Sunday, February 19, 2012

8 Years With Diabetes, 40 Days Without Insulin

Eight years ago, President's Day. Well, I wrote about it last year.

Diagnosed, medicated, let the roller coaster that is Type II Diabetes begin. More pills, less pills, insulin, more insulin, less insulin, and now, for almost 40 days, no insulin.

January 8 was the last day I injected myself with my daily dose of insulin. I embarked on a 21-day purification program that changed everything. While I've been off the program for several weeks now, my eating habits remain similar to when I was on the program - no bread, no processed foods, no late night eating, no big portions, exercise, every day, fish, chicken, vegetables.

Blood sugars are normal. Weight is down, way down.

Conventional wisdom is that Type II (as opposed to Type I where the body produces no insulin) can be controlled with diet and exercise. That's not always true. What's also not always true is that this is a progressive disease that cannot be reversed of controlled as the body changes.

There is no "cure" for diabetes, but there is control. There is the ability to change eating and exercise habits and rely more on the natural control of food and exercise than to just assume you must take more and more medication. Lose weight, exercise more (or start) and stop eating shit. Test throughout the day.

I hope to stay off insulin. If I can't, that's OK. I'm grateful it exists, as opposed to pre-1922 when people just died due to lack of insulin. It's not only mentally beneficial that I don't have to take it, it also saves me about $1,200 a year.

I've also started spending more time in the community. It's time for me to talk to newly diagnosed diabetics at the local hospital diabetes center about what their future holds, and I've been honored with an appointment to the Board of Directors of the Miami Chapter of the American Diabetes Association where I hope to make an impact in my home town.

If you have diabetes and feel an inability to get your head around it, I'm happy to talk to you. My experience is not something you should assume will work for you, but the notion that the only way to control it is through more and more medication is worth you debating with your own body.

Anonymous comments are welcome as long as they say something relevant and half-way intelligent and aren't a vehicle for a coward to attack someone. I trust you understand.

Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. He is the author of I Got A Bar Complaint.Share/Save/Bookmark


Kelly said...

Thanks for this! I have shared it with my Mom. I would love to see her move off of meds.

My Law License said...


Although I stopped the insulin, I do take several medications (pills) to control my blood sugar levels. Anything your Mom does should be under the care of her doctor. I have a great relationship with my doctor and he allows me to "experiment" to see what's working and what's not, because I see him every 90 days as recommended for diabetics. I think it's important for patients to challenge their medical regiment, especially if they are on a good diet and exercising routinely.

Good luck to your mom.

Dr. Todd Narson said...

Congrats in reaching day 40 Brian! Can't wait to be saying the same on year 40!


James K. Rubin said...

Congratulations Brian. When I passed you in the hall the other day you looked good. I wish you the best of health.

Lisa Solomon said...

Congratulations, Brian!

What kind of exercise and how much of it are you doing now, as opposed to before you started the purification program?

How much weight have you lost in the last 40 days?

On days when you can't get your exercise in, but are still eating right, do you find that your numbers fluctuate more or are generally worse than on days when you exercise?

My Law License said...


I do about 30-45 minutes of cardio 6 days a week at least. Prior to this I was doing it a couple days a week, sometimes 4 days. I have lost 17.2 (17.2, don't forget the .2) pounds.

When I don't exercise, my numbers are similar. I think the exercise affects my heart and general energy more than it does my blood sugar, although there is no question it lowers blood sugar as well.

Thanks for asking.

Anonymous said...

Although the tackiest part of this video is clearly the fact that Rachel calls herself "Esq." You never put that after your own name.

Kkelly said...

Dispensing medical advice while claiming that it is not medical advice seems a little cringe-worthy.
Does anyone else see the irony in this post when it's sitting directly under the Rachel Rodgers post?

My Law License said...

No Kkelly, YESTERDAY was the day for Rachel's friends to come here and try to "get" me.

Now listen, you're going to have to try harder, much harder.

And if you have type II diabetes, please consider losing weight, exercising more, and not eating shit.

If not, then go find some other blog or blog post here to try and sound intelligent on. This post is for people with a serious disease who could use some advice from someone that actually has experience with it.

Victor Medina said...

Also, kkelly, there is also that little lapse in logic in that Brian isn't a medical doctor and no one would rely on his medical advice, as much as Rachel is a lawyer and she's dispensing legal advice.

Don't let that keep you from cringing - cringe away.

Doug Johnson said...

Just found this, researching something I saw in Ethics CLE. I was diagnosed in July, 1999, which gives me thirteen years as a diabetic. One of the first things I learned is that not only do the doctors not know everything; chances are they don't know much. As a lawyer, I have to postulate that this is because they get their information from the pharmaceutical industry, and the industry has a vested interest in keeping you (me) as a customer. That said, I have found a lot of what Brian says is true. Just last week I had an argument with my doctor about whether I was really a diabetic. After we got through the standard BS about me being in denial, we discussed my reasoning which had to do with the fact that my Blood Sugar goes up after exercise. I am happy to say that he was able to explain the phenomena to me in terms of release of stored glycogen. The first doctor in thirteen years who was able to do so. So, doctor or not, listen to Brian.