Guest Post: My Type 1 Holistic Journey Towards Healing

Editor’s Note: Most of you know how much I love everything holistic! After all, my very blog is about my holistic journey to health. When we look at our body as a whole and work with holistic providers that share this same body, mind and spirit connection, true healing begins. I am so excited to share this blog entry with you today written by a holistically wise member of the Diabetes Light Online Facebook Community. Hayley, who has lived with Type 1 diabetes for 20 years, is such a source of knowledge and inspiration. I know you will benefit from hearing about her holistic journey and the many ways her health has flourished from exploring the far-ranging and healing benefits of integrative medicine.

Thanks for reading! And please give Hayley some feedback through a share, like or comment for bravely sharing her story. Thank you Hayley! I am so glad to know you on our mutual T1d holistic journey to health. I look forward to learning more about how your health continues to blossom with the use of integrative therapies. Blessings.

photo 1 (3)Recently, an amazing holistic breakthrough has directly impacted my Type 1 Diabetes and my desire for self-care. In the past years (realistically, many of the 20 years that I have lived with T1D), I have truly struggled, never fully committing to my overall health management. After many years of torturing my body by way of ‘forgotten’ glucose checks, guessed boluses/corrections hours after eating, eating habits that I am mortified of, etc., I have finally begun to treat myself and my body in the loving and respectful way that I now believe I deserve.

My recent ‘game-changer’ is CST. Craniosacral Therapy is a type of body work that is done by applying a gentle pressure to different parts of the central nervous system to relieve tension throughout the body. The practice is so difficult to portray clearly to someone who has never experienced it. My practitioner herself said she even has a hard time explaining it to someone she has never treated. There is lots of information you can find online about it, however I couldn’t truly wrap my head around it until after I had several appointments.

photo 2 (3)I actually found myself in Mary’s (my CST practitioner) office sort of randomly. I had recently been doing some personal spiritual/meditation work, and my mind fell upon the idea that I needed to have some Reiki treatments to balance my chakras. After asking around in my holistic circle of friends for recommendations, I was led to Mary, who is certified in Reiki, CST, and visceral manipulation (although I’m not totally clear on what exactly that is…). She uses her instincts/intuition to tell her which combination of those three techniques to use during a session. I was surprised to find that I experienced significant deep emotional healing after only a few sessions, and have been able to release some old stagnant energy that is no longer productive or needed within my mind/body. My body felt lighter, happier, and healthier immediately after my first session with her.

To me, CST feels like a very gentle massage over various parts of your body, head, back, torso, feet (and Mary has even done some work inside my mouth/jaw area which totally remedied my nighttime teeth grinding and jaw tension). Mary told me that although it is interesting and can be helpful when a client is an active participant in the CST session (I ask A LOT of questions and like to discuss how the session went after it is over, as well as chatting about how I’ve been feeling before we begin), it is not necessary that the person receiving treatment is even aware of what areas of the body/mind/energy field or the accompanying emotional issues that they need work on in order for it to be beneficial. I find it extremely interesting how different organs and body parts relate to different emotions on symptoms in the body.

It was through a session with Mary that I realized my need for a liver cleanse. She commented after my first session how my body had fairly easily released some sorrow, fear and anger. In my second session, I had another big release of anger (which is commonly held in the liver), although she could still feel/sense somehow that there was still some stagnant/stubborn energy that seemed stuck in my liver. After explaining how closely related physical toxicity and emotional toxicity in organs can be, she recommended some gentle cleansing, hoping that by encouraging some physical toxicity to release, that the emotional stuff would clear out as well. I took a few rounds of milk thistle supplementation to work on the regeneration of my liver cells as the old junk was moving out.

Through some reflection and meditation, I started to realize that the anger I had been holding onto for so long was likely directly related to being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at age 9. After living with T1D for 20 years, I finally realized that I had never fully processed it, never truly allowing much faster than I likely would have otherwise, learning as much as I could as quickly as I could about my body and it’s disease in order to carry on with as close to a normal life as I could manage. I think the fact that I never received any counseling/support specifically related to my T1D diagnosis may have played a part in the anger that was suppressed in my system for so long. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, looking back, I felt so alone and beyond my years, and had no one to relate to or discuss it with. I knew I needed to process this so the stagnant anger could leave my body.

