How I Reversed My Type 2 Diabetes

Out of the gates, I want to announce that there were no magic pills or potions involved. Quite simply, I reversed my Type 2 diabetes with diet and exercise. I realize that just by me saying "diet and exercise," I have lost everyone hoping for something exciting or magical. Diet and exercise is the answer you already knew and probably didn't want to hear, right?

Well, for those of you who were hoping for the magic recipe. I assure you it's still here. Only it's not in the form of a pill that has been advertised on TV commercials by a giant pharmaceutical company. Even so, I want you to stick around. I promise to help you and if you know me by now, the story will be worth the read.

As you read along, you will find out how stress, diet, weight gain, exercise, and a host of other issues affected my health. You may even recognize yourself and find something out about your own health along the way. You will also find out that diabetes isn't the only thing I was able to reverse engineer. Several other health markers of disease, including high blood pressure, obesity, and fatty liver disease have all disappeared.

Here’s the main point: This can be done. You can change your health without a labeled orange bottle from the local drugstore. 

Here's the main point: This can be done. You can change your health without a labeled orange bottle from the local drugstore. Give me a chance to share my story. Read how I descended into poor health and disease and then discover how I came to my own recovery.

Maybe you are one of my blog readers who is just reading the next thing I write. That's great! But, maybe you found me on social media or Googled the term "diabetes" and through the magic of the internet you landed at my blog. If so, you are like me and can relate to someone who struggles with middle-age diseases like diabetes, hypertension, fatty-liver and gut fat.

I don't care how you got here or why you are here. I just want to encourage you to hang around long enough to see if you can learn how to reverse your own diabetes, lower your own blood pressure, and improve your own health.

Regardless, I'll do my best to entertain you with the story of how an overweight, belly sagging, donut-chomping, pizza-baking, coke-in-a-bottle chugging, unmotivated middle-aged man turned the tide on his health and changed his diet and reversed the progress of disease.

The adventure is on. Join me.

Quietly making noise,

Fletch

READ THE WHOLE SERIES
Introduction
PART 1: Middle Age Status
PART 2: Fatty Liver Disease
PART 3: Ironman Is Here
PART 4: Hypertension
PART 5: Bloody Noses and a Tumor
PART 6: Stress and Depression
PART 7: Diagnosis: Diabetes!
PART 8: Get Out and Get Walking!
PART 9: Kicking Sugar to the Curb!

The Great Raccoon Massacre - Part 1

Have you ever been roped into something you didn't want to do?

I like to twist an arm now and again. I love to encourage (push) others to join me on projects or adventures. I have several friends who've reluctantly agreed to walk with me, only to find themselves a few miles away from where we started and too tired to walk back. On the other side of the equation, I’m fairly skilled at saying no or simply sliding past situations that don’t necessarily require my involvement.

I try to practice essentialism and I try to remember my capacity. These are all fancy ways of saying: I'm trying not to get burned out or overcommitted. All this to say, I'm pretty good at saying no to things that seem wonky to me.

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Then, there was the great rooftop raccoon massacre where I tried my best to not get involved.

Like a great cosmic force or unavoidable gravity, I was drawn in, recruited, and maybe even forced to be involved in something I never intended and actively tried to avoid.

Let me explain.

It began with hiring someone to paint my house. It was simple. My entire role? Write one check when the house was painted.

For almost 15 years, we owned a house on a small chunk of property that we shared with my folks on the outskirts of town. Living in the central valley of California, we were treated annually to the dust from harvesting the endless acres of almonds that surrounded our country home. For two months every fall, a large brown cloud of fog settled on our home like a tan blanket.

So, when it became time to paint our house, we targeted the summer season. Our contractor wisely suggested that we begin with a thorough power-washing. This would remove the powder coat of almond dust from the previous season’s harvest that was still clinging to the wooden sides of our home. The contractor's estimate: power-washing would take less than a day.

