Tuesday, January 26, 2010

So What About Curing the Rest of Us?

Short post here (Oops, well never trust me when I say it'll be a short post)...just my feelings about something crucial to my life: healing.

OK, so I have come to believe that my diabetes can be cured, and that I am the one responsible for taking the action neccessary. Some things I CAN do without outside guidance:

1. Be active. Sweat. Stretch, good mouth care/skin care, plenty good sleep. Check.
2. My outlook...positive, realistic, accepting and nurturing to myself and others, eliminating bad choices internally and externally, finding meaning in the everday. Check.
3. Growth...keep on learning, asking, being a life student in any subject I have curiosity or need to understand or acquire a skill. Acceptance of my limitations and grace towards those. Not brandishing a bullwhip per se when it comes to fulfilling my goals, but valuing steady progress and processing new information in practical ways. Not worrying about the expectations of others. Loving those around me in ways that are authentic. Devaluing narcissicism in my interior life and the messages of the world around me.
4. Explore natural solutions as the viable nutrition necessary to restore balance and health. Natural foods, underutilized plants, longer-term prevention rather than magic bullets. Organic. Non-GMO.
5. Enduring the transition...big huge changes for me. I underestimated how entrenched particular elements of the S.A.D. way of eating (one could even say way of living) are in my life, and the tentacles it has in so many so-called "normal" activities. Best way of overcoming it? Practice, practice, practice...and patience and staying focused on WHY it is so important. Or, maybe more specifically, learning not to live like a spoiled brat (as compared to past millenia and what was thought of as bounty).
6. Enough rather than too much. Prudence. Less is more. Anti-gluttony...better quality vs. quantity. Making sure small quantities of nutrient rich foods satisfy rather than food-like-substances (processed things) being glutted on.
7. De-programming the brainwashing of advertising and so-called statistical data.
9. De-programming my dependency on mainstream medicine (and its interpretations) and its assumption of god-like authority to interpret illness with no focus on cure, and its alignment with pharmaceutical funding and promotion of synthetic "medicines" that can be price-controlled and manipulated in research studies.
10. Blend/eat rawrawraw, veggie veggie veggie, berries berries berries, low GI things, good things raw and small percentage quality cooked veg/organic meats, etc...

This is all leading up to this point.....

Once I've found something I believe will work, and I want support in the form of creditable people and/or programs I think would be really effective along natural lines.....

I CAN'T AFFORD THEM.

(I just got the brochures with prices. Mercedes, or cure my diabetes? Hmmm)

I was looking over a couple programs that are the diabetic equivalent of an overweight person's Fat Camp, i.e. health retreat place with an established success rate.

I am frustrated (a bit, but I see it as a challenge the majority of folks like me face) that the best places that have a good track record of results are so far beyond the average person's means as to be almost laughably in the same category as the most expensive STANDARD mainstream medical establishment's costs.

I've been the route of "what price can you put on a cure?" meaning that surely any price is worth prolonging life and righting a particular wrong if it is life-changing.

I faced that scenario with two things in the past...maybe more...as I imagine many people have at some point or the other. One was when I was in the area of infertility and the other was later in the area of weight loss. There is no amount of money too much to pour into either category, and the dollar amounts for infertility treatments rival that of surgical weight loss "solutions" in the most advanced cases. Anyone care to wager a dollar amount? Five digits is only a start.

In the case of people like me, this not only breaks the bank, but there's no guarantee of the "solution" anyway...if it's a mainstream medical procedure or treatment, many times it's a gamble in the best of times. Regardless of the result, unless a person is cash-wealthy or willing to gamble with heavy debt loads, the monetary impact of such is devastating, stressful, and far-reaching as far as future impact to their lives. I speak from experience.

And I won't go there again. In fact, I'm glad I've never had the option to venture into the even higher numbers for "life-changing" programs and procedures (namely health-related ones). I know there are exceptions, so I'm not knocking them. But I'm talking about facing a mountain and the only seeming option for scaling it involves big number money.

That said, it appears that even in the realm of the natural/naturopathic/really viable therapies, there are still these sorts of mountains unless you want to be left to go it alone and work it out on your own. I just got the information and cost data for two of the best programs I could find (very reputable, wholistic) for helping me reverse diabetes with some hands-on support in multiple areas...meaning I would have medical support and be coached for a short time in the practicals and then have long distance support resources as I adopt the new foods/habits/etc into my regular lifestyle.

