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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Going Natural - Part 1

Myth, Mystery, Truth, or Money Grab?

Many of you can tell by my post I am a big fan of doing things the natural way and it has worked for me to a degree.  However, I do it with a lot of research and using some of the products myself.  In this series, I want to explore some of these natural methods to help us control our blood sugar levels and some of the good and bad with the products on the market.

Before getting into that, there has been much going on in my life and I just want you to know that I am in the middle of a struggle to get myself back to my blood sugar control of 4 months ago but I am trying to be a balancer of life and health - not easy and I want you all to know - taking medicines would be easy but they scare me as much as having an elevated blood sugar level.  I am not going to go through everything - just know that I need your support and prayers at this time to bring me strength.

Before going on, we have added many new readers to this blog and again I am blessed you are all here and want to say thank you and welcome.  I am also getting more and more comments and people reaching out to me.  I also want to thank you for that as I want this blog to be my journey but to share with you and hope it helps someone.  We have added readers from Romania, Portugal, Brazil, France, and Spain.  Welcome to all the new readers and you can register to be notified of new posts by putting in your email address - no one uses it and for sure I do not.  Many have reached out and have exchanged emails so we can have conversations and my email address is bob.dant@gmail.com.  Please feel free to reach out for private questions or things you want to say.

If you follow the comments people post you will find out our little group has lost one of those individuals we have been praying for - Dora.  She is a diabetic who lost the battle to this horrible disease but since she was suffering and had lost her legs, I know she is in a much better place and is in a place where there is no more suffering.  I am truly happy for her, but sad as we have lost one of loved sisters.  Along with Dora, who was in a nursing home,  the nursing home also lost one of the care givers to this disease along with the flu.  One of the care givers contracted the flu - went home and had a low and collapsed into a coma and did not recover.  In other words, a young person who was a type 1 diabetic, contracted the flu, and lost their life because the flu illness drove him to a low so significant, he collapsed and died.  We pray for him being in a more blessed place as well and saddened that he went as such an early age.

I also ask that you continue to pray for the passengers of MH370 and that soon and very soon we can solve that mystery.  Please keep these people in your prayers.

Natural Products 

Let me put this in a few simple statements that might outline our dilemma  and what I believe us diabetics must face:

  1. We must trust our doctors with our health
  2. Most medical doctors do not know alternative medicines and approaches
  3. In the USA, a doctor can be sued for not following traditional medical approaches - so they do not take any risks leaving the risks to us
  4. Big pharmaceutical companies makes billions off us diabetics - if you think not - look at the stripswe use each day and if you are lucky they are 35 cents per strip - making those items is less than 2 cents.  Want to read more about this market - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2769893/ 
  5.  Natural products are not regulated by the FDA - buyer beware
  6. Outside the United States, other countries participate in monitoring research around alternative approaches and natural products
So for the majority of us it boils down to "Who can we trust?"  The answer is those close to us and those who have tried certain products with success.  That is why I write this blog - maybe a little help from someone who has tried the products.

In this series I will unveil those products and the companies that appear to deliver sold products.

I will also share sources of information that I have not tried and they might not work as well.  However, that does not mean they will not work.  One thing I am sure of in my research - there are many vultures out there will to prey on our bodies, fears, and our disease management program.

I have shared a lot regarding books about drugs and why I changed my course of action.  I will share other articles and information from those I am also learning to trust.  I will leave the rest up to you to decide.

I do caution you that in this series and approach - please read and also make sure you pay attention to my series on listening to your body and testing.  I also encourage you to listen to your doctor and have a good conversation with them if you are going to try something new.

We will discover everyone's claim that they can reverse diabetes and I am not sure what that means - especially now and in the current situation I find myself.  I will also talk about products that help curb our sweat tooth, help our bodies process better, and some research by these natural Doctor's, and yes they are also doctors but practice a different form of disease management.

God, please be with us through this series and help us to discover the truth about our disease and some of the natural methods you gave us in the very beginning to help with this disease.

