Nine Stories

The Power of Ice Cream

I found an interesting letter on the Internet recently. A mother wrote about how one night after dinner her little boy, who has diabetes, wanted to have some ice cream.

Anybody with kids knows they are master negotiators, and this kid did not let up-he wanted ice cream. The parents tried to dissuade him because they had already counted his carbohydrates and given him insulin, but the kid said, “What if I exercise?” What could they say to that?

The parents got out a small trampoline and said, “OK, if you exercise for 20 minutes you can have some ice cream.”

The kid got on the trampoline and while he jumped he chanted, “I can do it, I can do it; ice cream, ice cream.” And he didn’t stop.

When he got off the trampoline, the parents tested his blood sugar. It was 85, and he got to have some ice cream. But his blood sugar kept falling, so he also got to have cookies and some juice…

This letter really shows the power of desire, motivation and exercise all at once.

My First Job

I was sixteen years old in 1975 when I got my first job-at a Sambo’s Pancake House.

I was in heaven. I could eat all I wanted-pancakes, chocolate sundaes, fountain drinks… Unfortunately I would get really thirsty and I kept refilling my 7-Up. Every five minutes I had to go to the bathroom.

After I was diagnosed with diabetes I was put in the hospital for a week, and I was let out taking one shot of 70 units of insulin every morning. I had no support, no education, no meeting with a registered diabetes educator. I was just thrown out there.

I reached out to talk about it, and people said the most amazing things to me. One friend I told about my diabetes said, “Oh yeah, my uncle had that. They had to cut his leg off.”

Preacher Heal Me Please

I wanted to be “cured,” so I went to see a faith healer named Kathryn Kulman who was appearing at the Oakland Coliseum. I could sing pretty well then, so I joined her hundred-plus choir to sing.

At one point during her performance, Kathryn turned toward me and said “Someone in the choir has just been healed of diabetes.”-Hallelujah!

I was elated. As I drove home I was dancing in my seat with the radio on-this was it. Unfortunately I kept stopping at every gas station to take a leak.

Starting the Newspaper

My doctor at that time didn’t have time to educate me (I had never heard of an endocrinologist), so I turned to the library.

There I found a wealth of information. I found studies from how to calculate insulin doses to the effects of exercise and alcohol.

It can take up to 15 years for good clinical findings to become commonly available. But if you look deep you find there are people doing fantastic work right now and it’s published.

I started hosting a radio talk show, interviewing all of the luminaries in diabetes. When I first started this newspaper it was transcripts from that radio show, thus the name DIABETES HEALTH.

Here we are now over five years and 900 articles later. I have turned my life around with the diabetes. It’s given me a career-it’s given me a life.

The Light Bulb

When Thomas Edison was working on the light bulb, a journalist came to interview him and asked, “You know, Mr. Edison, you’ve tried this 8,000 times now and failed. Don’t you think it’s an indication that man was meant to light his way with a candle?”

“Young man, you don’t know how things work,” Mr. Edison said. “I have not failed, but rather discovered 8,000 ways that will not work.”

After 10,000 tries Edison invented the light bulb.

Keep looking, don’t give up, try new groups, new therapies, new insulin, new strategies-until you have good blood sugars.

Ask For Support

I think one of the big tricks to managing diabetes is getting support from your family. I’ve really worked a lot with my wife. We’ve done some things that are unsuccessful, but what is successful is for me to tell her exactly what I want. I say things like, “Honey, I’m really trying to time my insulin with my meal,” or, “Honey, I’m trying to control my blood sugar. Could you support me and not heap my plate up with more than 50 grams of carbohydrate?”

If I am doing something that I shouldn’t, she tries to tell me in a loving way. The worst thing for someone who is trying to control their blood sugar is to tell them that it is their fault. It’s always better to say it in a loving way, such as, “Honey, I see you looking at that candy bar. Did you know we have some sugar-free Jell-O in the fridge?”

Know Your Glyco

It’s so important in managing diabetes to be able to recognize the sign posts of health.

One post we all need to be better acquainted with is the glycohemoglobin test. I think we need a chant-


It serves as a speedometer, letting you know when it’s time to shift gears. You know it’s moving into the danger zone if it goes over eight or nine percent. You are increasing your chance of complications when it’s that high.

Squeak Squeak

Doctors are having a very hard time these days with managed care, and I believe “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” is a very good paradigm.

When you visit your doctor, take your records and say, “I’m testing, but I’m not satisfied with these blood sugars.” You can be the squeaky wheel and get help.

Role Models

I just heard about a young boy with diabetes in New York City who goes to the hospital wards and finds people with diabetes and just talks to them. I’m really impressed by that.

Many people with diabetes just need someone to listen to them.

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