CHIMNEY CONSTRUCTION
We made it until noon before I received the first text message. As he was on the roof, he noticed that the high pressure jet of water was not only removing the almond dust, but blew through the existing paint and vaporized the wooden facade of the chimney that hid the ACTUAL stainless steel chimney tube extending through the shingles of our roof. Apparently the flashing around the chimney allowed rain water to pool and dry rot had extended into the wooden facade and structure of the chimney.

Our simple power-washing did not have the intended results we had hoped for. Instead of leading to house painting like we had planned, we had now begun a new project: Chimney Construction. Our contractor assured us that this was a minor delay and he would quickly demo and rebuild the chimney. He wrapped up his work for the day and promised to come back the next day with chimney building supplies. We'd be back on track in no time. The contractor's new estimate: two days of chimney construction.

When I came home from work, it looked like our chimney had exploded. Six feet of wooden siding had been removed with shredded insulation clinging to the existing framework. I was tempted to climb up and look at the damage, but since we were enjoying a California summer heat wave, I decided to stay off the roof and instead chose to join the family for an evening swim.

A LIVING CHIMNEY
The next day was extremely hot and I assumed the afternoon heat on the roof would slow down construction. I was not surprised when the first text message came through to my phone around lunch time.

"There is something alive in your chimney!"

"What do you mean 'something alive'," I texted back.

When my phone rang, I should have anticipated that this was escalating to a "more than a text message" situation. My contractor explained that when he was working on the chimney he heard a noise from the dark hole alongside the chimney tube. He wasn't sure what it was, but when he looked through the roof and into the space alongside the chimney tube with his flashlight, he could see "eyes staring back" at him. His best assumption was that it was a possum and informed me that until I removed the animal from the chimney hole, he'd have to stop construction, thus halting our power-washing, and our original goal: House Painting.

My dear reader, I'd like you to pay attention to this point in the story. This is where it all begins. This is the moment where I really stopped being an observational check-writer. This is the point in the story where the rope grabs the main character's foot and pulls him overboard. This is the moment where Alice is asked to take a pill or Frodo is asked to accept the ring from Gandalf. This is the point of no return.

Our simple house painting project that had become a chimney construction project had now made another turn into the dark dark land of animal extrication. It would have been better to simply walk away. Unfortunately, I chose to keep going.

WHAT IS A PEST?
Knowing that my current project was at a standstill. I quickly considered my options. It was Thursday afternoon and I had a hole in my roof with half of my chimney facade destroyed. I now (apparently) also had a living animal in my roof, rafters, or chimney. I parenthetically say apparently, because this part of the story was not super clear to me. What was clear was that I needed to extract the animal before proceeding any further with chimney repair, power washing, and house painting.

Apparently, I needed an exterminator.

My first phonecall was to the pest control company who cared for my property. I'm not an expert on pest control and I do not pretend to know what they do to "control" pests, but I distinctly remember the truck they drove had images of spiders, flying-insects and some form of a mammal painted on the side. It may have been a rat or a mouse, but I remember it was more than a bug.

I did my best to explain the situation and my pest specialist was quick to inform me "they do not DO animals." I asked him about the images on the side of his trucks: "Didn't I see a picture of an animal on the side of your truck?"
His reply was: "Yeah, we used to do mice and rats. We don't do rats anymore. We don't do animals. Just bugs."
I asked him for advice and he began to ask me several questions that I did not actually have the answer for: What type of animal was it? Where was it located? How big was it? How far into the roof was it located? How did it get in there? How long has it been there? Is it alive?

It was at this point that I realized I was not only hooked, but horribly uninformed and ridiculously ill-prepared to even consider my own involvement. He also began to worry me with some of his questions. Was it alive? The thought of a decaying animal wedged in the rafters between my roof and living room suddenly motivated me.

Oh yeah. Did I mention that I own a dental practice and this was all happening in and around my regularly scheduled patients? I decided to take a break from off-site animal extraction and wait until I could get home and reassess the situation.

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THE SITUATION
When I got back home, I decided to climb up on the roof and assess the situation. I called my contractor and asked him what I should do to see the animal. He mentioned that I should pull back the plastic construction sheeting on the side of the chimney and then look down the space near the chimney tube with a flashlight. I should see a pair of eyes looking back at me in the dark.

