Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Beginning Year 7 With Type II Diabetes

President's Day, 6 years ago, day before jury selection in a carjacking case. It had been a few days since I took the blood test. The blood test that resulted from my diabetic mother-in-law hearing that I had lost a tremendous amount of weight, quickly, was drinking sugary sodas like there was no tomorrow, and urinating constantly. She had a hunch.

While enjoying the afternoon, a voicemail came in. "Brian, this is Doctor Pefkaros (R.I.P), I need to speak to you immediately, you do have diabetes."

First thought: "I am going to die."

I called the doctor back. His first question: "are you ok?" Not was I ok with the news, but was I feeling ok? He asked because my blood sugar was 330. To you non-diabetics, it should be around 100, 140 after eating.

I felt fine. Tired actually. But I thought that was due to working. I didn't realize the sugar was making me lethargic.

I told the doctor I would be in after my trial. "NO, you'll be here tomorrow."

"I'm starting a trial tomorrow."

"No, your not."

Luckilly I knew the judge pretty well, so I called him at home and broke the news. I don't even know if he knows to this day that after my wife, he was the first to know.

After learning from the doctor that in fact I was not going to die, that I was going to live, he gave me a prescription. In 30 days my blood sugar was averaging 103.

I went to a class to learn about food, and bought every book I could find about the disease. I began an exercise regiment, diet regiment, and pill regiment. After a few years, that wasn't enough, so I cried as the doctor told me it was time for insulin.

Today, I thank God for insulin. Every day I encounter my biggest fear, a needle. I also think back to the time when there was no insulin, and people died from diabetes.

I've had my ups and downs over the past 6 years. Diabetes is a daily, hourly battle for which there is no cure. The frustrations with the disease are never ending.

It is also the best thing that's ever happened to me. I know more about food than I ever thought I would. I am healthier than ever. Diabetes prevents me from doing nothing except eating bad food (which I occasionally do), and ignoring my overall health.

I will have diabetes for the rest of my life. I was not born with it, like those that grew up with it as children, and wear insulin pumps full time (Type I), and I always keep that in perspective. I have the utmost respect for children with diabetes, for so many reasons.

The onset of Type II diabetes in the world is overwhelming. I attribute it to bad eating habits, processed food, and lack of exercise. People may differ, but that's my opinion.

The internet has made things so much easier for diabetics. Forums like, and outstanding advocates and inspirational examples like Kerri Sparling are important parts of the diabetic world.

If you think you may be diabetic, please, get a blood test, take action, make it a priority. You can live a full life with diabetes, as long as you are educated about the disease, and pay attention to your body's signals.

On to year 7.

Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. Read his free ebook The Truth About Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer. Please visit



Nathan Waddell said...

Great post Brian.

As a guy who watched his grandpa suffer through Type II diabetes most of his life, I appreciate your great outlook on the future of dealing with your disease.

Not sure what your diet consists of, but there is some evidence out there now that eating a plant-based diet can, in some cases, dramatically decrease, if not eliminate, the need for regular insulin injections. Some of this is documented in The China Study.

Good luck and have a great day.

Michael Gort said...

Great post, and well done to publicize the issue. Type II is one of the great contributors to rising medical costs as it is affecting more people than ever.

I was on the path to Type II with insulin resistance, together with several other co-morbities. I weighed 320 pounds at the time. It took surgery, but the insulin resistance and all the co-morbidities are gone. Never regretted the decision for one day.

Good luck with year seven.


mike said...

Was diagnosed 2 1/2 years ago. Knock wood, I am thus far able to control it with diet and exercise. I was not rally heavy to begin with, but fear and terror dropped 15 pounds very quickly. A lot of it is heredity. Just glad I forgot to pay a life insurance premium, and found out I was diabetic when the new policy required blood work. Stupid me, just thought I was getting old...