December 2, 2013
Speaking to Other Support Groups
Tim did contact the other groups that have been included in our meetings previously, about Sue and A.J. speaking to their groups about getting off medications. The closest group asked that they address their group in early December and the other group did have them in their meeting on the last day of November. Sue and A.J. did update their information and from the information Tim presented me about the meeting, it came off well received and they had a very interesting and lengthy discussion.
The doctor leading the group was able to have two other doctors plus our local doctor in attendance. It was even surprising that of their 17 members, only one person was unable to attend because of the holiday. Their doctor started the session and explained that the other doctors were present because they needed to understand what was behind the information being presented and to understand when they were approached by their patients to get off of medications.
Our local doctor said that at first, he was not in favor of three of his patients doing this, but after hearing what Sue and A.J. had presented, he is fully behind any patient of his that wanted to do this.
At that point, Sue started the conversation and covered what she and A.J. felt were the points to consider. Sue stated that the important first step was talking to the doctor and discussing this. Without the doctor's consent, she felt that people would not be prepared to stop all medications. While the doctor might not agree that this was the best thing for the patient to attempt, he should hear them out.
Sue then stated that anyone interested should attempt to get extra testing supplies as they could greatly benefit from the extra testing for up to three months. A.J. stated this was important because they would need seriously to consider cutting their carbohydrate intake and testing would be key to determining if they were having success. Sue confirmed this and said testing was also important to determine if they were letting diabetes gain the upper hand and doing damage, which could not be undone.
Next, she said that an exercise regimen was necessary that they could adhere to. She felt this also should be discussed with their doctor to get the doctor's input, as there could be something that could be harmful and to have the doctor's input into the planned regimen of exercise. Sue said she and her husband used jogging and walking, swimming, and dancing. Now that the weather is changing, they have two exercise machines available for them to use when the weather is too cold or snow would be difficult to jog or walk in outside.
A.J. continued that he was running about 4 miles during the evening and up to 10 on the weekends. He said that he occasionally sees Sue and Bob swimming when he uses the pool as well. He said he also has a machine for when the weather is such that he will not be able to run. He said his doctor had approved of his regimen and felt this was important. He said many would need to reduce the amount of food consumed until they build up their routine and become used to the amount of exercise.
Sue confirmed this and said it was good that her husband was participating with her and admitted this may be necessary for some people to become committed to a routine. She said A.J. has been able to do this alone, but they do see each other from time to time and she said this is good even if a group wants to exercise together. She said that some are able to get off of all medications and in her correspondence; she has found that some are not able to develop the regimen strong enough to be successful in staying off medications. This is part of the reason for the additional testing and to make sure that if you need medications; you do not let your diabetes get out of hand before getting back on medications.
A.J. confirmed this and said that the doctor may wish to see you more frequently until you have succeeded and proven that your blood glucose levels are in range to stay off medications. Sue stated it is wiser to get back on medications than let diabetes get out of management. Sue emphasized not to consider yourself a failure for going back on medications. Some may be to the point with their pancreas that medications are necessary.
A.J. said he had started on insulin at diagnosis because of kidney problems, and that his doctor had done a series of tests to see what level of insulin he was producing before allowing him to attempt to get off of insulin. He continued that he had been in great shape until his wife died about three and a half years ago so he only needed to lose 15 pounds to be back at ideal weight. Sue said it takes dedication and work and for some people that don't have support from family, friends, or a support group like she has, it may not be for everyone.
Tim had his projector set up and covered this blog by David Mendosa and the discussion started. The four doctors asked to speak and were pleased that Sue and A.J. emphasized the importance of including the doctor in the plans. One doctor said he was aware of two of his patients having done this, one with success and the other ending up in the hospital in serious condition because he should never have tried it alone. He admitted that until this evening, he would have opposed any suggestion about getting off medications, but felt that if his patients followed what Sue and A.J. presented, he would work with them.
A.J. was asked which tests, and he answered that he was not sure, but if Tim was given an email address, he would see that they received the test information on Monday. The one doctor asked if one had been the C-peptide and A.J. affirmed it was. Tim stated he received all the email addresses for the doctors and obtained email addresses for the members of the group he did not have.