It was easily 110 degrees when I climbed on the roof in the early evening heat of California's Central Valley. I could barely kneel on the shingles as I perched myself on the edge of the roof. This was a precarious location and I could barely see anything inside the chimney space, but then for just a moment I saw a pair of glowing eyes between the rafters and the 2x4s of our chimney/roof/living room ceiling. I had no idea what type of animal it was, but my best guess was that it was about 5 or 6 feet down the hole.

As if this is not super clear by this point in the story: This was no longer a job for a dentist. This job required a professional. The only problem was that I didn't know any professional chimney/roof animal experts. I was melting on the roof. It was almost 6PM and this problem would need to be solved tomorrow.

(To Be Continued)

Quietly making noise,
Fletch

The Heart of Man, The Love of God

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Don't miss this one!

You have one more chance to see this great movie!

I love movies. I love movies that are made well. I love films where the director focused his lens on beauty. But I really love movies that make me think and potentially change my view on the world.

The Heart of Man is one of those movies. As a reader of my blog, I don't want you to miss your once chance to see this film on a big screen, surrounded by a full audience in a public theater environment. It really is worth your time and money to experience this film in a theater.

You know how much I love to talk about the gospel and the love of God. It is part of my everyday conversations around here. It is so rare that a film is made and communicates the concepts of God's love and redemption so clearly. 

FILMING TECHNIQUE
The Heart of Man is filmed in a unique way. It very clearly depicts individuals and couples who share their personal lives in a documentary interview format. They are quick to walk you down to the dark spaces in their journey with God. Addictions, hurt, damage, and pain are on display. (Note: this film speaks candidly about sexual sin and you should consider who you bring - more on that below). Had the director stopped there, I would simply not recommend this film. There are plenty of places on the internet where you can listen and watch folks open up honestly about dark sinful choices and how they were redeemed.

What if our brokenness is a bridge, not a barrier?

This director does not stop there.

Within the personal interviews, the director weaves a story of The Prodigal in a beautiful and vivid way. The story is simple and easy to follow, but is told without dialogue. This is why you must see this film. The images still burn in my mind. To see the depth of the love of God and what He does to pursue us before, during and after our descent into sin is life-changing.

THEMES
This film speaks clearly to themes of sexual addiction, infidelity and sexual abuse, but in no way should you pigeon hole this movie in that way. It's a movie about living in freedom and knowing that the Father loves you and pursues you and never gives up on you.

This is a film for those struggling in addictions. A film for those struggling with sin. It is a film for those struggling with loss. It's a film for those struggling with despair and a loss of hope.

In fact, I would say that this film is made for everyone. Sinner. Saint. Believer. Unbeliever. Christian. Non-Christian. Protestant. Catholic. Muslim. Jew. Hindu. Buddhist. Gay. Lesbian. Transgender. Man. Woman.

DISCUSSION
I believe this movie will begin discussions on your walk back to the car. You will leave a changed person with a desire to talk through certain scenes, how they were filmed and what they communicated and how you feel about it.

Kendra and I saw it on opening night during a limited release. We immediately made plans to purchase this film and turn it into a community event where we could invite our friends who are waking up from Gospel Amnesia and those who are discovering the love of God for the first time. We were stoked to hear it was out on re-release for one more night. 

What about kids? We have learned to have discussions sooner rather than later. That being said, we would not hesitate to take OUR 10 year old son. We've had hard conversations already. This film would only serve to clarify the love of God in his life. We are willing to step in and talk about themes of sexuality, lust, adultery, pornography and the brokenness in the world. If you aren't prepared for that, you might want to consider who you invite along.

Are you interested in joining us? Leave a comment or contact me here and we'll keep you in the loop.

Quietly making noise,
Fletch

Do Not Live In The Fear Of The Possible

This is the one quote from the Fletchifesto that most people ask me to explain. This is also one of my favorites and probably one of the first quotes I chose to include. Let me see if I can explain it here.

Do Not Live In The Fear Of The Possible!

