How I've Used Integrative Medicine to Live Well with Diabetes
I would like to share with you some of what I have learned in the last 26 years of living with type 1 diabetes and what helps me live well in mind, body, and spirit. In addition to diabetes, I also live with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, (autoimmune hypothyroidism), something very common among individuals with diabetes, narcolepsy and multiple severe food sensitivities (corn, gluten, dairy, and most nuts). I am also a highly sensitive person.
My twenties were a very difficult time for me as many health challenges appeared that depleted my health further and further. One year out of college, a high point in a young person's life, significant emotional challenges began in the form of depression and anxiety. They were brought on by a new diagnosis of hypothyroidism (depression is also a common symptom associated with untreated hypothyroidism). My fragile physical and emotional state were only further complicated by each illness and health challenge that continued to arise. The pharmaceutical medicines and surgeries prescribed as treatment weakened my health even more. I fell into a deep depression. In despair, I finally reached out for help by exploring integrative medicine, which combines the best of Western medicine with Eastern and holistic theories and practices.
Combining holistic therapies with my insulin and thyroid meds, etc, has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. Through implementing a handful of therapies to heal, I began to experience the difference of merely surviving to thriving despite a handful of health challenges. The following is a list of some parts of my current healthcare regimen. I will be sharing more about each of these areas in greater detail in future articles.
- Homeopathy - The single most important piece of my care bringing me immense healing on every level
- Acupuncture - Monthly treatments assist my body to stay balanced despite the effects of diabetes
- Supplements - I take a handful of supplements daily to support my health
- Yoga - I try to practice 2-3 times per week at a local studio. The benefits are AMAZING!
- Massage - I get a therapeutic massage one time per month
- An organic whole foods diet - I learned how to cook and bake everything with real whole food ingredients (nothing processed) from scratch. Seriously? Food has never tasted so good!
- Tending to my spiritual life - I attend church weekly and engage in daily prayer
- Daily walks - I enjoy long daily walks with my dog Jonah and aim for 3-4 miles per day as my goal
I have never been healthier physically or emotionally or had better control of my diabetes. These various modalities have enabled me to heal in areas that were holding me back. Many health challenges have cleared up allowing me to no longer suffer in the many ways I did. With the challenges life with diabetes can present daily, an area I unfortunately see many with diabetes struggle with is their emotional health and well being. This may be the greatest way integrative medicine has helped promote wellness for me.
Here I will be sharing the things that bring a smile to my face as well as my successes and challenges, too, about living with diabetes. I write openly in a real and honest way and share from my heart, allowing others to connect with my experience, hopefully learn a thing or two, and never feel alone in their journey. I look forward to sharing about what brings me health and healing along with healthy recipes, stories, and more.
I hope you will join me here regularly at Finding Peace Between the Pokes, a blog title which simply means consciously choosing to live a healthy and abundant life filled with joy, peace and laughter despite the many pokes that come at us in life (needles are a big one..).
One more thing. I'd to ask a question of you! Whether you realize it or not, you are all great teachers!! Please share with me a little about yourself---where you are from, how long and what kind of diabetes you have and how you choose to manage it, etc. Have you ever tried your hand at integrative medicine or holistic therapies? I'd love to hear your experience. :)
Blessings and Namaste, (the light in me salutes the light in you)