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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

D-Blog Week: One Great Thing



It's Diabetes Blog Week! And I am a wee bit late to the party. (I'm hoping fashionably late). Since I missed Day 1 and really it's Day 3, I am going to start with the prompt for Day 2: Tell us about one diabetes thing you do spectacularly!

There are a few things I might lay claim to here. But after pondering it most of the day, I realized I knew exactly what finely honed skill I would honor: The ability to hear and respond to my body and all its myriad signals. It is what I do 24/7. When I was first diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 12, my blood sugars were well over 800. My body was SCREAMING for help. Unquenchable thirst haunted me. Exhaustion derailed my usual tomboy ways. I had dark dark circles under my eyes. Even before the doctor appointment where they gave these symptoms a name, I knew in my bones something was wrong with me. Once I was in the hospital they began to administer insulin. For several days, a nurse would come in every couple of hours and ask me how I was feeling. Was I shaky? Did I feel my heart racing? Did my brain feel fuzzy, my mind easily confused? No, no, and no. I thought theses nurses were so annoying. They would even wake me up during the night with their stupid questions. But at some point, I was saying yes, yes, and yes. How did they know? The nurse said, "Angela, that is what a low blood sugar feels like!" They had cleverly taught me how to scan my body for the signs that I needed to drink some juice right away. I have never forgotten this lesson. It settled deep and began my life long path of tuning into my body every moment of every day.

Over the years, this kind of listening has evolved into something more than a survival mechanism. I have come to think of it as a kind of intuition. A devotion to my body. I am in continuous conversation with her. There are subtleties, nuances, secret messages contained in an aching hip, a shaky hand, a wild thirst. It is like ritual to turn inward and "hear" what my body has to say. Mountains, rivers, and rocks are echoed within this awareness, lending me strength, weaving their songs into those of a blood sugar of 50. The beat of a drum, the screech of a hawk, a coyote's howl become part of my recovery from neuropathy. 

By my mid 20's, I began to understand that this deep knowing could transform into a healing response. I sought out a Reiki teacher and learned how to use my hands to channel Qi and restore some balance after a stressful series of high sugars or the discomfort caused by gastroparesis. Often times, if I'm not quite sure what is going on in my body (even after checking my sugar levels) I will lay my hands over the area where I am feeling the worst and just allow Reiki energy to flow. I am amazed every time when an "answer" comes in those moments of quiet receiving. 
The body is a multilingual being. It speaks through its color and its temperature, the flush of recognition, the glow of love, the ash of pain, the heat of arousal, the coldness of nonconviction. It speaks through the constant tiny dance, sometimes swaying, sometimes a-jitter, sometimes trembling. It speaks through the leaping of the heart, the falling of the spirit, the pit at the center, and rising hope. (Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run With the Wolves)
This ability to read and respond to what my body needs developed from survival. It has kept me alive again and again. It has brought me to an awareness of a beauty and power that reside within me, not in spite of, but because of my diabetes. How can I do anything but honor this gift, hold it as sacred?




[This post is part of the 3rd Annual D-Blog Week coordinated by Karen at Bitter-Sweet. Over 200 hundred people in the diabetes online community have signed up to blog about their life with diabetes. Be sure to check out the stories being shared each day. I am on a strange schedule this week which means I may be in and out of the daily prompts. Thank you so much for visiting my blog! Wildest Blessings.]

3 comments:

  1. thank you thank you thank you
    a beautiful post indeed
    you are a gorgeous creature Angela
    we can all learn something from your story
    thank you for sharing it

    love and light

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  2. This is such a powerful post! And what a gift it has turned out to be - to be so intuitive about your body. Powerful wisdom here.

    I have learned to read my body's signs through my own health issues, and although it felt like a curse at first, I most certainly see it as a gift now. To really feel yourself, to know your body that deeply, I think is rare.

    p.s. your tattoo rocks!!

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  3. Just realized I hadn't heard from you in a while... wanted to pop in and say "hey". :) Hope you're doing well!

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