When I was a little girl, my dad would tell me the same advice his father had given him, “figure out what you love to do and then find a way to make a living doing it”. These words have always allowed me to recognize what really lights up my soul, especially as I think about my purpose, my passions, and the possibilities for the future ahead.
After struggling with diabetes burnout, depression, and disordered eating for many years, I found support within the diabetes online community. This led me to new friendships and resources that gave me a sense of empowerment, a feeling of connectedness, and soon inspired a courageous act of bravery: a true commitment to change.
After years of diabetes denial… years of diabulimia… years of depression and despair…
I decided to stop being a part of the problem.
I chose to become a part of the solution.
I realized that I had the power within me to make a change.
I had the power within me to heal my life and all I had to do was take that first step forward.
It was my own health challenges, as well as my experiences as a diabetes peer support group leader, that inspired me to enroll in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. After I graduated from the program, realizing I no longer wanted to become a Registered Dietitian/CDE (which is the direction I thought I was heading in), I began to seek out different ways I could become a more valuable resource to people living with diabetes.
I was also interested in finding ways to better manage my own diabetes and some of the complications I had been diagnosed with (including neuropathy, gastroparesis, and retinopathy). These chronic complications were impacting my daily life and I knew it would be my responsibility to find what worked best to address the pain and discomfort I was feeling throughout my body.
It was also important to me that I find options outside of traditional pharmaceutical medications since many of the available treatment options for my conditions warned of potentially harmful side effects. Thankfully, I have been able to experience a great deal of relief from medicinal cannabis in combination with yoga therapy and other healing modalities.
Within the last few years, I became certified to teach yoga, offer reiki healing, and have studied subjects like mindfulness, meditation, and Ayurveda — which is the sister science to yoga. I have also dedicated myself to learning more about the therapeutic use of cannabis and medicinal mushrooms since these are some of the natural ways I approach managing my various symptoms while bringing a sense of balance to my body and mind.
I feel it is important to offer women with diabetes education and empowerment surrounding the therapeutic use of cannabis, as well as medicinal mushrooms and other herbal remedies. There are so many healing plants and fungi to be found within nature and I believe there is an opportunity to achieve greater levels of health and happiness through their mindful integration.
It is also important that we encourage women with diabetes to recognize the many areas of their lives that impact health and overall wellbeing. When we start to see ourselves from that higher perspective, we can begin to better understand the actions we need to take to move forward in a positive, purposeful direction.