The first is a 21 day program I know would work. At $13,000 it should.
The other is a similar 3 week program with some flexibility. Price tag? Easily just as much, or more.

Both are ideal except for price. The price is not my gripe...I don't know if I could justify spending that amount for that if I ever had it anyway...but the fact there are NO very organized support alternatives for those of us out here trying to put the necessary elements together (piecemeal, it feels like) without big monetary outputs. Where are the integrated off-site sister programs that would allow an ABUNDANCE of sick people access to these VITAL resources??

Supplements are EXPENSIVE. In some cases, yes, I think specific ones do help. Lifestyle change and eating organic garden bounty and herbs is ideal, and does not have to break the bank, especially if you can grow it yourself. Lab tests to establish a baseline and to chart important changes? Also expensive. Finding a medical professional to partner with you for REAL change rather than mainstream pharmaceutical heavies...? I haven't found one yet, and my guess that in either case, expensive.

I love the alternative medicine community and how empowered I feel when I find out different elements that seem to be some of the missing puzzle pieces of what I need to scale my particular mountain. (No, I'm not depressed or discouraged about this, though the tone of this post might seem that way...I'm not) I'm not panicked or desperate, but I'm thoughtfully perplexed that the alternative medical communities...and they are broad and not necessarily all in agreement but do all overlap at points (organic whole foods, homeopathic/naturpathic, vegan/vegetarian communities, small farmer, herbalist, chiropractic, ayurveda and other asian based ideologies/practices, and so on and so on)...for the most part all COST a lot of $$$ out of pocket. Maybe I'll exempt the home gardeners from that, but I'm talking about to cure something big and basic, like diabetes or heart disease or lupus, MS, fibromyagia, Lyme disease, etc. EX-PEN-SIVE.

There has to be a place where the common man can have the benefit of good sheperding in some of these areas without being expected to mortgage the house and go into debt, or spend big bucks. I equate alternative medicine with more common sense than its mainstream counterpart, and the matter of cost is not exempt.

For the visionary people spearheading these movements back to the most natural and vital ways of healing and living, I appeal to you....yes, your guidance is worth a good amount. But what is it worth if it comes packaged in programs that only the elite can afford? Isn't part of your ideology against medical elitism and the fact that the mainstream medical community is profit-driven to the excess? An honest wage for an honest day's work...that's truly worthwhile. I don't believe in something-for-nothing. But SURELY the alternative medical community can develop some basic options for The Regular Guy. Guidance, that's all I'm asking. Even if from a distance...helping someone tailor their own medical needs to a viable healthy restoration without having to play herbal or dietary roulette.

I'm just saying...

And no. No, I do not think 13K is worth the cure if it would take decades of uncertainty and stress and possible financial devastation in the case of a normal family's income. I don't think it's in keeping with the common sense that brought us to reject the pop-the-pill way of life that got us to where we need a cure for our ailments in the first place. I don't think we should reorient a mindset set on personal independence and present options only available by returning to monetary dependency. When I was younger, I probably would feel differently, but I'm not sure that means I would have been wise in that conclusion.

Anyway, yeah, there exist enough steel backbones to piece together our own answers and pester the experts from a distance. I just hate that there has to be a distance, and that distance takes so much money to cross for fullest access.

I need a wise Appalachian Granny woman. Who'll take pumpkins and some semi-tropical herbs and whatever else I have in practical value around the house in trade ;-)

8 comments:

Donna said...

We're going to have to heal ourselves. Yep, diet and exercise, as boring and difficult as that is. I don't have diabetes, but my mom did. Cliff's blood test has come back twice with "high sugars".
Dang it, I wish we could just click the heels of our ruby slippers and fix it all.

mommymommyland said...

diabetes can be cured. Look up Dr.Gerson. he has several books, or if you have Netflix you can watch 2 documentaries about him online The Gerson Miracle and <a href="http://www.netflix.com/WiMovie/The_Beautiful_Truth/70108390?trkid=921403>The beautiful truth<a>. Turns out its all about the food, and not so much exercise.

Juanita said...

