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Hello Everyone,


I am new to this forum and I feel it is important to share some information about myself. Last year, approximately the same week as this one in 2017, I visited my primary doctor for follow-up concerning a standard annual laboratory blood test. The lab work is standard for me - I have been getting regular tests for the last 13 years to monitor the effects of 3 medications: irbesartan (generic for Avapro), simvastatin (Zocor) and levothyroxin. In addition, my doctor ordered a test for Hba1c; this came back at 7.2, and my doctor responded with concern. A medication was mentioned called Metformin. 


Shock, panic and fear.


After spinning my wheels for a moment, I refused the medication. Something inside me, deep within, knew this decision was important, and I should not blithely accept a diagnosis nor a pill-popping course of action. What next?


What do I know about diabetes? Not much, I thought to myself. I didn't know what it is, I mean, I knew what could happen - I knew people have have lost limbs as a result of the condition and that it involves fingertip sticks and a modified diet, pills (probably), weight gain, limited consumption of alcohol... I knew nothing. Naturally, and as an English teacher, my next course of action was simple - buy a book. 


"Reversing Diabetes" by Julian Whitaker, MD was an easy choice at my local Barnes and Noble.


Here are some of the tid-bits I know (so far) about my disease:

• I have Syndrome X and I have had it for (probably) 15 years.

• The bad dietary habits that I have developed over my lifetime are extremely hard to break although not impossible; and, I have the ability to turn things around without medication, yet each year that passes it becomes increasingly difficult. 

• The longer my blood sugar remains consistently high, i.e. in the diabetic range, the greater the chance of neuropathy. 

• Exercise will help to slow or (possibly) reverse the progression of the disease; e.g. my cells may become less insulin resistant as a result of exercise.


As I have tracked my sugar at various points throughout the day, most notably before bed and fasting (after 12 hours), it has become apparent that I am a victim of what is commonly known as the "dawn phenomenon". For instance, if I stop eating at 8:00pm, take my sugar at 12:00am, sleep for 8 hours, then, check sugar at 9:00am, I notice an increase from (let's say) 92 to 116. I know that at some point during the night, my liver releases sugar for my body to use, but my cells don't necessary meet with the insulin to take-in the sugar. I'm not sure at what time this occurs, but I am going to begin to wake and track at different times to provide my own (sort of) continuous glucose monitoring. 


After the first three months of my initial Hba1c wake-up call, ,and after a great change in dietary habits, I went from 280lbs to 252lbs and a decrease from 7.2 to 6.2 Hba1c. My weight loss continued until Thanksgiving, with a low of 243lbs. Unfortunately, I fell off the wagon a bit, and my weight slowly crept back. I lost my teaching job (May 2018) and a bit of depression set-in. By summer, my weight hit 272lbs and my Hba1c went back up to 6.7. 


I have a long road ahead of me. In recent weeks, I began to feel numbness and tingling in my left hand fingertips. I am a bass player, so needless to say, this is annoying and worrisome. In my research I discovered that I'll never regain the feeling that has been lost in my fingertips. I have begun a few changes in eating habits once again, and I am slowly losing - now at 264lbs and dropping. I'll have my blood numbers checked again in November; hopefully my weight continues to drop. There's definitely a correlation between weight and Hba1c as per my results. 


Recently, I was hired to teach in a new school this September. I've snapped out of the unemployment depression almost instantly... however, I still need help, hence I've joined a diabetes forum!



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Hi, welcome to the forum.

I'm really pleased you have a new job & snapped out of the doldrums.

Do become a regular poster here .

It will keep you on track & you will see how many have coped very nicely just by reducing their carb intake & increasing  activity.

Some  take Metformin & have good results from it.


I used to get neuropathy in my feet but not since I reduced my carbs. I hope  you get improvement in your fingers.

I'm wearing my dunce cap so I feel its ok to ask if thats a double bass you play or guitar?

Whatever, music is good for your psyche.


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@CFDoell - Welcome!  You will find a lot of good information here.  If you have any questions, ask them.  We have experienced many of the same good results you have with good diet and exercise.  Don't fall for what everyone knows.  Everyone is different and diabetes likely has thousands of different causes.  Some people here have reported that tingling/pain/numbness fades when they can get their A1c down.


