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!