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introduction to the "reversing diabetes" blog

introduction
I'm Jackie and you can find out about me from my about me page on another blog.  Since this blog will be almost entirely about me, and my journey to attempt to reverse diabetes, I didn't bother with an "about me" page here.

Why does a blog about diabetes have a Pacman for a logo? The reason is autophagy, a word which means self-eating.  Autophagy is the process by which lysosomes within a cell eat malformed proteins and/or damaged organelles, breaking them down into their component parts so those parts can be used to rebuild.

Image credit: Hörstmann Unternehmens Gruppe [Public domain]

my bG meter won't let me eat low-carb tortillas

I've done low-carb diets before. I had all sorts of tricks and tips up my sleeve for making favorite foods low-carb.

One of those was Mission Carb Balance tortillas. Most low carb tortillas are kind of icky, but these were pretty good, if a bit small.

For a fast snack, I could make just a plain old cheese quesadilla; done carefully, the pan didn't even need cleaning.

I'd get a bit more elaborate when I needed a fast dinner after work if meal planning had gone awry. With appropriate toppings, I could make a thin-crust pizza faster than a high-carb one could be delivered.

And all for just 4 net carbs!

Image credit: adapted from image by OpenClipart-Vectors [Pixabay license]

no more insulin!

no more insulin!
I began this journey on August 2, 2019.

On September 22, 2019, I took my last insulin shot. I didn't know it at the time.

A while later, I donated my insulin to Insulin For Life, a group that provides insulin and disease management supplies free of charge to those with diabetes who otherwise would go without these life-saving provisions..

On September 30, I announced the following to the Eat Like a Bear! group on Facebook:

Image credit: adapted from an image provided by Mr. Hyde who placed it in the [public domain]

Is it a 3 day fast or a 4 day fast?

3 day fast or 4 day fast?
As I examined my blood glucose data for August and September of 2019, I noticed something intriguing.

I didn't need insulin at all during extended fasts, where my "need" was defined by bG over (or approaching) 200. I had set this as my top range, instead of the 140 used by most diabetics as top of the good range, based on the entire concept that elevated insulin was worse than elevated bG. If I could use less insulin, that might lead to less insulin resistance, reversing type 2 diabetes

In a lecture given by Dr. Fung to other medical professionals, I saw him give a recommendation for a cut-off; one can't just let bG do anything after all. The value he gave was in the more normal mmol/L everyone else uses, rather than mg/dL, but it turns out my training as a biochemist provided me the capability of multiplying by 18. ;)

Image credit: adapted from image by Mariene Da Silva Jardim [Pixabay license]

fidgeting while fasting

So does your metabolism slow down when fasting?

I posted about this on the Eat Like a Bear group in September when I had rather a lot of thoughts about it brought on by a bad case of what my friends and I refer to as "sewing machine leg."

In short, I just could not sit still.

Image credit: adapted from image by Marco Verch Professional Photographer and Speaker[CC]

8 week weight loss

This is a report of my daily weight for the first 8 weeks, while both doing my first extended fast and as I began eating like a bear.

This is a simple report just copied from my post made at the time to the ELAB Facebook group.

There's a larger, more legible chart in the full article below.

Image credit: ornery-geeks [copyright]

Sept 2019 bG

Though annoyed that I had to go back on insulin after getting off it during my first extended fast, the 30 u TDD I wound up on was giving me better control than the 100 u TDD had been previously. My numbers were pretty much staying under 140 the vast majority of the time.

I was recording not only bG, but what I ate and how much insulin I took and each decrease in prednisone as I weaned.

The first week was when Pete was visiting me, so we ate out a lot; I can recreate what happened from my spreadsheet.

Image credit: © David-i98 [CC BY-SA (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)]

GI issues breaking a fast

My first extended fast, I broke cautiously and everything was fine.

My second extended fast, the decision to break was more abrupt, so figuring I had an iron stomach, just ate. Turns out this was a bad call.

I spent many hours in pain, burning through my gut, and running to the john.

I figured I'd been rather stupid and need to break extended fasts more sensibly. Fung has recommended chia seeds, so I began there.

Image credit: allyball4 [Pixabay license]

reversing adrenal insufficiency

I've suffered from adrenal insufficiency since at least 2007, having badly failed an ACTH-stim test and a subsequent diurnal saliva test. I made some cortisol, but it was low enough to keep me bedridden.

I began treatment in 2008 with hydrocortisone dosed throughout the day. After a few years, tired of my alarm going off all day long, I switched to dexamethasone because it only had to be dosed once a day.

When I began seeing my endo, she switched me to prednisone, as she felt that was the best treatment for adrenal insufficiency and I didn't really object. When I began this experiment, I was on 5 mg in the morning and 2 mg in the afternoon.

Note that this is a physiological dose, not a pharmacological dose. When being treated for an inflammatory disorder, much higher doses of prednisone are involved. My dose was intended to just replace the cortisol I was not making.

Image credit: from Grey's Anatomy via Wikimedia [public domain]

glucose ketone index (GKI)

I was very excited when I first ran across the glucose-ketone index (GKI), as I'm a bit of a data junkie. I'm not yet enough of a data junkie to shell out for a keto meter, especially given the cost of the strips.

There are some implications to the GKI that are interesting, but those little charts out there that tell you whether you're in weight-loss mode, or the best mode for diabetes or in therapeutic mode, are a bunch of nonsense; I can find no research to back this up except for research on a particular form of brain cancer. That particular cancer feeds on glucose, whereas most of the brain can use ketones, so it made a lot of sense there. But all these little charts you see telling you what the best GKI is for your purposes are largely just a keto myth.

But let's back up and discuss how to do the measurements in the first place before exploring what they actually mean.

Image credit: ornery-geeks [copyright]