A t Integrative Healing and Wellness we see infants to children and adults to the elderly, each with their own set of challenges and triumphs. Our clients inspire us and this month we are honored to share Jennifer Hilling’s story about her journey to cure her son Fin of Type 1 Diabetes.
“Mommy, I love you so much”. This phrase is something that I would suspect every mom loves to hear from her child. When paired together with a stream of uncontrollable tears, mushiness and no reason behind it, (oh and did I mention this happens everyday, most of the day, for the last 2 weeks), it becomes a tad concerning. These signs, accompanied by an unquenchable thirst and a constant urge to pee, well, I knew something wasn’t right with my ever so healthy 7 year old son. After the Dr told us that it’s a virus and needs to run it’s course and these symptoms not stopping, I asked my husband to pick me up a blood sugar monitor. Trust your gut! I was right. My son’s blood sugar was upwards of 600 and his ketones were large. Press the panic button please! We called the Dr. and were advised to get him to the emergency room immediately. Within a couple hours, he was snuggled in the hospital bed, IV attached, wires all around his little body and a chart that confirmed, TYPE 1 DIABETES!!!! Release the tears!
T1 runs ramped in my family, so some might say, I should’ve expected this, but my boy, in 7 years, has been sick twice in his life. He is the most unique, inspirational, full of energy kid I know. How could he possibly have diabetes? I smothered him with hugs and kisses and assured him we will beat this. As he drifted o to sleep I gave myself permission to “lose it’. I cried, I was furious, confused, of course asked why us. But then I realized, if not us, then who? We were equipped to handle this. We will beat this “incurable” disease...together. After leaving the hospital, feeling completely overwhelmed, as I am certain most parents do in this situation, we all made a choice. A very important choice and have not looked back or lost focus since. We will beat this! We will stay positive! So my son, Finneous, decided to create his own motivational sign that he could look at everyday and know that he can do this.
So here we are, just approaching our three-month mark, and my son has been without insulin for over one month now. WHAT?! You read that right. The first month, every second of the day, I spent on the computer researching; reading articles, dissecting others experiences and came up with a plan. It is an ever-changing plan of course, but we stick to a few steady components that have really seemed to help him. So now we are at the point where my son has one insulin shot in the morning and no others throughout the day. The one shot is considered his basal insulin; it’s a very small dose of long lasting insulin. We test his sugar throughout the day, mostly before and after meals. For us, as long as we keep his blood sugar steady and within “normal” range, we do not give him insulin with his meals. We have been thrilled with the results. Below is in no way for everyone or given to us by a Dr. this is simply our story.
One...we went gluten free. Yes, everyone is doing it nowadays, but after trial and error, I have found that gluten tends to spike his blood sugar up regardless of carb count. So for us, it has proven beneficial. If you are new to the whole gluten thing, here is a quick definition for you. Gluten is a protein that is mostly found in wheat, barley, rye, oat and hybrids of these products. It is known to cause in inflammation in the body.
Two...we went organic. From vegetables to fruits, to protein, to nuts, to the ingredients I use for baking, everything is organic. Everything you eat has an effect on your body, so I figure, feed it the best, or at least the best we can. Organic can be a bit pricey, but besides being worth it, there are always ways around it. We have stopped eating out as much, which I can now use that money for organic food for me to cook. We have stopped buying processed boxed foods and goodies, so that’s more money saved. I have also discovered a program with organic farms where you can buy shares of their farm for the season. I love this idea. You are supporting a local farm and getting fresh organic food to boot. A win win, don’t you think. Plus I have found that the food tastes better now that I am learning to cook, being creative, and feeling so grateful and proud that I am providing healthy food for my family. For us, going organic goes beyond our food. We have traded all our skin care, body care, and shampoos for cleaner, safer products. The skin is your biggest organ and absorbs what you put on it very quickly into the bloodstream. The FDA has not changed regulations for products since 1938. You would be amazed at all the harmful chemicals that are put in shampoos and skin care products. So...I researched again and came across Beauty counter. What a difference this has made for us.
Three...I have added a ton more vegetables, fruit, and seeds into our diet. We do our best to eat 80/20, 80% alkaline food and only 20% acidic food. It seems to be a very doable and a healthy way of eating for us. You would be surprised at how much fun we are having. I even added vegetables to cheesecake and he devoured it.
Four...we try to keep the carbs Low Glycemic, no simple carbs or sugar. Low Glycemic carbs take longer to be absorbed into the system, keeping blood sugar levels more stable. There is no “spike”, which is harmful to anyone. A few examples of Low Glycemic foods are avocados, blueberries, peaches, lettuce greens, broccoli, nuts, and apples. The foods we avoid because they are high glycemic are pastas, breads, pancakes, banana, and raisins. There is plenty of information out there on the Glycemic Index. Keep in mind, my son is 7, so we are not perfect with this, but do the best we can.
Five...essential oils. Cinnamon oil has been known to stimulate the pancreas and the beta cells, which is super important for T1. It has also been known to stabilize blood sugar. It is very strong, so use caution. We use 1 drop of pure therapeutic grade oil with about a teaspoon of coconut oil, rubbed together and rubbed on both his feet every night. Then every morning, he gets one drop of lemongrass on one foot and one drop of geranium on the other foot. Lemongrass reduces in inflammation and supports the immune system. Research has shown that it can help restore proper operation of your organs. Geranium has been shown to lower blood sugar levels and regenerate cells. Plus the essential oils smell good and are great for brightening your mood.
Six...meditation. We try as much as we can to meditate as a family, but even when time does not permit, Fin meditates on his own every night. Meditation is wonderful for clearing and calming the mind, learning to focus on the now, and gives you a chance to recite affirmations. So for Fin, reciting what he is grateful for plus “I am healthy’ over and over again as he drifts o to sleep, not only makes him feel better, but is continuing his belief that he will beat this. Your body tends to do what your mind believes.
We have been very fortunate in our journey because Fin has complete faith in me and his ability to heal. He has willingly given up so many of the foods he used to love because he knows they will not heal him. Don’t get me wrong, he is 7, so we have our challenge days for sure, but he has come to realize that when he decides to “splurge” and eat a treat, he doesn’t feel good. So we have been lucky that he doesn’t ask to splurge often.
Again, this is only our story. Every child and circumstance is different, so please work with your doctor on what is best for your child. I wish you all the confidence and strength in moving forward in your journey with your child. I hope you find some of this information that has worked for us works for you as well.
Sincerely, Jennifer Hilling