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Thread: Issue

  1. #1

    Issue

    Hey everyone, I have not contributed in a very long time on this board although I think about doing it almost everyday. I have moved to a different state (FL) and am now closer than ever to 2 Sanghas, I am looking to start sitting with one of them. My issue is that my health has deteriorated a little and my blood sugar goes all over the place. I am eating healthier but my concern is when I decide which Sangha to sit with and a Sesshin comes up, having to eat every 2 hours seems like it would throw off mine or others sitting. Has any one else had to deal with Hypoglycemic issues while practicing in a retreat? I am looking for helpful tips on how to address and handle this as I am ready to really come back to practice. I know in the grand scheme of things this should be something to just deal with and not let it affect anything. However, I am trying to be courteous as I can be to other people.

    Gassho,
    Damian

  2. #2

    Re: Issue

    Hi Damian,

    I would be surprised if any teacher/leader would have an issue with your dietary needs.

    Simple solution: Healthy snacking in the ample break periods during any Sesshin. Nobody will know or care if you sneak a protein bar or whatever you need during the rest breaks, kinhin intervals or as you need. If you get weak while sitting, get up and leave the room if an emergency.

    In fact, although clergy in South Asia do not take meals traditionally past the noon hour, that rule is not followed in colder climates, where folks did more physical labor, and thus needed extra calories as "medicine". Also, the Buddha and all the "Monastic Rules" allowed extra food, even meat eating, for sick monks in the infirmary.

    In other words ... it is not an issue. May you be healthy and at ease in all your ills.

    Gassho, J

  3. #3

    Re: Issue

    Thanks Jundo, I am really concerned because I have had 2 attacks since coming to Florida in April and one of them if my Girlfriend was not home and heard me call for her I don't know what would have happened. I apparently passed out and convulsed all over the bathroom floor but luckily before that happened she shoved 4 glucose tablets in my mouth. I am still trying to get a handle on all this, it seems like my blood sugar is fine most of the time and then it just suddenly drops. I have not had an attack since then as I made a promise to keep up on it and check my blood sugar often (had to get a meter). I am still in the discovery faze and am trying to see what causes my attacks. I know stress does have an impact. I am looking forward to contributing, and I have missed everyone.

    Deep Gassho,
    Damian

  4. #4

    Re: Issue

    As a diabetic, I know where you are coming from. If the retreats are far from home or you will stay in the place where the retreat is , be prepared. Same as if you were travelling or going camping. Take care of your health.

  5. #5
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    Re: Issue

    Hi Damian,

    I don't really have anything to add, I just wanted to say it's good to hear from you. I hope your health improves.

    Ron

  6. #6

    Re: Issue

    Hi!
    I now little on the subject, above all in the context of zen retreats, but I think Jundo gave useful advices! Anyway, you are the one who feel things as they are... so take care and "listen to your health".
    Take care!

    gassho,
    Luis/Jinyu

  7. #7

    Re: Issue

    Let me just add that you should let the teacher/leader know, and not keep it a secret. I am sure the teacher will be encouraging. and it would be worse to surprise the teacher with this during the retreat I have assisted at retreats with, for example, diabetics, a person who had had a major transplant and folks with other like conditions, and it was not an issue. We were prepared if anything happened, and someone at the retreat who was a nurse in the Sangha was prepared too.

    I have never heard of research that Zazen directly has effect on blood sugar, or can trigger such an attack. However, if you feel yourself having an attack during Zazen ... STOP! Immediately do what you need to do. Sit when you are feeling better.

    When we have our two-day "online" retreats this is an issue too. If there is any suspicion of a serious health issue flaring up, or an "attack", during the retreat ... STOP! Also, it is best to have someone close by during the retreat to check in on you to make sure all is well. As well, get a check up and a doctors okay to participate if there is any question at all.

    This may be a good time to repost this ... about when to "sit with" pain and discomfort, and when to move ...

    viewtopic.php?p=10701#p10701

    Gassho, Jundo

    PS - My very unscientific research turned up one study on Meditation (in this case, TM) and blood sugar ... That study may point to other studies on the issue ...

    [A] report in the June 12 [2006] issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. ... Overall, of the 103 participants who were enrolled, 84 (82 percent) completed the study. At the end of the trial, patients in the Transcendental Meditation group had significantly lower blood pressure; improved fasting blood glucose and insulin levels, which signify reduced insulin resistance; and more stable functioning of the autonomic nervous system.
    http://www.totalhearthealth.info/press/jama.html

  8. #8
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
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    Rochester, NY, USA
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    4,941

    Re: Issue

    Quote Originally Posted by rculver
    Hi Damian,

    I don't really have anything to add, I just wanted to say it's good to hear from you. I hope your health improves.

    Ron
    Ditto...good to see you! My wife is diabetic so I can relate. Actually, during our Rohatsu retreat in '09 my wife had an episode while I was at the other end of the house sitting zazen. It could have been very scary had she not made it up the stairs to get me...and she was pregnant at the time! People have offered very good advice so I have nothing to add, other than what I said above...very glad to see you here.

    Take care!

    Gassho,
    Dosho

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