The fall of 2021 was not good for me. I was struggling with physical, mental, and emotional health. My A1C was hovering about a 7.3, but that was requiring massive amounts of insulin a day to keep it that low. My vision was blurry—it seemed like I was often looking through water. My hands would often fall asleep at night. My feet hurt from neuropathy. I was not sleeping. Every day was filled with anxiety and fear. I was having major panic attacks. I was a wreck and knew I had to make some changes. If you have not already read the beginning of my story jump over there and then come back here for more about the journey of recovery, it truly was a Mid Life Health Crisis.
The only way I could describe to others how I was feeling, was that I did not just feel like me. During this time and for about a year, fasting had been on my mind. As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, fasting and prayer are an important part of worship. We use this method to draw closer to the Savior and seek his blessings. As an insulin dependent diabetic, I had not really fasted for years. I know there are other methods to draw close to the Savior, but for some reason fasting just seemed to be something I really wanted to do.
It was early October and I was really struggling. A kind neighbor across the street (retired therapist) gave me some good counsel and some ways to reduce stress to keep it from moving into a full panic. He directed me to get additional therapy. I did go to a doctor and was prescribed something to help me sleep—I wanted to make sure this was something I only used short term. I also visited a therapist and we discussed some additional coping methods.
Long before this crisis had started, my wife and I had planned a trip to Florida to spend time with her Aunt and visit Uncles and other family members. We also had planned a lot of time at the theme parks, our girls (in their teens) were extremely excited. With the help I had already received and taking medication to sleep, things went fairly well for us during our October trip. The kids had a blast and every moment was worth it. It was great for all of us. I was still on edge. Lot’s of anxiousness, but only had small panic attacks—the coping methods helped me get through these. I do feel like I was hiding a lot of my emotions and anxiety, but I so badly wanted the family to have a great time it was worth it.
Upon returning home I hoped things would better. Things didn’t. I ran out of my initial sleeping prescription and I did not want to keep asking for refills. Most days still had lots of anxiety.
I could not stop thinking about fasting. One of my favorite passages of scripture is contained in Mark chapter 9. Here it is described that a man seeks the Savior’s help to cure his boy of a devil. The Savior tells the man his son can be healed by the faith of the father. The man cries out, “Lord I believe…” then in a realization that his faith might not be enough, he pleads, “help thou my unbelief.” I hope to have the faith of this man with his desire to draw upon the Savior to increase my faith. After the Savior casts out the devil, the apostles ask the Savior how he was able to cast out this devil when their previous attempts had not been successful. His reply teaches us that there are certain challenges and trials that can only be resolved by much fasting and prayer. Contemplating this, I decided to give fasting a try. I determined I would take my insulin, but not eat breakfast and monitor my blood sugar closely. The morning I chose to fast I still planned on taking me medication as normal. As I went to take my medication, the thought occurred to me to look at the side effects listed for my medications, I wondered if they possibly could be contributing to my health crisis. I was startled to find that a number of my medications listed rare, but possible side effects such as insomnia, heart palpitations, elevated heart rate, dry mouth, depression, anxiety, neuropathy, among a long list of other things—so many of these were things I was feeling. I felt a glimpse of hope, but did not know how to get off the medication, especially the insulin.
Later that evening as I felt my hope was fading, anxiety set in. I wanted to run away—I just did not know where to go. I felt like I needed to chat with my neighbor, again. Once more he was kind and helpful. During our conversation I brought up that I was type 2 diabetic and that I was concerned about all the medications I was taking. He recommended I speak with his daughter, a dietitian working with a local doctor using, intermittent fasting to improve the health of type 2 diabetics.
Here was fasting being brought up again. I set up the appointment.
The day of the appointment, I awoke at 4am, shaking and weak with a blood sugar of 46. I got a snack and waited for my blood sugar to climb to mid 90’s. exhausted, I fell back asleep and tested it again when I woke up about 8am, it was about 140. I decided not to take my insulin.
During my visit with the doctor and dietician, the doctor asked me why I was there. I told him I desperately wanted the panic and anxiety out of my life, and if I could, I wanted to get to a point where I no longer needed to take all the medication I was on. The doctor responded, “Now you’re talking my language.” It felt like a turning point, I knew in that moment we could do this. We talked about intermittent fasting and what it would take to get off my medications.
Please note… I am making no recommendations for anyone to stop taking medications without supervision of a doctor. I was in communication with my doctor and dietician during this whole process. Some medications I stopped immediately, others I went a little slower. Over the next two months my blood sugar did increase slightly as I was off insulin. Soon though, my blood sugar began to drop. I would spike after eating, but not as high and not as long.
It is about 4 months after making these changes in my. The results are amazing. Occasionally when I eat, I still spike a bit. Regularly my blood sugar is between 90—150. No medication. I am excited for my next A1C in the the next month or so and will update my results here.