I had my first appointment with an endocrinologist yesterday. While everyone was nice and no one forcibly made me take a scrip, my desire to not take insulin-management drugs keeps getting questioned. So I thought I’d explain in more detail why I’m starting this journey with diabetes by making exclusively diet and lifestyle changes, without the use of pharmaceuticals.
I know that I’m lucky that I even have this choice between drugs or no drugs. Some people, especially those with Type 1 diabetes, really don’t have working pancreases and will die without insulin and insulin management supplements. But I know deep down that I can fix this myself, and I prefer my natural, non-invasive, organic, homespun, holistic route when given the choice.
There was a time when I was thinner.
Outside of infancy and early childhood, I’ve never actually been a textbook “healthy” weight, but at one point, I was much thinner. I lost 90 pounds, and I kept it off for a few years. Though factors derailed me in the past, I am even more motivated to succeed (and prepared for it) this time around. Plus, research shows that trying and failing and trying again is a big predictor in eventual success.
My blood sugar isn’t dangerously high or low.
At 170 on the day of my diagnosis, my blood glucose level is above the normal 100, but not pushing near a level that will make me feel any ill effects or cause too much damage. If it was over 200, there’d be more cause to start me on meds right away.
A disease of lifestyle should be treated with lifestyle changes.
I believe in my heart of hearts that Type 2 diabetes is primarily a disease of poor diet and lifestyle. And I believe with even more fervor that that is how it should be cured when appropriate. I am so frustrated when the first thing out of a Western doctor’s mouth is the next prescription that’s going to fix you. Except the majority of drugs treat symptoms and not diseases, so if you don’t make actual changes in your daily lifestyle, you’ll be on drugs forever because you haven’t actually changed anything.
Drugs, for me, are not the first step. It’s the step you reach when you’ve exhausted the other ones. It’s why, during my period of depression, I saw a therapist before considering a psychiatrist. I’m in Boston, a hub for leaders in the health field, and I have yet to have one medical doctor tell me that diabetes can be successfully managed or cured through diet and exercise, and that makes me really sad. Just once, I would like a doctor to write prescriptions for vegetables and yoga first instead of pills.
Most importantly, I want this success to be mine, not the drug’s.
This may be a little selfish, but I want the credit for my success. I got my body into this mess, and I want to be the one to get it out. My endocrinologist said, “While you’ll likely have some success in lowering your A1c on your own, it won’t be near the normal target of 7.” Well, Doctor, I take that as a challenge! Do I think I can miraculously be completely healthy in just three months? Well, kinda. But like I mentioned in my very first post, I’m not being completely strict… only 80 to 90%. Because I have to live like this forever. So, no, maybe it’s not realistic to think the test could be under 7, but I expect it to come back lower than it was. And that’s good enough for me.