There are many wonderful low carb recipes on this site.  Your "diet" is not limited at all.  In fact, I would challenge that all the starches we love in the standard western diet are limiting.  They keep us from enjoying all the wonderful things we can do with vegetable and proteins.  A style of eating that promotes cheese, butter, cream, and nuts?  Seemed too good to be true to me but it helped me a lot.


I too like to process things logically and I found this site because I believed people that live with diabetes would be the best source of information.


General rule of thumb is that non-root vegetables like zucchini, cauliflower, kale, broccoli, squash, asparagus, and so on are great for us and they taste wonderful when prepared properly.


You know you can do this because you have done it.  You can do it again.  I know you can do it because I have done it as well as others here.  We will encourage you to succeed.  I hope you decide to join us. ~ Mike

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Thanks for your response!


I should probably mention that I am a huge proponent of alternative medicine. My father battled 3 different cancers over a period of 17 years, including colon cancer, pancreatic cancer and sarcoma, without the use of chemotherapy. So, when I read about Metformin and how the FDA banned the medication in the US for nearly 20 years, I back-peddled a bit. 


I have been playing electric bass guitar (more accurately) since around 1993... never got around to buying a double bass because I haven't got the room - I began playing tuba at the same time, and those take up space as well!


The popular answer I give about types of music I play usually goes: "whatever pays the most" (LOL!)


Take care,



Edited by CFDoell

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Man, you've hit the nail right on the head! I like to revisit the phrase, "different strokes for different folks"; it really suits the diabetes dialogue and seemingly endless pool of advice (much is appreciated BTW). In my case, I treated my body like a steaming pile of dung for a long, long time. I was a (not quite starving) musician for 20 years and I barely exercised. I ate everything I wanted and spared almost nothing on my plate nor my rangetop, nor a grill, etc. Fried foods were a close friend, and greasy, fatty foods a faithful cousin. I imagined the medications that I absorbed would indefinitely prolong my appetite and provide rationale for the continued ignorance of my dietary predilection. 


I am still trying to figure out how carbohydrates work within me, how I process the sugars and how I am limited by my current level of insulin resistance. I am also struggling with incorporating exercise into my lifestyle - I am nearly completely devoid of any exercise at all. I recently began doing push-ups in the morning. I hate walking (deliberately) for exercise - I find it boring and a waste of time. But, I'm sure walking will pick up once I'm traveling through the hallways of school once again. I ordered a pair of sneakers from a website a few days ago, so we'll see how I use them...


Thanks so much for your welcoming words!



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What ever works for you is the right way.

I  support  alternative medicines but always wary of snake oil  treatments.

I admit I cringed at you taking statins but  thats because I had horrific side effects.

See, it comes under the acronym YMMV your mileage may vary.You might see that when you check your BG that you can / cant tolerate foods others can.


I'm not a musician but confess to  be excellent playing my air double bass . Sadly theres no money in it as no one needs an airplayer :))



Edited by adiantum

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Charlie - I was sedentary myself.  I weighed 313 pounds and was huffing and puffing after walking up 3 flights of stairs to my place.  I wasn't listening to my friends and family to take care of myself.  Finally, I went to the doctor and found out I had diabetes.  That woke me up.  I didn't want to lose my feet.  I have this OCD thing about my feet and the thought of losing them frightened me enough to change.


I hated ALL exercise.  I started with walking because it was all I could really do.  I set a goal of 10,000 steps a day and downloaded a tracker app for my phone.  During work, errands, whatever, those steps would count.  Then, at the end of the day, I would deliberately walk whatever I needed to make 10,000 steps.  I was sore, tired, sweating, and to hear my friend tell the story looking ready to drop dead.  I stuck to it.


Eventually as I lost weight and became more fit, it didn't take as long to walk 10,000 steps and I would try marching along to rock/pop songs.  Eventually after losing 70 pounds, I could run.  I have ALWAYS HATED running.  I still do.  I did it because I found that I could finish up faster than walking.  Eventually, I lost enough weight to try bicycling which I loved when I was younger.  I was pleased to discover it is still my passion.  I will ride my bike 2 hours to not run 30 minutes I like it so much.  As humble and boring as it can be, walking was the foundation for me.


