Sunday, 4 February 2018

About building muscles!

At first I focused on changing my diet with the knowledge that exercise was also important. I began walking more. In particular I found that taking a walk after my main meal helped reduce my blood glucose from that meal.

Then one day, with my weight already going down and finding that I had more energy and that my muscles didn't get so tired when I walked I decided to try building more muscles by going to a gym.
Walking even in freezing temperatures!
  I was able to get a prescription for exercise from my GP which entitled me to an induction relevant to my needs and a reduced fee.

Interestingly when I had the initial assessment the coach commented that my legs were already quite strong,  no doubt after all the walking up and down hill!  I was keen to work on the strength of my arms in particular to avoid 'bat wing's!  

I discovered that spending not a lot of time doing the work with weights made me feel good and helped bring my blood glucose down quite a lot.   I could get to the gym, do a work out and get home in about an hour. I often saw my lowest blood glucose readings I had ever seen after an hour spent this way and especially when I did the session in the morning it improved my mood for the day.
One of the motivating factors in trying this was that I had heard that muscles burn energy even when you are sitting at your desk.  What I have learned more recently is that they also don't need insulin to get the energy into the cells which is good news if you are insulin resistantas I believe I am.

Just last week I learned another useful fact: that muscles actually store their own glucose so act as glucose sponges. This means that the more muscle mass I have the more glucose is stored there ready for use when I am active instead of being stored in my liver or belly fat.

Once I had lost weight and reversed my diabetes I stopped going to the gym due to the cost. However I found that if I lost fitness it was more difficult to keep my blood glucose low.  My husband kindly bought me a home gym so I now use that and gardening to build more muscle. I also still walk most days and find that my stamina continues to increase.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

First Diary entry 12th June 2014

I decided to start keeping a diary when I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes because I thought it would be interesting to look back on as I made progress towards remission and also because I have had experience of how journaling is a good way to deal with feelings that come up about an issue.

Up to this point I had had my first HbA1c to confirm type 2 diabetes which had been 66 - 48 is the maximum for a non-diabetic.  I had also had a scary meeting with the practice nurse specialising in diabetes who had explained the dire consequences of poorly managed type 2 diabetes (blindness, kidney disease, amputation!).

We had discussed medication (metformin and statins) and, preferring natural healing, I had asked not to be put on any.  She agreed for me to see how it goes for 3 months, at which point I would have another HbA1c.  It was at this point that I started writing to record my progress....

With Reiki friends in the summer of 2013 - on my way to diabetes!

Alarming blood sugar of 13.2 recorded on routine blood test.  10 days later this was reduced to 8 [which I achieved by cutting out ALL sugar!] but diagnosis is that I have type 2 diabetes.

Difficult to accept, but as I look back and find out more I can see how it happened.  After Christmas, with all the sugar indulgence, my weuight was up to 12 st 13 os (181lb) recorded after Easter by the doctors at 81kg.  I went to doctor due to lack of energy, thinking it was due to thyroid or possibly Lymes disease.

I have lost weight constantly since realising that sugar is the issue and this week the weight recorded at the GPs was 79 - down 2 kg.

By my bathroom scales today I am down to 12 st 3lb (171lb).  This is the lowest weight Ive achieved in many years.  I'm excited to be so close to getting under 12 st and feel it's achievable this time because I know the issue.

Stress is also a factor and the past 5 years on TRA [The Reiki Association] Council have not been easy, added to my 'normal' tendency to be stressful.

The high blood sugar, I now understand, has also probably caused the muscle pain I experienced, lack of energy and therefore difficulty in exercising.  Now that I've changed my diet I already have more energy and more motivation to exercise.

So I'm aiming to build muscle as well as loose fat.

Sarah [a Reiki student and friend who is a paramedic] has kindly lent/given me a blood sugar monitor, so I can see what's going on, what makes a difference etc.  Today my glucose level is 7.6 (before breakfast).  I don't know if I'll be able to achieve the ideal BMI (I don't remember ever being that low since teenage) but do aim to get fit and into low 11s.  Still technically overweight but should help blood glucose to be lower.  Most importantly I have a good reason for dietary change and a way to regain better health than I've had for many years (probably since I was in Paris in 19684).

I am wondering if my father had type 2 diabetes as he had a dramatic weight loss a short while before he died.  Maybe he realised he had or was about to have diabetes, so lost the weight.  Sadly for him it was too late, the damage to arteries was already too far advanced, hence the [fatal] coronary.  I intend to be one of those who like the US doctor said "patients who are receiving or have learned Reiki are all doing better than expected"

Monday, 7 November 2016

So what's been going on?

