I was born a healthy baby, but a disastrous reaction to a DPT shot when I was five months old put me into a coma. I nearly died, but I didn’t. My will to live was too strong. However, when I came out of the coma, I had cerebral palsy and a learning disability, dyslexia. Those stayed with me all my life, but despite them, I had a successful career as a dance teacher and fitness instructor.
Most of the time, I was energetic and enjoyed life. Then I lost my get up and go. I didn’t want to exercise, which was not like me. I felt lazy and listless, and I had a fungal infection I couldn’t heal. Despite overwhelming fatigue, I wasn’t sleeping well. I was miserable, sitting on the couch, too sluggish to get up, watching daytime TV.
After working diligently all my life, I found myself in a sobering situation. I thought I had everything under control, but I didn’t. Homeopathy and other alternative therapies were having little effect. I tried to get up and do the things I had done before, but I couldn’t. It wasn’t a question of willpower or intention. My body was seriously ill.
So I did what I do best. I became more mindful and proactive. I looked inward and asked myself, what do I do now?
Dr. Number One
I got up my nerve and made an appointment to see my medical doctor for an examination. Why didn’t I do this first thing? Because my body reacts to most western medicines. I swell up. I feel horrible. They don’t heal me. Natural remedies work better for me, so I won’t see an MD unless it’s an emergency. This was.
She said I had a yeast infection. Not a cause for joy, but at least it was something doctors could cure. During the same visit, I agreed to some necessary blood work and found out my A1C was off the charts. Out of control. That explained everything—No wonder I was feeling so awful. Even though I wanted to be told I was all right, I knew I wasn’t. The A1C test confirmed my fear. I had raging diabetes. I had ketoacidosis and needed to inject insulin.
The diagnosis was grim enough, but the way she said it really hurt. It was like she was proud of it. Now I had to do whatever she said, or I’d shrivel up and die.
I knew about diabetes because many of my immediate relatives had it. Back in the 1960s, we didn’t understand everything diabetes entailed. No one knew it affected the kidneys, brain, and heart. My information was out of date, but I knew I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life on insulin and other drugs while I became obese and eventually died in misery.
Frightened to my core, I released what she said and empowered myself. I took control of my feelings and lightened my spirit as I prepared a plan of action.
Dr. Number Two
First, I changed doctors. But it was the same story, though without the emotional bruising. My new MD looked at my medical records and immediately pushed blood pressure medication on me.
I have had white coat syndrome for years. Every time I get ready to go to the doctor’s office, a nervousness takes over my body. I say my affirmations silently as I drive my car, but no matter how hard I try to release my mind and body, the sensations get worse. The last ten years, it has gotten more intense, not better. My heart pounds. I tremble. My blood pressure jumps. That is white coat syndrome. Maybe you have it too.
Because of this, I always have high blood pressure when a doctor checks it. However, it was now way high. Way beyond white coat syndrome. I had to bring it down before I got a stroke or heart attack.
At that moment, it was all I could do to look at her without contorting my face. My bubble of distrust was ready to explode. The appointment ended a few moments later. Walking to my car, I calmed myself, breathing slowly and deeply. I had to find sound techniques that would not set off reactions. I couldn’t continue like this.
When I got home, I didn’t take the medicine she prescribed. Instead, I did some meditation and visualization. The following day, I looked online. Within minutes, I found a research-proven method that was natural and would lower my blood pressure. I tried it, and sure enough, it worked. It was so easy. I took warm baths, and they lowered my blood pressure. Why couldn’t she tell me about that after I was so straight and honest with her? I couldn’t go back to this doctor either.
Dr. Number Three
I had to do more than get back control of my life. I had to get my health back! So I pressed on. Got with it. And made a start. I allowed myself to feel my feelings, write them down, burn them, and release them so I wouldn’t stay hurt and angry. I had to find peace of mind within my being.
I followed up on the referrals Dr. Number One had made. She was not a bad person, and I know she didn’t mean to upset me with her tone of voice when she said I had diabetes. Maybe she was afraid I would ignore the dangers because I was trying to project a nonchalant attitude, so I didn’t explode with panic. She said I should see an endocrinologist and a dietician. The endocrinologist was an expert on diabetes, and the dietician would help me eat healthier. I took her advice and went to see them.
The endocrinologist was very straight with me. I needed to inject insulin. When I got my numbers down into a safe range, I could stop. He spoke truth to reason, unlike some other doctors, so I knew I could trust him. I told him about my sensitives to drugs, herbs, and foods. I needed to have another healer check me for insulin to make sure I wouldn’t react. If she said okay, then I would take it. It took a while to get an appointment with her, and then it took time to get the insulin prescription filled and get a blood sugar monitoring device.
The dietician made only one recommendation—eat protein with fruit instead of eating fruit alone. The protein would keep the fruit from spiking my blood sugar. She thought my diet was otherwise healthy.
I forced myself to exercise every day, but it took several weeks to get anywhere close to my regular exercise routine. I also began several herbal medications. It was three weeks before I could get the insulin prescription filled, get the blood sugar monitor, and get confirmation insulin was safe for me. During those weeks, my body did not respond well. It reacted to the herbs. My numbers fluctuated as I tried eating foods my research said might reduce my blood sugar level. But as soon as I started the insulin, it kept my sugars in the safe zone most of the time. However, they still spiked when I exercised and in the morning. I wanted them an even 100 like they are in a healthy person.
I joined OA in 1971, but it did not work for me. I actually put on weight with it because I couldn’t handle the strict food plan and binged on and off for ten years. That would mess up anyone’s metabolism.
The foods I ate for the last thirty-five years were healthy. Three fruits a day and three unprocessed grains a day, plus my protein and veggies. I wasn’t eating badly. Something in my body just switched on the red light. All my relatives who have diabetes got it in their early forties or late thirties. So I must have been doing something right to avoid it until my seventies.
It was not unhealthy food, but that I could not metabolize carbohydrates normally. This was determined by my DNA and illustrated by my family history. That played the most significant role.
Paleo and Carnivore
At that point, my blood sugar was in the normal range most of the time. My blood pressure had normalized too. I would not dry up or have a stroke anytime soon, but I still did not feel great. I felt better, but not normal. There had to be a better solution than taking insulin.
A friend was worried about me. He knew something was wrong because I had stopped taking part in activities I used to enjoy. I had almost given up on writing and stopped communicating. He asked what was up, and I told him. I’m so glad I did. He told me about his own family. Diabetes all over the place. Then he told me what he did to keep from getting it. He eats the Paleo Diet and mostly carnivore. He emailed me some links about these ways of eating, and I thought, “Mama! Mama! This is how you raised me and my sister.”
Growing up, we ate lots of veggies, some fruit, and as much meat as we wanted. Bagels were a treat, not something we ate every day. Mama fed us a diet that kept me slender and healthy. Then, when I grew up and moved out on my own, I adopted a more standard American diet. That was when I began putting on weight, even though I was a fitness and dance teacher. I led exercise classes and danced every day, but I still put on the pounds. Of course, I eventually got diabetes. The food I ate gave it to me. Just like a high-carb, low-fat diet has for millions of people.
Two months later, I am pleased to say, My blood pressure is normal and so are my sugars. I still have diabetes, but I have it under control. It does not control me. I have to watch my sugars, but I changed my outcome because I caught it in time, and I poured effort into getting well. As a result, I have my essence back. I had to believe I could do this at the core of my being. So it was done unto me as I believed. Once again, with all due respect, I fooled the doctors. I healed myself and have the respect of one doctor.
To conclude, a diagnosis of diabetes does not have to be a death sentence. You can beat it. Remember, if Karen can do it, you can do it, too!