How many times have you refused to act, because you were fearful of what "might" happen. You know what I mean? Maybe you have said to yourself something like this: "Well...if I do this, then it's possible this thing over here will happen." Without even knowing it, you refuse to act. You are living in the fear of the possible, regardless of the probability of the expected outcome.

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It reminds me of a funny, unexpected and eye-opening response that was given to a classmate of mine during my post-graduate studies in dental school. I was sitting in an oral surgery lecture and this poor unsuspecting student happened to raise her hand to ask a tough question about a certain dental procedure. I remember her asking: "Dr. Zimmerman, isn't there a chance that by doing this procedure, the patient might have a negative reaction?" 

Dr. Zimmerman was an old-school, type-A oral surgery instructor. He always had a bright red face that communicated he was angry and when he spoke he had two volumes: loud and very loud. I always pictured that his own dental training had taken place in the military during WWII. From his behavior, it was clear that Dr. Z was from an era when most dental schools did not include female students. (Picture the character of Colonel Jessep played by Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men - he was a dead ringer!). Furthermore, I always felt like I was bothering him with any question I ever asked, so I quickly learned to keep my head down and pretend like I knew what I was doing. My classmate did not learn this lesson.

I'll never forget his response to this poor soul who was basically asking a "What If" type of question. Dr. Zimmerman didn't stop to think, he simply responded, "Is there a chance there might be a negative reaction? Listen to me, little lady. There's a chance you are gonna be hit by a fucking bus every time you step off the fucking curb, but that doesn't keep you from crossing traffic to walk into a fucking donut shop for a fucking cup of coffee every day." Yes. this was professional school. I was shocked too. Everyone who had been sleeping in that lecture suddenly sat up and started taking the best notes they could. Dr. Zimmerman was a piece of work.

Sure it was shocking. Sure it was inappropriate, but here is my basic point: Dr. Zimmerman didn't live in the fear of the possible. He embraced the possible. He embraced risk. I think that's part of the reason why he was such a successful surgeon. That might explain his peppery language too. He was not afraid of what might happen.

I don't want to throw caution to the wind. I believe there is wisdom with multiple counselors, but I also do not want to live crippled by the "what ifs."  I need to face the possibilities, understand the risks, and live a little more fearlessly. What about you?

Quietly making noise,
Fletch

Make Your Own Kind of Music

I took a short break from the Fletchifesto to chronicle my journey into my health adventure. As I work down the different quotes and statements I chose to include on my list, I've arrived at "Make Your Own Kind of Music."

If you are a fan of classic rock, you will recognize this as a song recorded by Mama Cass Elliott. Check out this cool clip with Sammy Davis, Jr. :

I didn't include this quote on the list, because I'm a fan of Mama Cass or even this song per se. I just love the sentiment. It's very similar to the quote that says, "March to the beat of a different drummer." However, when that quote is used, it tends to have an air of negativity or it embodies the idea that someone is contrary to normalcy in an odd way. That's not at all what I'm trying to communicate.

I included this quote because I appreciate the aspect of creativity. In other words, just because everyone else follows a certain path to get from A to Z, you need to make a path that works for you.

Here's a practical example: When I graduated from high school, my path was pretty well chosen for me. Call it parental encouragement or societal norms for the upper middle class or great educational/career advice. Go to college, graduate, go to graduate/professional/law/medical school, start a career, get married, and then start a family. It worked. I made a few changes in the order, but I'm here. No major complaints.

With 8 children, we wanted to raise independent thinkers. We wanted kids that could navigate a path that worked for them, for their learning style and for their personality. I recognize now that I really wanted my kids to "make their own kind of music." 

It's not easy. I'm not a risk taker by nature. It's hard to watch my kids make different choices, but I've learned that it makes for a way more exciting life if you take risks. It's like watching an experiment with all the different variables swirling around in a chemical flask. Sometimes there is no reaction and sometimes there is an explosion.  Sure you may fail, but that's okay too.

Listen folks. I haven't figured this out. That's why it's on my Fletchifesto. I want to learn how to make my own kind of music everyday. I want to learn how to make it my own. It's a journey. Want to join me?

Quietly making noise,
Fletch