It was my intention to write this blog regularly after I started it in 2015.  However I also decided that I wanted to write a book about my diabetes journey.  So most of the spare time I've had to write has been devoted to that.  I've written 11 chapters so far.

The other thing that has happened is that since I reversed my diabetes I've had more energy and as a result have been able to take on more work.  This has meant less time for blogging!

The other reason for not writing more is that I now recognise how important it is to be more active and as my work sometimes requires me to sit at a computer for quite a long time, I am reluctant to spend more time sitting doing the blog!

However I feel that the time has come to get back to sharing some of my story via this blog and decided today to share some of the thoughts from my diaries as I made my gradual changes and discoveries.

The latest news about my diabetes is that I'm still in remission - my last HbA1c for those of you who know what that is was 41 (below 6%).

I'm still learning and it feels like I'm putting together lots of pieces of a big jigsaw.  There is a lot about diabetes in the media and on TV at present, some of which contains useful information but some of which I find unhelpful.  I don't support the 'scare tactics' used in some TV programmes because although I think people need to be aware of the consequences of undiagnosed and poorly managed diabetes I think what will motivate people more to make change is knowing that change is probably not as hard as they think.

So I hope to be posting more regularly although it will probably only be brief as I will be wanting to go out for a walk!

Friday, 20 November 2015

How I got diagnosed: thaks to a tick bite!

This photo of Harris in the Outer Hebrides is probably what started my journey towards being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.  Crouching down to get the 'arty' shot through the grass is probably where I picked up a tick.  I saw it on my neck in the bathroom mirror the next morning, which was quite a shock!  Not having had a tick on me before I didn't know how to remove it, so ended up seeing a lovely nurse at the local health centre in Lochmaddy.  Having removed the tick she gave me a leaflet about what to look out for after being bitten by a tick.  So over the next hours I was looking out for a rash or any flu-like symptoms.  Being a Reiki practitioner I also gave the area of the bite Reiki treatment as much as possible and there were none of the feared symptoms.  In fact the bite area healed very quickly without so much as a mark.

However later in the year when I was feeling unwell I wondered if it could be Lyme disease, picked up from the tick bite (I also had several more bites from smaller ticks after the big one on my neck).  I looked on the internet and found that many of my symptoms could indicate this.  These symptoms included tiredness and lack of energy, low mood, pain in muscles, aching joints (mostly my hips).  It was a worry in the back of my mind for many months, but I was too busy to do anything about it.  Then one day as I was giving myself my morning Reiki treatment I noticed this worry and as one of the Reiki principles is 'Just for today do not worry', I decided to go and ask my doctor for a blood test to find out.

She reacted positively to my request, but suggested that I also have the NHS Health Check: a range of other blood tests to rule out other possible causes for the tiredness and other symptoms.  She did also say that at worst the cause of my tiredness could be cancer!  Anyway I agreed to have the blood tests and went along for the first one in April 2014.  When I went for the test the nurse asked if I'd been fasting: I hadn't because this hadn't been mentioned.  She therefore said I would need to come back for a fasting blood test.  There was part of me that was reluctant to do this, but as I'd started on this path of finding out what was wrong I did go back for that other blood test.

The evening before my first fasting blood test I was giving a talk about Reiki to a local group.  I had been asked not to eat anything after 8 pm (12 hours before the blood test) but thought it was OK to have the drink I was offered.  I had asked for an Appletize, but they didn't have one, so bought me a J2O.  I didn't realise at the time how much added sugar was in this: I'd thought it was just fruit juice! 

I got a message back to say that the results were clear as far as Lyme disease was concerned, but that there was some concern about my blood sugar levels, which had showed a blood glucose of 13 mmol/l - the normal range being 4 - 7 mmol/l.  A further blood test was therefore recommended.  At this point I knew there was a possibility that I might have type 2 diabetes, or be on the cusp of it.  I preferred to think that I was probably pre-diabetic.  After all I didn't have the symptoms I'd heard about on TV like continual thirst or needing to go to the loo a lot. 

I was still kidding myself this was just because of the sugary drink I'd had the night before, but there was a wiser part of me that pointed out that I was very overweight and that being fat around the middle was a potential indicator for type 2 diabetes.  A second test was recommended, which was to take place a week or so later.

