Posts Tagged ‘diabetes’

The Struggle of Diabetes, and Hope through Intermittent Fasting.

November 5, 2015

“Sea Eagle”, jane kohut-bartels, watercolor, 2001

I don’t write about my health…or at least I don’t remember doing so.  I have been a diabetic for around 12 years, I think, though datelines on this disease are generally hard to pin down.

Mostly I have lived in denial, or made half-baked attempts at doing something about this disease.  However, I have been seeing different diabetic doctors and frankly?  They don’t seem to really get to the root of this ailment.  At least they don’t to me, except to prescribe more and more drugs.  Perhaps this is just the state of American medicine, but I think there are so many conflicting theories out there about diabetes, heart disease, cholesterol, etc., that  it overwhelms them and patients, all of us together.

Two months ago I had an appointment with my GP.  I like him, he is a dear person, but I do think that his only real answer is more drugs. And more tests.  Five years ago I started a course of insulin and gained twenty pounds in six months on the injections.  Being then a belly dance teacher, my midriff bloated and was marked by the bruising of the daily needle.  Not an attractive sight for students or anyone looking.

I was really stressed at the weight gain and even intensive walking and dieting didn’t do much.  So I quit the insulin and the diabetic symptoms continued, though the bloating stopped.  I was rather lucky because the only outward sign of the disease was a numbness in my feet, or more so a pins and needle feeling.  At times I couldn’t touch my feet with a washcloth because of the extreme sensations. I am sure that there were more things going on inside of me, serious stuff, but I didn’t feel much of the effects.  And that is probably the problem with diabetes:  It’s called a silent killer, along with the extremely high blood pressure that seems to go along with the disease.

My sweet doctor put me back on insulin, and tried to prescribe Humalog, and other ‘stuff’ but I refused everything besides the insulin.  Metformin was ok, because it has some benefits besides diabetes, but it seems to lose its efficiency in a matter of years.

Since that depressing appointment, and the different hospital tests that I was registered for, I have done a lot more research.  I have read everything I could on the internet, plus a pile of books by different diabetes gurus I had at hand.

I needed to make a radical rupture with what I knew and what I was told by my doctors.  And within the last few weeks I see a ray of more than hope:  I see progress.

I have come to believe that the root problem for Type II diabetics is usually insulin resistance.  The body is complex but there seems to be a general path to all of this.  Or perhaps individual bodies are different, and respond in different ways, but there are some universal truths out there.

Insulin makes you fat.  I won’t repeat what I have learned through my reading, anyone diabetic can read for themselves, but giving a Type II diabetic insulin seems wrong: counterproductive.  More insulin leads to a higher Insulin Resistance, or so it seems.  It’s a vicious cycle.  I am not addressing Type I diabetics because that is of a different nature and way beyond my interest.  I am just trying to make a breakthrough in my own health and future.

For the past month, I have been following a routine of IF:  Intermittent Fasting and a relatively low carbohydrate diet.  But what I feel is of most value is the IF factor:  There are different methods to do this, some fast for two days a week and eat “normally” the remaining five days, and some fast everyday a matter of hours.  I have fallen into the latter routine.  And I see amazing results already.

I was on Victoza  for about a year and a half, but it really stopped working in my system.  Apparently my results are not unusual.  I also suffered two episodes of pancreatitis because of the Victoza (I was warned in their literature of this possibility) and didn’t want to push it.

IF works (at least for many) because we  have evolved not eating everyday, or stuffing our mouths all day.  That was the way life was:  you hunted, and if you were successful, you ate.  Otherwise, you grubbed for roots and berries. You could go for days without food.  You basically fasted more time than you had access to food.

Today?  We can supply ourselves with food at any time and at all hours. And what we are eating is modified, intensively processed and artificial.  Grains have been modified in the 60’s, especially wheat and corn.  What were slower digesting carbs now metabolize in the mouth and then in the gut.  Slow is no longer available to many of our grains. Beans are better, but are heavy, slow digesting carbs.

I ditched the insulin very recently.  I fast for 18-20 hours in a 24 hour period.  It’s easier than it seems because in doing so, my hunger seems to have dropped off in two weeks.  I try not to eat after 6-7pm at night and I don’t eat anything until 2 or 3pm.  I allow myself a 4-5 hour window of time to eat.  And I eat mostly low carb, but I do fudge on some fruit….apples, pears, mostly.

Thankfully I am asleep for most of those hours….and my sleep is better after struggling with this for many years. I do drink green teas and lemon water upon waking, but have dropped coffee…just because I am losing the taste for it.

Apparently it takes a LOT of energy to digest food.  Having a period of rest for the gut and digestion enables the body to redirect energy to other places in the body. And repair systems, cells, etc.

