This is the second of a 2-part entry about my relationship with diabetes. 

This week is American Diabetes Association’s “Diabetes Alert Day” (March 27th). That, plus the pending publication of TED* for Diabetes: A Health Empowerment Story, which I am co-authoring with Scott Conard, M.D., made for a timely “coming out” about my diabetes.

Last week I shared my 5+ year ride on the rollercoaster of diabetes – doing well, slacking off, doing well, slacking off…

As Dr. Scott and I began the process of writing TED* for Diabetes¸ I realized that I was out of integrity in applying TED* to diabetes because I had been relating to it as a Victim.  After some good coaching from my wife, I was able to clarify and declare a shift away from what I didn’t want (the problem of diabetes) to what I do want: a life of health and wellbeing. 

My journey toward health empowerment began by choosing health as an outcome to create.  And with that choice, I made the shift out the Victim Orientation by adopting a Creator Orientation.  I declared the intention and choice to “create optimal health” in my life.

As I made the shift from being a Victim to my diabetes and embraced my capability as Creator to make choices in service to creating health, I transformed my relationship to diabetes from the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT) into engaging with it from TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic).

Rather than reacting to diabetes as a Persecutor, I now saw the diagnosis as a Challenger calling me to take responsibility for the state of my health, to learn how to manage my life with the realities of the disease, and to begin making choices.  Instead of hoping my doctor would be my Rescuer, I began seeing the medical profession as being there as a Coach to me – and, at times, a Challenger as well.

As I began making choices, the “twin sisters” of synchronicity and serendipity began showing up in many ways and forms.

Within a couple of weeks, through a conversation that my wife had with a mutual friend, we learned about Take Shape for Life, a lifestyle program based on Dr. Wayne Andersen’s book, Habits of Health.

It was another Baby Step of serendipity, as we found that the process utilized Robert Fritz’s Creative Tension model (which is adapted in The Power of TED* as Dynamic Tension) as an organizing and mental framework.

The timing was perfect.  We enrolled in the program and I began working with Kathryn Leslie, one of the “Take Shape for Life” health coaches.

I engaged the Dynamic Tension between what I wanted and my current reality.

Optimal health became my focus. The envisioned outcome was defined by how I would know it when I created it, which was increased energy, vitality, well-being, and (as mundane as it might sound) fitting into the same size blue jeans as I wore in college.

Getting to a preferred weight was the first order of business.  One of the major dietary changes was to eat (i.e. “fuel”) with low glycemic food every 3 hours in order to even out the sugar/insulin process.  Exercise took on a different rhythm and focus.

The results of the shift to a Creator Orientation in which my focus is on creating optimal health have surprised even me.  While this focus and the Baby Steps that I take will be a lifelong process – and the envisioned outcome is not yet fully realized – I was pleasantly surprised when, after six months of taking action, I received the blood work lab report that indicated that my A1c was “normal for a non-diabetic” (which has since been replicated).

I go to see my doctor again this week and have my fingers crossed for a report of “three times is a charm.”

Whether I have been blessed to sustainably reverse my diabetes remains to be seen.  I know that the changes in lifestyle that I have committed to will be lifelong and that I will need to work daily in taking Baby Steps, making conscious and healthy choices, and living with gratitude for the “wake up call” to health empowerment of my diagnosis.

This I do know: by focusing on creating health, making healthy choices and taking daily baby steps, vitality and wellbeing are attainable.

What is true about my relationship with diabetes applies to so many other health Challengers.  For example, we have a couple of friends who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, a progressive and incurable disease.  Both are Creators who are making choices to live life fully, even in the face of the changes come with such a malady.

What determines our destiny is not the hand we are dealt, but how we play the hand. We may not be able to cure what ails us, but we can heal in remarkable ways.