I have found that having the spiritual practice of Reiki in my life things often happen in a way that seem to be quite a coincidence: so it should be no surprise therefore that my husband had just bought me a book called "Fat Around the Middle".  He had been at a health fair and had seen the author Marilyn Glenville giving a talk about her book.  He had been impressed with how she talked about it and so bought the book (which he sweetly said was for both of us, rather than implying that I needed to do something about being fat!). 

So between the two fasting blood tests I started to read the book and realised that it was indeed possible that I might have type 2 diabetes, or (as I hoped) be on the edge of getting it.  I therefore started to follow some of the advice in the book, starting with cutting out all refined sugar.

I was quite upset, when I called about the results, to be told by the receptionist that I had diabetes - another receptionist had been more compassionate in her discussion with me, saying there was a concern about the blood sugar levels, rather than telling me I was diabetic!  However the receptionist who told me I was diabetic also told me what the doctors look for as an ideal number, so I knew that my second result, which was 8 mmol/l and therefore still indicative of diabetes, was much closer to the ideal of 7 mmol/l and that was in just a week or so of changing my diet.  This gave me hope that I could do something about it, even if I was diagnosed as diabetic (which I still didn't want to believe).

An HbA1c blood test was the next thing, which would show the levels of glucose in my blood for the previous 8 weeks.  The results of this took a bit longer to come and I was asked to make an appointment with Adelle, the nurse in practice specialising in diabetes to get the results.  I have a vivid memory of sitting in her office and her telling me I have diabetes.  I had not wanted to believe it was possible and still found it hard to accept.

Adelle went on to tell me that this could put my eyes, feet and kidneys at risk, so there would be further tests.  She told me I would be getting an appointment to have an examination of my retina for retinopathy and another to examine my feet.  She also said I'd be invited to go on a course to help me with my diet.  She talked about the possibility of medication to control my blood glucose levels and statins to control cholesterol.  I told her there and then that I preferred not to use medication unless absolutely necessary!  She therefore agreed to let me see how it went for 3 months.

The reason I did not want to use medication unless absolutely necessary is that as a Reiki practitioner I have seen for myself what an amazing ability to heal the body has given the right conditions.  Some years ago I had opted to have a less invasive procedure to help my gynecological problems, feeling sure that Reiki would do the rest.  This had proved to be correct and having suffered pain for many years, with a minimal intervention I was able to heal and be pain free.  While the surgeon would have liked to be sure of a cure by doing the more invasive procedure, my intuition (which Reiki practice has helped me be more in contact with) told me that this was not necessary - but that's another story...

I have also seen, through my work giving Reiki treatments to people with many different conditions, how medication can sometimes create more complications.  Indeed Adelle told me that going on insulin can cause weight gain and I already knew that being overweight was a contributory factor  to diabetes (at the time I thought it was the main cause).

So thanks to the tick bite, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes!

Thursday, 1 October 2015


Welcome to my new blog where I'll be sharing my story about how I was able to reverse my type 2 diabetes in under 18 months without medication.  Using a combination of nutrition, exercise and Reiki I was able to loose over 2 stone in weight and regain my vitality by reducing my blood glucose levels on a daily basis.  I also found it much easier to loose the weight than expected once I knew that sugar was the problem.

At a time when type 2 diabetes has been talked about a lot in the media, with the threat of the results of the condition overwhelming the NHS, it seems timely to share my story and show how it's possible to overcome it without needing to use medication.  We all know that we need to be mindful of what we eat and how active we are, but what I discovered is that there are other key factors that also make overcoming type 2 diabetes possible.  Receiving a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes - or even being told that you are on the edge of it - can be worrying and depressing.  My intention with this blog is to share how I overcame that initial depression and transformed my life and well being instead.

We hear a lot about the role of diet and exercise - what I discovered was that having Reiki was also very helpful: both the energy and the system that supports the use of it. Reiki (the system) encourages us to see ourselves as a combination of mind body and spirit.  This has been key to my healing.  And by healing I mean coming to a place of wholeness and contentment, not a cure which means going back to how things were.  Although in some senses I have been able to take things back to how they were, I am not the same person I was 25 years ago, so there will inevitably be differences to accept. 

It has been an amazing journey of discovery, piecing together a jigsaw of understanding my body, mind and spirit better.  I am delighted with how much better I feel and hope that sharing my story will help you to restore your vitality too.

It all started with a tick bite while I was on holiday in North Uist in Scoltland...