I’ve practiced Yoga since I was 17, meditated since I was 22 and made a career out of Yoga, travelling the world teaching teachers and inspiring others to live the healthiest life possible. That’s why, when I was diagnosed with pre-diabetes at the age of 42, I never thought it could happen to me. I felt ashamed, alone and completely at a loss, like Yoga had failed me. But more importantly I felt like I had failed me.
Because the initial diagnosis didn’t confirm me as a type 1, I assumed I could reverse my condition. I went to see acupuncturists, ayurvedic specialists, naturopaths and homeopaths. With every new regime my blood glucose levels would return to normal and then not too much later sky rocket higher. My fellow yoga teachers were stumped, as were my friends and family. The harder I tried to heal myself the more defeated I felt.
But eventually something had to give. After 3 months of fasting levels at 18, the beginning of mild neuropathy in my hands and feet and an HbA1c of 10.7, a reluctant visit to the endocrinologist drove the point home. He’s already mentioned almost 5 years earlier that the type of Diabetes I had was caused by an autoimmune condition. Did I not hear him? The truth is, I didn’t want to.
Choosing to listen was a huge breakthrough, as was going on Insulin. Realising I was a type 1 LADA diabetic and that it wasn’t my fault was a huge relief. Watching my blood sugars normalise, going online to find support and finally meeting other diabetics has broadened my perspective and brought me out of isolation.
Letting go the fight has also made me reflect on the role yoga plays in my life . It’s given me discipline, taught me how to manage stress and helped to keep my need for Insulin at a minimum. But more importantly it’s enabled me to surrender. Even when I do all the right things, sometimes it’s just not enough. That’s when getting on my mat, breathing and being still takes the pressure off. Yoga reminds me I am not my body, mind or the number on my meter. All those things are happening in my presence. I have a disease I can never be the disease.
Today is my 7 Diaversary, something I never thought I’d want to celebrate, but there you go. Today I celebrate my courage, my passion for Yoga and my desire to spread awareness to those newly diagnosed. It isn’t easy but it does get better. Even if you think you don’t deserve it, or that it shouldn’t have happened to you. You’ll surprise yourself. There will be times when you’ll want to throw in the towel, but even more times that your strength of spirit will shine through.
With great respect…Rachel