Metformin - When I was diagnosed, the doctor prescribed me a bottle of Metformin, patted me on the back, and wished me luck.  It was depressing reading all the stuff online that said diabetes was progressive and a battle that is slowly lost.  Then I found this site which offered hope.  I used the Metformin until I got my A1c down to a non-diabetic level.  Then I tried stopping it and found I didn't need it.  For me, it was a help mentally though.  Metformin does not directly affect glucose levels but inhibits the liver from dumping glucose and helps with lowering resistance to insulin.  It can also act as a mild appetite suppressant.


While I am happy to not have to take it, I would again if needed.


I am glad you are here and I hope we can be helpful to you! ~ Mike



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Hi Charlie, welcome to the group.


Shock, panic, and fear.  Just about everyone here knows those three words so very well.  But I have to say, you have made an excellent start, even if you've hit a back slide.


It sounds like you're already getting is the concept of eating to your meter.  Testing yourself before and after meals lets you know how your body handles the foods you are eating.  This allows you to remove foods you don't react well to, add foods you do react well too, and play with some new things.  This way there is no mystery, no surprises, you are the one in control.


Medication.  Metformin is actually one of the safest meds for T2 diabetes so I wouldn't avoid it just on principle.  I am of the opinion that if it takes meds to get and keep good control then so be it.  That said, I am also a person who doesn't like unnecessary medication.  I am not the type who just likes to toss yet another pill on the pile and keep going like nothing has changed.  If you want to try this without medication, I say more power to you.  We've had a number of members here who started on medication and then stopped all together, or who drastically reduced the medication they need to take.


I started with an A1C of 10.4 and on 500mg of Metformin twice a day.  I've been bouncing around an A1C of 5.0 (range 4.8 - 5.2) for 4 years now and I've recently dropped to 500mg Metformin once a day.  If I can keep this up, I'll try dropping that last pill.  Keeping my fingers crossed.  :) 


Neuropathy:  don't be so quick to decide that the beginnings of neuropathy in your hands are indeed permanent.  Many people have not only halted the progression of complications by getting control over their numbers, but have often reversed those complications as well.  Another book I would recommend is The Diabetes Solution by Dr Richard Bernstein.  He was diagnosed as a child with T1 diabetes right after insulin was discovered.  He realized as a young man with a young family that he was falling apart.  He got his hands on the first available BG meter and started testing himself to get a better idea on what had been happening to him.  He was educated as an engineer and he approached diabetes as an engineering subject.  He eventually became a medical doctor so the medical community would take him seriously on the subject.  He specializes in treating diabetic patients.


You can read pieces of the book for free on the website.  Of everything there was to learn from it, what I got the most was hope, something I had not gotten from my doctors.  He had a number of complications from diabetes that he managed to reverse by getting control over his numbers.


Exercise:  I happen to be one of those people who loves to walk.  I put on my headphones in the evening and take off.  Its extremely relaxing for me.  I either listen to an audio book or some music and I feel like I could keep going forever.  However, there are other options out there as well.  One thing I did was to get an exercise bike for those days when the weather is just too bad to walk.  And that's a statement, I will walk in just about any weather.


Whatever you choose, the important thing is to keep it up, make it a habit.  My evening walks aren't a habit anymore, they're a compulsion.  It drives me crazy if I can't even go for a short little walk in the evenings.


Aerobic and strength exercises are both important for T2 diabetics.  Increasing your muscle mass will help improve your metabolism and make activity in general easier to do.  Aerobic is good for our hearts, burns those calories, and can also help the body burn glucose.  I bought a couple sets of barbells and some of those elastic bands that I can use at home.  Combined with biking and walking, its a pretty decent combination.


As it sounds you've already noticed, diet and lifestyle are probably the most effective methods of treatment for T2 diabetics.  I highly recommend keeping a log of what you are eating and your BG numbers in response to those meals.  This will build a list of what foods you react well to and which ones you don't.  You don't have to keep it up forever, I did for about a year.  But what you learn from it is so very valuable.


I hope you stick around.  Having a support group can be so very helpful.  We help keep one another on track, pass around ideas on how to handle difficult social situations and similar.  Feel free to ask any questions you might have.  There's a lot of first hand experience among our members here.


Also, feel free to check out our Dieting and Nutrition section.  There are a whole lot of ideas, recipes, product reviews and similar.

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