Find your break

This past weekend I went on a run with a friend. I resort to running when I’ve crammed my life so full that I feel it’s necessary to expedite working out. My usual preference is for walking, which I’ve just returned home from.

Here are some of the things I saw on my walk:

  • White and pink Dogwood blossoms. Dogwood trees have a distinct smell – sweet and earthy.
  • A black and white cat tiptoeing through an overgrown corridor of leggy flowering grasses.
  • A mockingbird trilling from a tree limb.
  • Tightly packed azalea flowers flocking front porches.

This walk and yesterday’s yoga class were inspired by suggestions from two people whose wisdom I value. They suggested that in order to get everything I needed to done, I take a break. Different times call for different sorts of breaks, and lately I’ve needed a computer break. Like my friend, I’ve been losing productivity as one assignment blurs into the next. I’ve been losing sleep too and waking up with high or low blood sugars. These past couple days, stepping away and doing something slowly has made space for me to breathe – which, one could argue, is just another way to practice public health.

A Question for Omnipod Users

This is a picture of Olympic cross-country skier Kris Freeman that I found on pinterest…so apparently having muscles and wearing the Omnipod is not a problem. 

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It’s a challenge in creativity to figure out how to wear a pump and do physical activities like yoga, dancing and other atypical movements. A friend of mine is hesitant to try to the Omnipod because she does aerial arts and is afraid it might come off. I have been having a lot of trouble finding sites that I can wear the pod lately because my favorite sites seem to be building up some scar tissue or something that is interfering with my absorption.

This is a question for anyone reading who wears an Omnipod:

What are your favorite sites and why?

Submit a comment below and thanks for sharing your ideas!

Yoga with a Purpose: Life for a Child

LFACBanner

Think back to ten years ago today. It’s hard to do. If you managed it, can you imagine your then self ever guessing what you’d be doing (and why) ten years later? Yesterday I could remember back to a Halloween a decade ago when I was too sick to carve pumpkins with the new friends I’d met just a few months before. It was my first semester of college. I had undiagnosed Type 1 diabetes and would have ever imagined why I felt so very miserable (and worse everyday).

I also would have never guessed that ten years later I would be lucky enough to be teaching a yoga class as a mini-fundraiser for “Life for a Child,” an amazing program of the International Diabetes Federation. “Life for a Child” provides insulin, test strips and trains teaching teams in clinics around the world to support children living with Type 1 diabetes who might otherwise die from lack of access to diabetes supplies and care.

The day meant so much to me, not just because “Life for a Child” is an amazing organization, but because of how much my own journey with diabetes has taught me and the twists and turns it’s taken me on. Because of diabetes I began to rely more heavily on yoga as a coping strategy and eventually got my yoga teacher certification. Because of diabetes I find myself pursuing a master’s in public health and meeting people that are all so dedicated to their causes and their passions and it’s so inspiring. And those are the people who were sitting on their mats on a crisp Halloween afternoon to do inner and outer work together. I am so grateful to them. The hour long class raised $112.00 to be donated to Life for a Child.

A beautiful group of dedicated yogis.
A beautiful group of dedicated yogis.

I am also so grateful to Loving Kindness Yoga School in Carrboro for allowing us to use the space.

Finally I’m grateful that “Life for a Child” is working tirelessly to literally make it possible for children to live, to grow and flourish with this condition instead of living in fear. Their work is essential. http://www.idf.org/lifeforachild 

A Matter of Perspective

I went to a yoga class this weekend at the gym/community center where I work as the coordinator of preventive health programs. The yoga teacher knew me as such, a coordinator of a program for people with diabetes, not as a person with diabetes. With Type 1, I was still under cover, even though my omnipod sticks out in my tight yoga pants and threatened to give me away.

After a few moments of opening meditation and one or two poses, she walked over to my mat and said, “Hi Katie, nice to see you here.” I was surprised she knew my name, but we had met before and we pass each other in the hallway: usually she walking zen-like to class and me in a half-run back and forth to the fax machine. She squatted down next to me as she spoke and asked me if there was anything going on with my body she should know about like past injuries, issues, or any concerns at all. I scanned my internal landscape silently, and then sort of shook my head and shrugged ‘Nope.’ Usually at a studio I will mention to the teacher that I have type 1 and they may see me eating glucose tablets or drinking juice in the middle of class, but at the time I felt pretty stable in my bg and had my tablets handy, so I just went with that everything was just fine. She looked at me as I shook my head no and began to shake her head yes. She replied almost before I had spoke, “Yeah, you’re a pretty healthy lady,” as if to acknowledge her asking was just a formality, that she could see my health in a force field around me. And I felt a wave of gratitude for this part of me, the healthy part, which is always there with me even when diabetes is throwing me for a loop. The part that exits simultaneously with the other parts that throw me into exhaustion, dehydration, and frustration. We are not just a sum of the whole, but we are who we are based on the perspectives we allow in. So I am remembering today that labeling me with a chronic disease is just medical pragmatism, not the only reality. Find what works for you.