Diabetes. A world of possibilities coverThis is the first part of my book “DIABETES. A world of possibilities”, which I’m publishing here for free. You can access all the chapters here.

It’s seven in the evening, and I’m on my way home after a long day working in the office, located an hour away. I try to take advantage of the time in the train reading a magazine or checking my emails on the smartphone in order to have it done when I get home. But something will not let me continue with the task. My eyes are closing, as if they weigh 20 pounds each. I try to keep them open, because I want to use that time. My body is stronger, and wins. I close the magazine or turn off the phone, and I surrender to the demands of my body. I close my eyes all the way to the station.

When I arrive at the station, it’s pretty clear to me that I have high blood sugar, since I’m feeling so tired. I decide to walk from the train station to home, instead of taking the bus, which would leave me comfortably at the front door. Since I have been sitting most of the day, 15 minutes walking would do well, I tell myself.
Under normal circumstances, it would be the wise decision. But having high blood sugar, exercise could raise it even more. I take the risk and I walk.

Finally, I get home. I open the door, and even though I’m glad to see my two children and my wife after all day out, I can not express it, nor do they notice the joy on my face. In those moments, I feel completely empty inside, as if I had neither blood nor muscles, bones, soul—nothing. At the same time, my legs seem to weigh as much as a locomotive.

My kids want to play with me during the little time they have before dinner, and I also want to, but I just can’t. My body just wants to sit on the couch. My mood at such moments lies on the floor. I try my best until we put the kids to sleep. I’m glad the kids are in bed, yet I feel guilty because I also wanted to spend quality time with them, the little time that I had for them. I want to, but I can’t.

Since it’s dinner time, I check my blood glucose and see what I expected: a three-digit number beginning with 2. While on the one hand, I hate to see that figure, on the other hand, I feel somewhat relieved, thinking that I’m not a bad dad or a bad husband, but my body’s biology has conditioned this moment this way. I try to accept it as something that I can not change at that moment, and I wait until the injected insulin makes its effect, lowers blood glucose, and I can get back to being myself.

I wanted to start the book telling how my day is with high blood sugar, so you can see, dear reader, that I know how you are feeling living with diabetes.
And if you’re not the one who has diabetes, but a family member or a friend, now you know a little better what might be going on within them. Living similar experiences, or having similar symptoms, makes us feel closer. So I want you to know that I write this book from the bottom of my heart, understanding and sharing your sufferings and experiences.

Now that the negative part of the disease, or at least one of the negative aspects, is on the table, let’s see how we can live healthier, make sure that these situations are the exception and not the rule, or, if possible, reverse the symptoms of diabetes to enjoy a healthy life again.

If you followed my evolution with diabetes on my website, you probably saw that, early on, I started with a somewhat extreme position against allopathic or traditional medicine, or at least was quite critical. Although I still have the same critical attitude towards the conventional medicine, for being so narrow-minded concerning other forms of natural treatments and the lack of importance given to food, I have softened my position a bit.

I think it’s very important that people dare to question and have a critical attitude of any type of medical treatment offered to them, including the „untouchable“ tradicional allopathic medicine.

Governments, media, schools, universities, and even parents have educated us in a way that when something happens to our bodies, we go directly to the doctor and accept the advice, diagnosis, and treatment offered, as if it was a sacred word. We don’t question. We don’t research. We do not ask for a second opinion. We just blindly accept it. This way, we put our health and our lives entirely in the hands of the physician, who can be right with his diagnosis and treatment, but he can be wrong, as well.

Possibly, there is another treatment for us that is much more successful, cheaper, more natural, and with fewer side effects, which would improve our health as well or even better than the allopathic method; but, since allopathic medicine does not know those other treatments, they don’t offer them to you. Worse yet, they reject them without knowing them, because that’s what they were taught in college.

Naturopathic or alternative medicine is not infallible and exempt from criticism, either. On the one hand, some alternative treatments (like many allopathic ones) have a disproportionate price to what it costs to produce and distribute it. It’s a shame, because if they charged a more fair price, a lot more people would try them and could improve their health, in the event that such products actually work.

On the other hand, the same treatment doesn’t work for everyone. Every body is different, and the same disease or symptom may have had different causes in different people. Therefore, the treatment should also be different.

I guess I was influenced by the way my parents raised me, and by witnessing the success of practical cases of natural medicine, like when my grandfather was hospitalized with gangrene in the big toe. Doctors had already set a date for the amputation of the toe, but my mother, during that time, was placing fenugreek poultices on his toe—of course, with the critical look from docs. After a few days, noticing that the state of the toe was getting better, doctors decided not to cut yet. A few weeks later, my grandfather was walking perfectly again, with all toes where they belonged and healthy.

This difference in approach of the two medicines, one hiding, cutting, or amputating symptoms, and the other removing the cause of the symptoms, increased my respect much more for the natural medicine than for the allopathic.

In my opinion, neither of the two types of medicine is the panacea, and neither has the absolute truth. One is suitable for some cases, and the other is more suitable for other cases.

The process that I follow when I have any symptoms or illness I consider important is:

  1. I look for information about this symptom and its possible causes on the Internet.
  2. If I consider it important enough, I go to my doctor to get her diagnosis, and the treatment she thinks would be appropriate (in most cases, pills or vaccines to stop the symptoms, but not something going to the root or cause of symptoms).
  3. If the treatment that the doctor has given me does not convince me, I turn to the internet or books to research if there are other treatments available, whether natural, allopathic, holistic …
  4. I choose the treatment that my research and intuition tell me can help more in each case, and which has the fewest side effects.
  5. I try such treatment for a period of time to see how my body reacts. If it reacts well, I keep it. If I don’t have a positive reaction or react badly, I test with another treatment. This is easier said than done, since with some treatments you notice a worsening of the symptoms, a sign that the body is eliminating what caused the symptoms, and then the symptoms slowly improve after the toxins or whatever that were adversely affecting our body have been removed. So, I recommend that this be done in consultation with someone experienced in the treatment.

The problem is when an illness appears suddenly (although our body usually gives us some signals with symptoms before), as with type 1 diabetes. In these cases, you have to act fast, especially if we have too high or too low blood sugar.

This is where traditional allopathic medicine has its strength: quickly stopping the symptoms. But, once the blood sugar levels are stabilized, and while still with the suggested treatment (usually insulin, diet, and exercise), there is nothing keeping us from investigating and trying other things, as long as it is done with great care, knowing how our body reacts to hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia, and if possible in consultation with a specialist who supports us in this process.

I do not recommend to suddenly stop an allopathic treatment to try something else. It is better to slowly introduce it and, if the body reacts well, use less insulin or pills gradually, if possible, with the permission of your doctor.

In summary: I get the „official“ diagnosis and treatment for the symptom. I search for alternatives, and consider the opportunity cost of accepting and not accepting the „official“ treatment (side effects, probability of long term improvement, costs…) and I decide what I think is better in each case.

As you can see, this requires involvement in the healing process, taking an active role, and being responsible for your own health. At the end of the day, who might want to enjoy a healthy life more than you?

Finally, I conclude this introduction by saying that I have written this book using colloquial language for two reasons. I’d rather stick with the type of communication I’ve used on my website for the last 5 years—that is, as if I was speaking directly to you, the reader. On the other hand, I know what it means when the specialists and doctors talk to you in a too technical way that no one can understand. I decided to write this book in a way that anyone can understand.

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