Tony lost 32 pounds; stopped taking diabetic medication; the biggest revelation to him is the fact that he never had good results with medications which also made him ill
I am 57 years old. I have always had a weight problem like everyone in my family.I maxed out at 405 pounds (6 ft tall.) During the next two years, I lost 215 pounds by researching, learning, lifestyle changes, etc. After reaching 45 years old, the weight started to creep back on and by the time I was 55, I was up to 250 (from 185). I thought, “well, that’s what happens at my age.” In December of last year, after feeling strange for several months, my sister (who has been diabetic for 25 years) tested me with her meter and my blood sugar was 491.
She dragged me to the ER (Providence Tarzana Medical Center) where I got two shots of insulin, and a meal that included turkey, gravy, a box of sweetened cranberry juice and chocolate pudding which my sister advised me not to eat. After paying the $2,400.00 tab, I was instructed to make an appointment with an endocrinologist and sent home with a prescription for Metformin, daily aspirin and no dietary advice. My sister suggested buying a meter on the way home. None of the two doctors or RN’s suggested getting a meter and testing. I started taking the Metformin as instructed.
My appointment with an endocrinologist a few days later was another eye opener. As soon as he walked into the room, without even looking at me or my meter which I brought with me with 80 stored blood sugar readings, he said “You need insulin.” Then he started to do a physical and said “You need to be hospitalized with an IV because you’re dehydrated; do you have medical insurance?” When I said “no,” he said “Get some Pedialyte and Gatorade and drink six glasses of each per day.” I asked “Don’t those drinks have sugar in them?” He said “Not really.” He gave me a prescription for “Januvia” ($400.00 for 100 tablets) and directed me to take two a day. He then handed me an 1800 calorie/day diet and disappeared.
After paying the $1,200.00 for the visit and labs, I started taking the medication as directed. After two weeks, the medication made me too ill to drive or exercise and somehow caused my intestines to become obstructed (gas or something) and I spent all night trying to go to the bathroom. Only being low on cash kept me from going to the E.R. again. I also had to get up three or four times each night to eat. I phoned the doctor several times over the next week to get a different medication, but he never returned one single call so I stopped taking the medication.
Naturally, I was afraid to eat anything because I was afraid my blood sugar would climb. At my next visit, when I told him the medication was making me sick, he said “Just keep taking it, the symptoms will subside when your body gets used to it.” He said my A1C was 8.9 percent. One week later, I found a different doctor, but my new doctor wasn’t interested in seeing me unless I paid him another $1,200.00 to repeat the physical and labs from two weeks ago even though I had a copy of my labs and he could consult with the other doctor.
I was running out of money after spending $4,000.00 in two weeks. I’m not insurable due to “preexisting conditions” – diabetes and carpal tunnel. Here in CA, an HMO has the right to deny coverage to anyone with an illness. You can imagine how stressed I was, having to choose between constant expensive medication and the illness it caused or high blood sugar with its consequences.
While doing research on the web, I came across Dr. Fuhrman’s website and ordered Eat To Live and Eat For Health and started the program. With all the weight loss/nutrition books out there from Atkins and a bunch of others, I was skeptical.
I started following the recommendations in the section “Advice for the Diabetic Patient” weighing 220 pounds on 1-8-09 – the same day I stopped taking all diabetes medication. Within three months, I weighed 195. I had new blood work completed on 4-8-09 with a new doctor. She downloaded my blood sugar numbers from my meter and said “Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it because it’s working." I explained Eat To Live, my typical meals and snacks and told her I stopped taking medication on my own three months ago. She later phoned me with my lab results: A1C: 6.0 percent which she said was in a non-diabetic range (4 - 6 percent) The improvement from 8.9 percent to 6.0 percent in 3 months on Eat To Live was far better than I expected. I would have been happy with 7.0%.
I have even found it easy to maintain these guidelines while eating out, eventhough my diabetes class educators said “If you’re diabetic, it is impossible to eat right at restaurants so try to avoid eating out altogether.” Yesterday, my family took me out to our favorite Mexican restaurant for my birthday. I had grilled vegetarian fajitas with tofu and black beans. Remembering the information in Eat To Live about fiber, I left the pasty processed rice alone, I had ONE tortilla chip, ate the whole cup of Salsa and left the flour tortillas alone. Just as stated in Eat To Live, by doing that, I had room for the grilled vegetables, mushrooms and tofu. I tested my blood sugar two hours later, expecting it to be around 180 because I overate. It was 124.
The next morning, followingt Dr. Fuhrman's suggested breakfast without processed cereal, substituting raw nuts and a diced, unpeeled apple, I was shocked to test at 78 two hours after breakfast and 30 minutes of exercise (NordicTrack cross-country skier). I was so astounded that I re-tested with another meter and it indicated 90. The biggest revelation was the fact that I HAD NEVER ACHIEVED THESE RESULTS WITH MEDICATION - Metformin and Januvia (which made me ill).
I have attended five diabetes “education” classes and I am appalled that the “Certified Diabetes Educators” constantly hand out suggested meals with eggs and toast or processed cereal and milk for breakfast, daily roast beef or turkey sandwiches for lunch and more chicken or other meat at dinner and limiting fruit to one to two day. They also teach that protein stabilizes blood sugar so it’s important to eat meat and dairy at each meal. After those dietary recommendations, she then spoke at great length about the evils of high cholesterol, high blood pressure and high blood sugar . Then she spent two hours talking about the various drugs available to treat them. I have always wondered about the notion that if you are eating the right foods, why would you need drugs to protect yourself from the damage they cause? I now weigh 188 pounds.
When I chat on WebMD’s diabetes message boards, some people with Type 2 Diabetes want to know how I’m managing my blood sugar without medication and I always tell them about www.drfuhrman.com!