On March 31st 2015 I found myself on a stretcher staring up at the ceiling of the ER at NYC’s Weil Cornell Medical Center. I arrived here after being told at a nearby urgent care center, where I’d gone after work for upper abdominal pain, that I was in DKA ( Diabetic Ketoacidosis). My blood glucose was around 400mg/dl, my vision was blurry, and besides this persistent abdominal pain – I just felt “ill” in a way I had never felt before. Although I had never had a diagnosis of diabetes, not even gestational, here I was at the age of 43yrs, in a state of glucose toxicity, and with a diagnosis that seemed to come out of thin air. But I wondered, had it really come on so suddenly?
Sadly, although I was both numb and surprised to find myself here, I was not terribly shocked . As I reflected back on the last 3 yrs all I could see was grief and suffering with the caring and passing away of my sister Catherine from metastatic breast cancer after a 2yr battle. As a matter of fact , March 31st 2015 was the one year anniversary of my sister’s own admission to the hospital just days before she passed away. 3 months after her death, my 89yr old father succumbed to … what was it ? a broken heart?.. and passed away as well. I suddenly came to terms with how over the past 3 yrs I had loved, wept for, and loss both the people who had influenced me more then anyone else ever had or would. My sorrow over my sister’s loss especially, coupled with long hours at work and young children home, caused me to stop caring for myself . I went on automatic in my grief, grabbing anything to eat and not even thinking of exercise . Sleep was an every night battle and I was simply existing in a state of mourning. Considering these things I now understood that while I thought I was soldiering on … in reality I had wreaked havoc with an already stressed mind and body.
As I pondered these things that night in the ER, the MD’s debated over whether or not I had Type 1 or 2 diabetes. I however did not wonder. You see my family has a long history of being riddled with autoimmune diseases of every sort and so I knew instinctively that it was Type 1. My only question was , could my grief and self neglect in the matter of just 1 yr have triggered this? Or had it been my destiny all along and the perfect storm of events had occurred to turn the inevitable genetic keys? None of the mainstream conventional MD’s then or after could fully answer either of these. As I resigned myself to a lifetime of insulin pumps and finger sticks I found myself increasingly interested in what exactly had happened at the physiological level that had provoked my genetics predispositions. This interest became a passion when both my young children ages 6 and 8 began to show signs of their bodies own defense mechanisms firing up. I went from researching online the cause of autoimmune diseases where I began to understand that this did not come upon me like a bump in the night – that there was a process that had been evolving years before that ER visit. I also began to understand that it was not my “destiny” for these genetic glitches to ignite at 43yrs but rather the lifestyle choices I had been making and how it surprisingly related to my Gut. Understanding this was empowering because now I knew I could improve not only my own health, but also alter the course of my families legacy of debilitating diseases with my own children. I then enrolled in IFNA (Integrative and Functional Nutrition Academy) an online master’s level program in which I have studied the root causes of chronic diseases. I’ve committed myself to learning a different sort of medical model then the one I was trained in as a Nurse Practitioner. My hopes is that this blog will capture that and decipher it in a way that you too will find benefit from this knowledge, as we walk together on this journey to wellness.