Bob,


Monday, April 7, 2014

Managing Goals

Goals Can - Friend or Foe

By the time you read through this post you will understand where I have been and why I have not posted again for a while.  I do look forward to getting back to a regular schedule of posting 2 -3 posts per week.  I am hoping for 2 during the week and then Sunday to pay respect to God and what he has done for me.

I have not been keeping track of my diabetic statistics and again you will find out why in a moment.

I do want to welcome all visitors and we continue to attract new ones even when I take time out from posting.

I also ask you continue to pray for the 239 passengers on Malaysia flight MH370.  I also ask that you continue to pray for Gabby and that his conflicting diseases can be managed to a successful recovery.

Original Goal Posting

Set goals be realistic was my original post on setting goals and being realistic.  You can refer back to that post to see what my long term vision and goals entailed.

But if you do not want to go back - basically I was outlining how I want to get back into playing golf on a competitive basis as a reward for my work in getting my health under control. I think it is important to have these dreams so that when we are down or when the disease appears to be winning - we have some tools and weapons to use to fight off depression, anger, frustration, or any other down feelings.

When Goals Conflict

So I have basically two major goals I am working towards - health management and playing golf on a competitive basis again.  There are other goals and things I want to do but one is a needed goal and the other in my mind is a reward goal.

This past month these two goals were in conflict with each other and that is not good.  The goal of competing again was not clear or specific enough to measure - that is when a goal can go wrong.  I stated I wanted to be able to compete and in the beginning it meant just go out there and be able to play a couple of days at a tournament, not get tired, and post a respectable score.

Does not appear to be harmful at that level. Last week, I competed in my first event that meant something - The Tennessee State Sr. Olympics Qualifier.  If I could land first place in my age bracket I would go on to Nationals and if I posted a qualifying score of 80 I could go to nationals.  For me, to post an 80 is no problem as I have been practicing and knew I could do that.

All the time a goal change was happening in my mind and I did not recognize it and did not keep it in check or manage it.  My mind switched from thinking about competing and being respectable to "Let's do this and go to Nationals!"  I had set an unofficial goal and a goal not well defined in my mind.

I started spending each waking hour and moment on practice and that along with some unplanned time management scenarios, I was not getting to the gym as regular as I needed to and also found myself eating more on the course versus out of my kitchen.  My "healthy" goal started to take a back seat to my golfing goal - all because I was not planning or managing to the original goal.

So my weight has gone up a couple of pounds and my blood glucose levels have increased - to levels back last year when I was early in my journey.

So there I am stuck in a mindset where my mind, heart, and soul is driving out goals that I was not prepared to handle or manage properly.

The good news is, I did successfully qualify for Nationals next year - but at what price and was it all worth it. Now that it is all over, I would say no.  It is a big deal to be going to Nationals but not at a price of missing my health goals - so while the golf goal was helping me manage my health goal - it was a friend.  However, when it dominated and I forgot my health goal - it was an enemy or foe!  

BEWARE OF GOALS WEARING A CLOAK OF GOODNESS WHEN THEY ARE TRULY CLOAKED IN DISASTER.

In the Moment Goal Management

During the course of play - I did use some very good methods to overcome events that were impacting my golf game and I think explaining how I got through the round then can be matched to how we can use Goals and Goal Management to help us with our disease.

I am a member of the American Diabetes Association as you are aware.  Marty98 (we have handles) posted a comment a while back to someone who was struggling and Marty98 said something I could relate to - Managing In The Moment. She was discussing how she sometimes uses this just to get through the day - like okay "Now it is time to tie my shoe" and she focuses on the moment to get through it.

In golf, we call that "Managing your score, one shot at a time."  This is what got me thinking, how do we use these special techniques to help us get through our daily events and through life without this disease getting us down.

In my round of golf I was teamed with someone who would not stop talking and thought he was "Mr Know It All."  Now to a guy like me, that hurts as I know I am Mr. Know It All and I want no competition.  Not actually true but some of my close friends would find this funny.

