Courage Ambassador: Rachel Collins
It’s difficult to pick a starting point in regards to writing about my health and its accompanying problems. I would tend to describe myself as a healthy, vibrant, loving, thrill-seeking, adventurer, and deifier-of-odds. I want to live life to the fullest.
However, it hasn’t always been the easiest. In a nut shell: I was diagnosed with Juvenile diabetes (type-1) at age 10. I braved multiple hospital stays as a teenager for Diabetic ketoacidosis – a life-threatening problem that affects people with diabetes. At 19, I showed the beginning signs of kidney disease known as nephropathy. At 22, I began multiple eye surgeries for advanced diabetic retinopathy. More recently I experienced infertility and two high-risk pregnancies, both of which resulted in a life-threatening HELLP syndrome.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
This bible quote began to give me self-power when I first started consulting with Dr. Alana Berg. I have spent the last 25 years consulting with doctors – family doctors, endocrinologists, dieticians, eye surgeons, obstetricians, hospital doctors and nurses, diabetic educators, specialists, and counsellors. In a round-about way, they all tell me the same thing “if YOU controlled your blood sugars better, YOU wouldn’t be sick”. If only it was that easy.
In the past, my doctors have helped to treat various symptoms while they wait for ME to fix my erratic blood sugars. My life has revolved around insulin and my diet.
Then five years ago I began consulting with Dr. Alana. Primarily, this was as a last resort as I really wanted to have children but had been told I was not healthy enough to carry a baby to full term without a multitude of complications for both myself and my child.
My first visit with Dr. Alana began with her explaining her role as a “detective”. She would investigate and listen to my body and it would give her the causes of all my symptoms. Dr. Alana asked me to give her one year. She felt confident that in one year she would be able to get me and my blood sugars under control. She felt in one year, I would be healthy enough to get the go-ahead to get pregnant.
One of the biggest things I discovered was that food is a stressor in my body; not enough to cause an allergic reaction, but stress nonetheless. The more stress in my life, the more cortisol my body makes. The more cortisol my body makes, the more I weigh. The more I weigh, the more insulin I need to take. The domino effect in action!
I learned that my personal stress can be managed in two ways. Through diet and perspective.
I am in charge of what goes in and so in turn can be in charge of my body and my mind’s responses.
My initial healing began with prayer that projected a physical feeling of healing in my body. Then Dr. Alana began investigating and finding imbalances and illnesses in both my body and mind. Subsequent visits brought a breakthrough of healing and discoveries.
With the grace of God, I set out on a path to change my whole life. I regulated and controlled my blood sugars, I acquired an insulin pump, I lost weight, and I became healthy enough to get the go-ahead to become pregnant.
I think it was about 10 months later that I took my first pregnancy test and it came back positive! It was the best New Years eve surprise for my husband. In fact, he could barely believe it because I had been sick for so long.
During my first pregnancy I was the healthiest I have ever been in my life! Generally speaking, type-1 diabetics do not do well while pregnant. I was a fantastic case of “out of the norm”. My blood sugars were great.
During my last week of pregnancy, I developed HELLP syndrome and then preeclampsia. After being induced and 38 hours of labour, I had an emergency C section. Despite the crappy end, my blood sugars stayed true and steady. I spent a whopping 4 days in the hospital and then they kicked me out. A great testament to my level of health! After my prescribed 6 weeks of down time I was right back to where I had been pre-pregnancy.
My second pregnancy began 13 months later. This round was fairly similar to the first with the exception that I had terrible morning sickness which lasted almost the entire pregnancy which meant I had a more difficult time controlling things. Although rare, I did develop HELLP syndrome again. My recovery time was much slower. It took 18 months to get back to my pre-pregnancy condition and I battled postpartum for nearly 10 months. By the time I was healed enough to battle my postpartum, it was just that, a battle!
The scripture “power and of love and of a sound mind” is the link to how God wants to see our body, heart, and soul…a powerful body with the ability to be healthy, heal and overcome. A heart that is not broken or strained, but full and overflowing. And the ability to think, reason, understand, choose good. I, with God, can be in charge of my whole health. The three…body, heart, and soul linked together.
Out of this scripture and from my health journey, I have learned that what is most important to me is:
- God’s perspective for my life…when my world revolves around me, it implodes. But when I revolve around God and His plans for my life, I excel, succeed, and prosper.
- To have a positive outlook on everything…Jer 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord…Otherwise it is too easy to become the victim (when evil comes against me, God plans for good to come from it).
- To realize the power of my words and what I spend my time focusing on the most.
I will always be on a health journey.
There is no end to the journeys of our lives until we die. Until that time, I will continue to pursue God and His plans for freedom for myself and others. I will enjoy my family. I will enjoy being a mom. I will enjoy being a wife. I will continue on with my entrepreneurial attitude towards all life’s adventures. I am a foster parent and will continue to fill my house with children’s laughter, equipping little humans with the skill, abilities, and opportunities to be memorable, amazing, loving, world-changing people. I will keep travelling the world. I will always have passions, interests, and hobbies. I have heard God’s call and so I will enjoy my life. I will be in charge of my mind, body, and soul.