I still could not shake the feeling that I needed a deeper liver cleanse to release the anger. After more questioning around to my holistic circle and local contacts, I found myself in an herbalist’s office who worked closely with me (obviously aware of my T1D) to come up with an herbal liver cleanse that took about 2 months total. After that I was simply AMAZED at the difference in my mood and my body, in general. I no longer felt angry at the simple things that I finally realized were not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. My patience was no longer short with my family, and all of the sudden I stopped feeling urges to overeat and ‘damage my body’–my whole appetite and attitude towards food and eating (which was so screwed up from dealing with T1D and it’s implications with eating/food management) was literally reset. All at once I felt ‘worth it’. I know this sounds a little out there, but my life was literally changed in such a profound way!

Once I experienced such a dramatic change in essentially the way I viewed my body and my self worth, I was able to delve deeper into some different ways of eating and self-care that I had been wanting to explore but had never taken the steps to actually start doing so.

I had previously looked briefly into AIP (autoimmune paleo) diet, and although that seemed much too strict for me to jump right into (maybe someday!), I decided to start a modified version of the paleo diet when I fell pregnant with my second (December 2013), mostly to try to avoid the approximately 40 pound weight gain that happened when I was pregnant with my son in 2011. After about a month and a half or so of eating (mostly) grain free, we went to a wedding where I ‘cheated’ and had a toast point with some smoked salmon. After the single piece of toast, I was extremely sick (almost unable to get out of bed) for 2-3 days, experienced severe facial breakouts and mood swings. Several other times shortly after that when I was accidentally ‘glutened’, I was so sick and it became more and more clear that I either have Celiac Disease or am extremely gluten sensitive. Apparently, being GF (gluten free) for those weeks had reset my body’s reaction levels to it. (Although I had not been completely GRAIN free for those 6-8 weeks, when I DID eat grains, I stuck to rice, corn, or something else that was gluten free.)

During those weeks that I started my gluten free diet, my body experienced some significant changes. My skin began to clear up after battling with (at times severe) adult cystic acne for about 5 years. My mood and energy level was better than ever before, and my digestion was finally normal. Even though I never got an official diagnosis, sticking to a gluten free diet keeps me feeling SO good overall, that I barely even miss my old way of eating. Just the thought of being that sick again keeps me on track with staying GF. I may try to add in some soaked grains eventually, as I’ve heard stories about people who cannot tolerate gluten but are able to tolerate some amounts of sourdough and/or soaked grain breads… I may experiment and see how that goes sometime in the future.

Other places my healing journey has led me thus far are to a holistic pelvic care practitioner, an acupuncturist/Chinese medicine doctor, and a naturopath. As my total mind/body healing journey continues, I am constantly amazed at the power of alternative medicine, meditation, and self-care. It is my hope that everyone (suffering from a chronic disease or not!) who desires a holistic healing experience can eventually be led to the resources that they need to truly heal. My holistic journey has only just begun a little over 3 years ago, and I cannot wait to see which direction it leads me in next.

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In Peace & Light,

Cynthia

**Hayley lives in the Louisville, Kentucky area. To learn more about one of these amazing healthcare providers or contact Hayley directly, you may email her at: hayleywkaster@gmail.com

A poem for Diabetes Awareness Month: In memory of our fallen T1 heroes

Editor’s note: Please know if you live with diabetes or parent a child with diabetes this poem may bring up difficult emotion for you. This past week, two young people with Type 1 diabetes perished. I was moved to write a poem after learning about their deaths that occurred just days apart from one other. My heart felt broken as I mourned for their lives lost. Putting these words onto paper was a way for me to express some of the grief I was feeling. Living with Type 1 diabetes, whether one knows the individual who passed away or not is irrelevant. When one is given an exit pass and leaves our shared community too soon, we all feel the ripples left in the pond.  Continue reading

Diabetes & Our Body: Love, Forgiveness & Hope

Good morning! I hope you had a night of restful sleep and good blood sugars upon awakening. Mine was 104 this morning when I woke up. Can’t beat that! My husband’s sister and her 3 children are flying in this morning from South Carolina. I am so looking forward to seeing them tonight for dinner at my in-laws house and a bunch over the next week. It has been 3 years since I last saw them. In January when I had tickets to South Carolina to visit them, my cat Juniper become very ill. I stayed here to care for her and she miraculously survived. She is lying to the right of me now while my other cat Mabel is on my left. My husband lovingly calls this “Oreo” as they are two little black furry kitties.

Every morning on my Facebook page for Diabetes Light I share a quote – since day one! It is one of the first things I do when I wake up after testing my blood sugar of course and petting my sweet, cuddly cats. If I have a busy morning and somewhere to be early, my husband has mentioned a few times that I should skip posting a quote that day. This is not something I let happen. I feel that someone might need to hear the message I am sharing and that it may add a little light to their day. This is my hope anyway. Continue reading