. He is 11 years old and must think about food and carbs and insulin throughout the day just to see tomorrow. Yet, he’s a regular kid with regular likes and dislikes. He is my Rock Star.”

Shelley – T1d mom who loves to spend time with her kids, just not at 3AM

You have just read a D-quote, a Diabetes Light initiative to create awareness and support for November’s Diabetes Awareness month. Please like, comment and share to promote advocacy and awareness for diabetes. Thank you!

*Like/follow us on Facebook at Diabetes Light: My holistic journey to health to read more quotes this month from those living with and affected by diabetes. The quotes are also being shared at http://diabeteslight.com!

In Peace & Light,

Cynthia

 

Diabetes Awareness Month: D-Quote #18, Lifestyle Change

November is Diabetes Awareness Month! I am pleased to present you with D-Quote, a Diabetes Light initiative that gives voice to our community and helps provide awareness for this challenging invisible condition. Thank you for reading. I encourage you to pass these meaningful quotes and stories along to increase our advocacy and outreach efforts. All advocacy moves us closer to a cure. Thanks for your help! :)

**A special thanks to our community members for taking the time to write and bravely share their stories and experiences to provide diabetes awareness.

photo-70“Type 1 diabetes is a mandatory change in lifestyle, an alternative perspective on every day choices like eating, sleeping, and driving (among other things), an unexpected, undesired, blameless dependence on insulin and blood sugar testing, and, as of today it is still incurable.”

Michelle Kaelin
T1 dx 01/82

 

 

You have just read a D-quote, a Diabetes Light initiative to create awareness and support for November’s Diabetes Awareness month. Please like, comment and share to promote advocacy and awareness for diabetes. Thank you!

*Like/follow us on Facebook at Diabetes Light: My holistic journey to health to read more quotes this month from those living with and affected by diabetes. The quotes are also being shared at http://diabeteslight.com!

In Peace & Light,

Cynthia