WOW- do I love synchronicity! My friend in Houghton, Michigan (150 inches of snow so far) a pediatrician, retired, but into wholistic areas now, sends me health links from time to time (mostly about diabetes). Today she sent me your link because you're in Florida somewhere (I am a new- 3 weeks- transplant from Pittsburgh to Naples). She thought I'd be interested in your blog. So I click on your link and here you are talking about diabetes and your challenges and thoughts with natural health care. I am right there with you in so many ways.

For your #1- I may not have been so dedicated but I have recently come to realize if I don't do these diligently why bother with the rest!

#2,3, & 4- Beautifully expressed and more or less a reflection of my path.

#5- My transition has been going on for almost 25 years! I joined a Homeopathy study group around 1983 and many additional doors flew open to me at the same time- nutrition, naturopathy, herbal medicine, etc. I pretty much immersed myself in this environment and made many friends who also shared these interests. In 1996 I added the Usui System of Reiki Healing to my bag of treats, again- more friends, and explored more energy medicine. What a wonderful world I was in, but I still managed to put on weight rather than take it off to a reasonable, comfortable place.

Then around 2001 I started to have numbness in my toes which developed into full scale neuropathy in my feet in a few short months. My wholistic doctor said I was pre-diabetic and sent me home with hundreds of dollars worth of supplements and tried all sorts of homeopathic remedies as well. Being somewhat of a rebel and still thinking this all would go away I dabbled at taking these supplements and hoped the homeopathy would magically make it disappear. No way.

I changed doctors, tried new wholistic and nutritional angles, but nothing changed. In 2006 my 39year old nephew died suddenly in his sleep from complications of his diabetes. I gave in and went to a conventional endocrinologist who knew his pharmacology inside out- and while my weight didn't change much, he got my blood sugar close to 'normal' and my cholesteral down. But I felt like crap on these meds. And I also felt very let down by the natural and energetic medicine world. By now I was on Lyrica for the pain in my feet (none of the other recommended meds worked) along with Cymbalta. Sound familiar for those of you who watch TV?

I continued with all sorts of supplements, nutritional approaches and the Lyrica/Cymbalta combo until one day I added up the monthly cost of all of this stuff and wondered- if I wasn't married to my husband who had a job with benefits where would I be! I was taking the highest dosage of Lyrica allowed (sometimes throwing in an extra dose here and there and filling my prescriptions as early as the insurance would allow). I am officially addicted to Lyrica now- I've tried to stop taking it a couple of times and the pain is unbearable.

So back to your list- #6. I have eased into this aspect of food. Some of it I learned from a trip to the Duke Diet and Fitness Center. My sister generously invited me (her treat) to go with her for a month to Durham, to this program, where an acquaintance of mine had had "excellent results." It was like camp, all sorts of interesting and sometimes crazy people, but it was great. The food was really decent considering it was cafeteria style, and there was every kind of fitness and exercise program including a salt water pool, and classes addressing all the basic eating issues.

(continued - see next Blog entry)

Juanita of Naples

Juanita said...

I can talk more about the program later if anyone is interested, but my point to mentioning this part of my journey is- we got back to Pittsburgh after 4 weeks (each about 15 pounds lighter) and within another 4 weeks I wasn't following the plan much anymore, and my sister was also struggling.

Part of the program at Duke offered some counseling but after 2sessions you had to pay extra for it. So we figured with all the stuff my sister was already paying for we should hold off on this. This may have been our big mistake. Had we had private sessions with the counseling people 3 times a week we might have been more successful at home. Who knows.

Robbyn, you mentioned you were looking at some retreat programs for diabetes and mentioned your previous experiences with infertility and weight loss and the costs involved being astronomical. When we added up our total expenses for being at Duke for a month for the 2 of us it was about $23,000.00. $3,000 was for the apartment. $1200 was for massage therapy. But divide $18, 800 by 30 days and you get about $315/day for each of us for the ‘program’ with 3 meals and snacks. So we spent her money and our time and ultimately got no success.

Looking back I have many thoughts and opinions about the program and wonder what their success rate really is. That information is not readily available (dah). I will also mention that we had many meals with many people that month. Some of them were new like us, but, some of them were returnees (just for a week or two- like a vacation); some of them had actually moved to Durham and had permanent housing; and there were a few who had been there a long, long time. I think there's a 13 week limit but who knows on an individual basis.

So like you said these programs are really inaccessible to the average person including the wholistic ones. (I would not call the Duke program wholistic really).