So I was bothered the first day and shot a horrible score which took away the concept of winning.  So My goal on day 1 was to win but by the end of the day, I had a new goal - just qualify.  All along neither of those goals matched my original goal but they were the ones in my head that day.

On the second day I was paired with him again in the cart.  I was bound and determined I was not going to let him bother me.  To qualify, I had to shoot an 80 in my age bracket.  So I started off well but 3 holes into it he was getting to me again and I shot a 42 on the front side.  That meant I had to stay very clean for the back nine and shoot a score of 38 which is only 2 over par - the perfect score in golf.

As I made the turn or started to play the back nine, I tried to put myself in the moment and play one hole at a time.  As luck would have it, I boogied hole 10 and was now at the point I could only drop 1 more shot in the next 8 holes.  I was really in a bad way now and had to tighten my focus and goals.  I switched to one shot at a time and worked on taking the score out of my mind.  It was almost like "okay time to tie your shoe now."  But in my case it was I am here now and how do I get this ball in that hole in regulation.

I was successful in "living in the moment" or "one shot at a time" and it helped me reach my over all goal - qualify for Nationals.

How Does This Apply to Diabetes 

I think they are very similar in many ways and managing the "beast" within us is an every second job.  However, none of us can live that way and things do get in our way so we must be prepared to change and adopt as life throws us curves.

Blood Glucose Level

We have a meter, a finger prick, and an instant reading on how our blood glucose level is at that given moment.  We can live in this moment to decide what to do.  If it is high, maybe a little walk to bring it down is important.  If I am a little low, maybe I need to eat something.  Or maybe it is okay but I have not eaten for a while so should I consume some food or not and how much.

The meter can be used to define for us a current situation and then we train ourselves to live by the reading.

On a longer term basis, we have our A1c that is a 60-90 day average of our blood glucose reading.  I am always amazed at this knowing our bodies know how important all of this is to be able to have an average built into our blood DNA.  This helps us establish a more realistic goal - what do I want to be at the next test.  We reach this goal by monitoring our meter and making sure we monitor our blood glucose level "in the now."  It is simple then to monitor - go in, take the test, and see how we are doing with our goal.  Much like my qualifying 80, I am okay - could do better but I reached my goal.  Or maybe I did did not qualify and what can I do better the next time.

From there it is time to look at the next visit and determine what the new goal will be and how will we manage to that goal.

Life's Interfering Moments


Like my golf game, life throws things at us on a regular basis - just to keep us on our toes.  When these events hit - like our meters, we need to manage through the moment or take one shot at a time - okay breath, relax, deal with the change, and put a new course in place.

Many times people ask what I do in these situations when frustration hits, or depression comes calling, or maybe I am happy and want to celebrate.

There is no easy answer and since I am in computers and not a psychologist ,  I am not the one to answer the question.  However, I do have some things that I use to help manage through the event and stay the course:

1. Change is going to happen, learn to embrace the change and put a plan in action.  If you know the Serenity Prayer, you learn to accept the things you cannot change and change the things you can.  In simple terms, learn to know what is in your power to control and manage, the rest give it up to your Higher Power to help guide you through those times

2.  Breath or relax.  Make you first reaction to a change as taking a breath and slowing down your mind so you are in control not your emotions.  Give you mind a chance to do what it does best - rationalize what it knows and move you out of harm's way.  Often times we fight this and that causes us to stay worried as we have no plan to manage the moment.

3. When depression sits in, I have learned to identify it quickly.  I am lucky as I am not clinically depressed - so keep in mind, I am not talking to those who are.  I am talking to those of us who can manage it on our own.  Once I identify I am depressed, I get myself up and usually go exercise to get the mind and body working again.  Or I read a good book or listen to Christian music - find something that lifts you up.

I hope all of this makes sense.

May God grant us the ability to live in the moment and not think of the past and worry about the future.  May he allow us the wisdom to know how living in the moment and making each moment a success will allow us to reach our goals with success.  May he also help us set goals that make sense for us and not the other guy.

Bob,