I have considered sharing this story for a long time. It is a tale of how after a stressful time in my life, I was diagnosed with diabetes and then was able to help myself without any medications. I reversed my diabetes with a healthy Ketogenic Lifestyle and exercise.
It seems appropriate to share my experience at this time, when people all over the world have been adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Infections are always challenging for people with diabetes that isn’t well-controlled. Early studies have shown that about 25% of people who went to the hospital with severe Covid-19 infections had diabetes. I have been a practicing periodontist for over 30 years. I know from observation and experience, that people with high blood sugar do not heal well. I have educated and helped many patients over the years, but it never occurred to me that I would find myself in the position of being diagnosed with diabetes.
As I watched the Space X launch this afternoon, I got the courage and inspiration to share my personal story of recovery. My hope is that this story will help my patients, and those who read my blog.
The story starts in February of 2015, during the last days of my mom’s life. It was February 8, 2015 when I arrived to the hospital in Illinois. My mom was in the ICU on a ventilator, due to complications after a heart valve replacement surgery. I won’t go into all the details, but she passed away on February 20, 2015. During that twelve day period, I never left the hospital building. It was a surreal experience because I had never lost anyone so close to me before. I had taken for granted that my mom would be around for a very long time. The thought of her passing away had never even crossed my mind. This was the most shockingly traumatic incident of my life.
When I returned home to Texas, I was very sad so I had a hard time sleeping. I had many times read and heard, that having a glass of wine a day is good for you. I had never been much of a drinker, and I also did not have a sweet tooth. I ate more healthfully than most people I knew, and I had always exercised on a regular basis. I was 54 years old and weighed 155 lbs with a height of 65 inches. I was about five pounds overweight, but I thought I was fine considering my age.
I started drinking a glass of wine with dinner. It helped me relax. I was able to sleep much better. I continued to do this until February 25, 2019.
I also have a thyroid condition, and have been taking thyroid hormone replacement for over 20 years. Every year I get blood tests, to check my thyroid levels, so that the doctor can adjust the dose of my thyroid medication. Usually the doctor also orders other tests, including fasting blood sugar (FBS). Normal FBS is between 80 and 100. Every year my FBS was around 85, so my doctor and I had no concerns about my blood sugar. The doctor did not do an A1C test, so I don’t know what my A1C was. An A1C test is a blood test that reflects your average blood sugar levels over the past 3 months. Normal A1C for people without diabetes is between 4 and 5.6. If you are a diabetic, the goal is to keep your A1C below 7.
On February 27, 2015, just a week after my mom passed away, I had my usual blood tests done. My FBS was 87. On March 3, 2016, about a year later, again I had my usual tests done. My blood sugar was 105, slightly elevated for the first time in 20 years. My doctor wanted to do an A1C test, but I wouldn’t let her. In 2017, when it was time to do my blood tests, I found another doctor. He told me that since I was healthy, he only wants to order a thyroid profile test. As a result, in 2017 and 2018 I did not have my blood sugar tested.
Then on February 25, 2019, my dad got ill while he was visiting me in Texas. I took him to my doctor. Since I was already at the doctor’s office, I asked him to do my yearly blood tests. I asked him to do a full blood panel, including my blood sugar. It was the middle of the afternoon and I had eaten about an hour ago, so the blood sugar test was a random blood sugar not a FBS. Usually, the blood sugar reading is higher after eating.
After visiting the doctor, dad and I went to the grocery store. I was just loading groceries into the car when the doctor called my cell phone. I was surprised to receive the call. He said that he is calling because there is one very alarming blood test result he wants to talk to me about. I said to my doctor, “Is my dad okay?” The doctor replied: ” Its your blood test I want to talk about. Your blood sugar level is 406 and your A1C is 14.6.” I was sure it was a mistake. I insisted that it was a mistake. My doctor told me to buy a glucose meter to check my FBS in the morning, and then to call him with the test result. He was nice enough to give me his cell phone number.
The next morning, I checked my FBS. It was 284. That is through the roof. I called my doctor to let him know. He insisted that I come back to the office right away for an emergency insulin shot. I said: “No. I am just going to cut out all the starches, sugars and alcohol from my diet.” The doctor told me that it will be very difficult for me to get my blood sugar under control without medication because my FBS and A1C are so high, especially for a person who is only slightly overweight.
I decided that I did not want to go the medication route. I am a very disciplined person. I set a goal and I just go for it. That’s just who I am. So I cut out all the carbs and gave up the nightly glass of wine. I knew that I would lose weight as a side effect of doing this, so I upped my workouts and added extra weight training to build muscle so that my skin would not sag. At age 58, I was afraid that my skin would sag.
Almost anything one eats, can raise insulin and blood sugar levels. So I decided to eat two meals over an eight hour period and then not eat anything for 16 hours. The 16 hour fasting period allows the body to get rid of the sugar.
I did my diet and exercise program for three weeks, checking my blood sugar every morning. I consumed nutrient rich, organic food and drank a lot of water. At the end of the three week period, I had lost 10 pounds and my FBS was cut in half to 142. Still above 100, but so much better. I called my doctor to let him know.
At this point, a friend of mine noticed that I had lost weight, and asked me what I was doing. I told him my story. He said: “You are doing the Healthy Keto and IF program by Dr. Eric Berg.” I told him that I didn’t even know what that was. He gave me Dr. Berg’s booklet “Get Healthy to Lose Weight”!
I read the booklet and got valuable information to help myself. I kept up my exercise, and continued with my new Keto/IF Lifestyle. About five months later, I was down to 126 pounds, which is what I consider my ideal weight. I always maintained my weight at 126 pounds through my twenties and thirties. I never thought I would get back to it again. I was just trying to control my blood sugar. Getting my figure back was a bonus.
On July 19, 2019, I checked my FBS at home and then went to the doctor’s office to have my blood tests done. My fasting blood sugar at home was 109. When my blood tests came back from the lab, my FBS was 91 (which is normal) and my A1C was 6.6. In five months, my FBS went from 284 to 91 and my A1C went from 14.6 to 6.6.
As an aside, when your blood sugar goes up your triglycerides (fat in the blood) also goes up. The Ketogenic Diet is high in fat, but my triglycerides went from a high 289 down to a normal 59.
On a Ketogenic diet, your body adapts to using fat for fuel instead of sugar. Fats are converted to Ketones which are used for fuel. Ketones are a much more efficient fuel than sugar. As a result, I have my health, my energy and my figure back. I will lead a Healthy Ketogenic/Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle forever. It has become an easy routine for me. I will be 60 in two months and I am in the best shape of my life. I still maintain my ideal weight of 126 pounds. I now have biceps and abs at age 60. Who would have thunk it !!!
We opened up a nutrition center in our dental practice in Harlingen, Texas so that I can use what I have learned to help my patients heal better and have a higher quality of life.
I have opened up a new tab in my menu entitled,”HEALING RECIPES.” This tab will list low carb recipes, that my patients can use to improve their health while they are going through the non-surgical part of their treatment. Should a patient end up needing a surgical procedure, these low carb recipes are also easy to chew and are well tolerated during the recovery period. They are tasty, easy to prepare and many of them can be made in advance.
If you are looking for Keto recipes, please go to the recipe index where you will see a list of Keto recipes. Click on the links provided to see the full step by step instructions.
I have tried to keep this post as simple and to the point as possible. Hope my experience helps you. 💕