And, like you, I am thoughtfully perplexed about what is available to the common man/woman/child, especially when (what is it- 50%?) so many adults and children are dealing with symptoms called 'diabetes' in the U.S. And who knows where Obama’s healthcare plan will land at this point.

#7 & 9 (where’s 8?)- Ugh! The god-like influence of the media and the god-like authority of the conventional drug and medical industries. I can’t even go there right now. All I can say is DO NOT TRUST ANYTHING YOU HEAR OR READ FROM THESE SOURCES. DO YOUR OWN HOMEWORK, TRIPLE CHECK YOUR INFORMATION AND THEN STILL DON’T BELIEVE THEM.

#10 Did you see Michael Pollan on Oprah yesterday? I hope Oprah gets on this bandwagon seriously! Along with the “No Cell Phone Zone” in your car thing.

OK- I'm thinking ‘grass-roots’ -the study group idea might be the way to go- just like when I joined the Homeopathy study group back in '83. Develop SGs that encourage people with diabetes to join in to get educated and bring new ideas to the group. Not the hospital or pharmaceutical sponsored BS but grass-roots style controlled by the members. Also incorporate the co-op idea of placing bulk orders of supplements. And finding therapists who are willing to give some decent discounts to a group. And maybe find some wise Appalachian grannies to come and give workshops (how about Susun Weed- she’s in NY?).

You can probably tell I’ve got a bit of community organizing in me. Any steel backbones out there want to start a Diabetes SG?

Has anyone had any experience with David Perlmutter (www.perlhealth.com) the renegade neurologist?

Also- here’s a link to a REAL homeopathic veterinarian in Florida- Larry Bernstein (www.naturalholistic.com) in North Miami. He was great. Check out his web site.

So- that’s it for now. Robbyn- know that you are the recipient of my first ever blog response. I look forward to reading more of your thoughts and anyone elses.

Juanita of Naples

Robbyn said...

I'll be back here in about 48 hours to reply to the comments...thank you all so much for your replies...I'm not ignoring anyone :) I'll just have some better time this weekend...in the meantime, thank you!

Robbyn said...

Sorry for the delay in returning!

Yeah, Donna, eat and move :) Removing flour and sugar as the first culprits is where I have to begin with getting my sugars down. Cliff's fortunate to have you as his support if he has to make changes that might not be fun :)

Robin, I began looking up Dr. Gerson and will read up on it more. You're right that food is crucial. Now if I could just get my "loving pancakes" gene to quit signaling me that I want junk carbs it'd be easier to cooperate ;-) congratulations on your beautiful new little girl!

Juanita, to adequately begin to respond to your great comments, I'd love to email and see if we could even talk by phone or meet up, since we're in the same state. Just pooling ideas would be a big boost for me. I'll be looking up Perlmutter in the meantime and familiarizing myself with some of the things you mentioned. Thank you so much for your comment...my email is on the sidebar if you'd like to gab about this and see what we might collaborate on, or at least facilitate :)

berryvine said...

I worked for 20 years in an internist office. We treated alot of type 2 diabetics.The people who made the most progress in controlling the disease on their own did it through a change in eating habits. No miracle meds or herbs unfortunately. Giving up diet drinks,coffee,white flour,white sugar, and white potatoes.The coffee and diet drinks seemed to be the hardest to give up but had the most effect on the diet. They seem to make people crave sweet. I don't think there is one miracle cure for anyone but it can be controlled with diet and as you feel better with diet add some of that exercise. There are some really good books on the market but beware of anyone selling and expensive supplement or foods. Seems like you have what you need,the determination to change. You can do it!

Robbyn said...

Berryvine, thanks for the encouragement. I agree that the old maxim "let food be thy medicine and medicine thy food" is what we're trying to realign our thinking and eating around. Having eaten processed food for so long, we feel we have some deficiencies that might be eased initially through supplementation, but that the actual "cure" will be in our habits and, as you've said, changing to real foods. When I read that the excitotoxins in the diet drinks (aspartame/Nutrasweet, etc) actually accelerate diabetes, I was able to stay off them. I've drunk them for years, whew! My caffiene's down to about nothing, but occasionally I'll have that old standby in the South, iced tea. It's really encouraging to hear that your clinic witnessed successes when the patients did make the necessary changes, and that it was as basic as diet...that's a shot in the arm to me :) (no pun intended, ha)