Taking Matters into My Own Hands

Not happy with your recommended treatment for type 2 diabetes? Talk to your doctor.

kalimah bioBy Kalimah Johnson

I have some good news and some bad news. I will give you the bad news first: I have learned that I am still a type 2 diabetic! I thought that I would lose enough weight from bariatric surgery to "cure" myself of this all-consuming chronic disease. I exercise, but not nearly enough. I have lost about 70 pounds and counting. I have stopped taking all the medications prescribed to me and I apparently did this without informing my primary care physician. I would not recommend that anyone do this, I must have been temporarily crazy.

My doctor was not happy at all that I had not told them of my ill-informed decision to stop taking my insulin and oral medications. However, as I was losing the weight it became more and more difficult for me to maintain a sugar level high enough for me to function. My blood sugar continued to bottom-out daily, and sometimes in the evening, I was a wreck. Honestly, once I stopped taking the meds I was actually able to manage my disease better, or so I thought. During my first physical checkup in many months the doctor attempted to put me back on insulin (preferred) or oral medication. There was only one issue with this — I am stubborn and was not about to hear that I still needed help with managing my type 2 diabetes. I respectfully asked if we could conduct an A1c test to determine how well my sugar had been managed over the past three months. She reluctantly agreed, sent me directly to the lab, and called me in three days with my results.

Now the good news: I am still a type 2 diabetic, and my A1c was a 6.8, which is apparently low enough for me to continue to manage my diabetes using diet and exercise. I really thought that my A1c would have been even lower because I had been feeling absolutely wonderful. I was not sluggish, or tired, or urinating a lot, or experiencing extreme thirst. The other good news is the fact that I don't have to be concerned with masquerading as a diabetic in my dLife column! I can't imagine what I would do if I could not write and share my experiences with readers regarding my daily triumphs and struggles with this disease. It is a part of me and the lesson I have learned through this experience is that I can't assume that there are any quick fixes or that all of a sudden genetics have nothing to do with my disease. After all, my mother was not overweight at all, but she succumbed to the disease at the age of 54 in 1998. The key to living a long and healthy life with diabetes is to test your blood sugar regularly (try to keep it within normal ranges, i.e. 80-140), attend your routine medical check-ups, get the A1c test (there are over the counter A1c test-kits available as an option) and monitor your diet and exercise (try walking and limiting simple sugars and carbohydrates).

I know my doctor was upset with and concerned about my decision-making and well-being related to my health and type 2 diabetes status. When I left her office that day I felt guilty that I stopped taking my medications for several months without notifying her. I also felt bad because I should know better. After losing so many people in my life to the disease, how dare I assume that I could make independent decisions about my medicinal regiments and treatment without any guidance or assistance from a professional? Yes, I would like to continue to stay off all of my meds, but without monitoring, follow-up and follow-through this wonderful state of being can only be temporary. As the New Year approaches I must do better, because I definitely know better!

Got it Sugar? Good.

Read more of Kalimah Johnson's columns, Get it Together, Sugar, here.

dLife's Daily Living columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team to find out what will work best for you.


Last Modified Date: January 07, 2013

All content on dLife.com is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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by Brenda Bell
As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of the benefits that made it cost-effective for me to go with the real healthcare (HSA) plan rather than the phony (HRA) plan is that my company is now covering "preventative" medicines at $0 copay. The formulary for these, as stated by CVS/Caremark (my pharmacy benefits provider), covers all test strips, lancets, and control solutions. I dutifully get my doctor to write up prescriptions for all of my testing needs, submit...
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