I have pushed myself a bit on this routine this week because of the results in blood sugar:  Yesterday, without insulin,….105….today….122.  The numbers are good to me, though the point is to get them consistently in the ‘normal’ range…..around 100 or lower.  That will come, but I am very surprised at the results so early on in this venture.  Low carb is very much part of it, but the main factor I believe is in the Intermittent Fasting.

I don’t see my doctor again until after the first of the year.  The holidays are almost upon us, but low carb is easily followed with turkey and salads, greens, butter, the wonderful stuff of eating that actually is healthy for us.  High fat, but not too much of that.

We are told (us diabetics) that diabetes gets worse as we age. Perhaps so if we continue down the paths we have been going.  I am trying to make a radical rupture with everything I think I can change and control.  Already I have lost another 5 lbs in a couple of weeks, and I haven’t tried at all.  It’s been raining here for a while, and my dogs refuse to walk in the rain.  We will see what exercise we can get when the sun starts to shine, but already, my blood pressure is much better and I have a lot more energy.  Perhaps IF is similar in effect to serious exercise.  Something to think about….

I have come to believe that Insulin Resistance is the root problem in diabetes and this isn’t addressed strongly enough by the medical community. High blood sugars are just part of the symptoms, but not the root cause of our disease. So we have to figure it out ourselves.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2015

Mimi Cat August

Mimi says “Eat mice, silly…no problems at all”.

“Bhava Yoga” and the resiliance of life….

August 8, 2014
PItcher of Moon, available from Createspace,

PItcher of Moon, available from Createspace,

Giant English Hollyhock

Giant English Hollyhock

I am amazed. Two weeks ago I lost my dear 102 year old Aunt Jean. She was the most influential person in my life. Warm, compassionate, wise, witty, when she died, I didn’t feel much. Now I know I experienced a numbness of emotion, afraid of what would happen when I ‘let go’ in grief. When my father died 24 years ago, I suffered criticism for ‘head nodding’ during this staged memorial service. That stopped me up and I was afraid. I gave too much power to a cold, self-centered woman who used power and control even at a funeral. I know now that grief, even over something so natural as (any) expression of grief….should not be corralled, denied, or controlled. I have learned something important here, and I have a lot of gratitude for those people in my life, especially the dead ones, for their support and compassion. I am grateful. Not so grateful for some still living….

I am also amazed at how the body and mind heals. It takes time, and I have had a particular arena to observe this: I am diabetic and my insurance (Humana) has informed me that I am in a ‘donut hole’. In other words, unless I pay a couple of thousand dollars and then the uninsured price (monthly) for these meds, I am on my own. Until the first of next year. In other words, the public is held up by pharmaceuticals and insurance companies who work hand in glove with them. Including the doctors that get kick backs.

At first I wondered what in hell I would do? And then, over the course of only a week, I realized the long term depression I felt had lifted. I wasn’t so damn numb anymore. And it could be traced back to the Victoza I was taking. Now? I am on my own, but it’s sort of a welcome challenge. Very tight control of what I eat and a lot more exercise. A LOT more exercise.

Last night my husband of 30 years brought home a leaflet advertising Salsa/Mambo classes. For years we both have wanted to take Argentina Tango, so we are still on the search here. But what a lovely gesture of my sweet husband to remember this! For the past week I have been working with 3lb weights and back to some belly dance movements: this has loosened me up, and my body feels better. A month ago I had a serious fall, and didn’t move much, afraid to, because of it. Now? Tango looks good. Even flamenco again, but I think that’s down the road. But I have the red shoes waiting!

As a poet, I exist in the realm of philosophical implications. I don’t think many of us can get very far away from that. My dear Aunt Jean was always so, and her letters express so much of this mindset, even to the very last one I received from her at 101 years old. I have so much to be grateful for. I have such gratitude for the presence of this stellar woman in my life.

Lady Nyo

Bhava Yoga

Morning’s roseate sky
Has been blasted away,
Branches now whirligigs
Swirl with a fierce southern wind
As windows rattle in frames.

A tattered umbrella
Shades from a relentless sun.
I listen to Bhava Yoga
The vibration of Love,
Where imagination meets
Memory in the dark.
Yet surrounding these soothing tones
The world outside this music
Conspires to disrupt, sweep away
Any centered down thought, reflection.

The fierce wind demands my attention.

Still, the pulse of Bhava Yoga
This Vibration of Love,
Draws me within,
Feeds imagination with memory,
Calls forth something as enduring as the fury outside,
And I feel the pulse of the infinite.

Our lives are lived in the spheres of
And we are like birds,
Clinging with dulled claws to
The swaying branches of life.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2014, from “Pitcher of Moon”, published by Createspace,

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