My name is Karen DeVeaux and at the age of 47, in 2002, I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Up until about a year before the diagnosis I had been fairly healthy all my life. I was on no medications and weighed about the same as when I graduated from high school - maybe a few pounds more.
Growing up in Bartlesville, Oklahoma (as Karen Stafford) I ate the typical S.A.D. (Standard American Diet), but better than the current SAD. We never ate fast food or went out to eat in restaurants. Mom made our fried chicken, meatloaf, and spaghetti from scratch. She made our desserts from scratch, a mix, or sometimes bought packaged cookies. Dad grew lots of wonderful veggies and some berries in our backyard. Mom canned and froze them and we had organic fruits and veggies all year long. Mom was a wonderful short order cook at breakfast and made us whatever we wanted - eggs, waffles, etc.
However, salads were not a normal part of our suppers and our veggies were all cooked. I didn't develop a taste for green salads until I was in my twenties and then they had to be drenched with blue cheese dressing. I also had a weakness for sweets. Fortunately, I never liked coke or any of the caramel colored pops. But I did like Sprite & Fresca & chocolate of any kind. I ate sweets on a daily basis - sometimes waffles with lots of syrup for breakfast, candy with lunch at school, and then cake or cookies at home after supper. I drank lots of milk, probably 3 glasses a day, and loved cheese and ice cream.
I thought I was fat, for some strange reason, in high school - even though I weighed about 105 pounds and was 5'4". So I tried the high protein diet on and off, but still ate my sweets. So, for awhile, I was avoiding the only good foods in my diet - fruits and veggies.
During my first marriage (when I went by Karen Hornsby), from 1974 - 1983, I earned a Bachelor's degree in Psychology, then I went back and took some accounting courses and sat for and passed the CPA exam. During this time I lived in Norman, Oklahoma then Lafayette, Louisiana and then back to Bartlesville, Oklahoma. In terms of diet, I started eating green salads on occasion with blue cheese or ranch dressing. That and some fruit was about the only raw food I was eating. I still loved and ate sweets - mostly chocolate and ice cream. I did develop an interest in supplements, was reading Prevention magazine, and put my husband and myself on a range of supplements. I also got interested in aerobics and became a volunteer aerobics teacher at the place where I worked as an accountant.
I remarried in 1987 to my current husband and we had a son in 1992 and a daughter in 1993. I did have a miscarriage before my son and a tubal pregnancy after my daughter was born that resulted in a hysterectomy. I was still eating basically the same diet and exercising, except I went through a stage of believing in and eating the low fat diet. I would still have my dessert - but they would be nonfat desserts.
My son had a series of ear infections and took antibiotics, but fortunately seemed to grow out of them just in time to avoid tubes. We did discover that diet played an important role early on with my son, when we figured out that red food coloring made him hyper and we still avoid having anything with that additive in it in our house.
My daughter was not so lucky in regards to ear infections. When she was 18 months old, and I still believed strongly in allopathic medicine, she had a set of ear tubes inserted. My faith in this approach and in our doctor went downhill rapidly when she still got constant ear infections and continued to have to take antibiotics. They said the tubes helped because the medicine would work faster. Then when one tube fell out quickly and the doctor said we would need to put another one in and commented that her adenoids were large, I knew I had to find another approach! It was standard to take out the adenoids during the second ear tube surgery. I am so glad my daughter still has her adenoids, as they are a part of her immune system.
I was shopping with my sister at a mall and happened to pick up a book by Dr. Andrew Weil called "Spontaneous Healing". I checked what it said on ear infections and bought it. He said to cut back on or eliminate dairy (we cut back) and have cranial osteopathy done. Nowadays you can go to www.cranialacademy.com and find a practitioner online. Back then you had to send a self-addressed stamped envelope to them and wait for a response. I found a pediatric MD about an hour away in Tulsa, Oklahoma and we started going to her. We went weekly for cranial osteopathy, that our insurance paid for since this was a regular doctor, and I read books to my daughter as she got treated with this very gentle procedure. At first the ear infections improved, then they got worse again and I gave up and switched to taking my son as it eliminated his headaches. But then on one appointment for my son, I said I was desperate and asked her to try on my daughter again as she was still taking constant antibiotics. The doctor said she had just been to a workshop that past weekend, commented "I never felt that before" as she worked on my daughter's head, and my daughter never had another ear infection after that one session.
This started me down the path of exploring and learning about alternative health. I went back to school and earned an Associates degree in Computer Science and worked as a Y2K programmer from 1996 - 2000. I worked with a great group of people who happened to be interested in alternative health also. I learned about Dr. Joel Robbins in Tulsa and studied under him to earn a certificate as a Naturopathic Doctor and Nutritional Counselor. I learned about the importance of diet and started eating more raw fruits and veggies. I bought a juicer also and drank a lot of carrot juice. My husband got into juicing also and still juices to this day. We both stopped drinking milk and started eating more salads. We all, however, still ate lots of grains, sweets, dairy, and processed foods. At times I would eliminate them from my diet, but then the cravings would kick in and I would eat them again.
I started reading lots of books on health and subscribed to many health e-newsletters. I also became a Reiki level II and took one class on Craniosacral therapy. I liked the Hallelujah Diet, which is a high raw diet, and stuck with that way of eating on and off. I still believe this is a very good high raw diet.
My son had some problems in school so he and I had food allergy tests done by Immuno Labs. I still believe they provide the best food allergy tests there are and I worked for them for awhile, monitoring a health forum and writing articles. My son was allergic to soy, which we still try to avoid, and I was allergic to sugar cane - I guess that was a sign of the diabetes to come. If I had only eliminated sugar from my diet completely and forever at that time, maybe I could have prevent the onset of diabetes.
Then during the Christmas break of 2000, we all moved to North Carolina. Our old jobs had ended and my husband had found a new job there. My husband worked as a business analyst and I found a job as a technical writer/now software tester. The move was great in some ways, but very stressful in other ways. My son had trouble adjusting to the new schools. I was looking for a job at first and not getting enough sleep. I started juicing for the kids daily and providing a gluten free, casein free, dairy free, soy free diet at home for about a year. I found sticking to this routine was tiring and stressful as the school system and aftercare would sabotage my son's diet with a pizza party or snacks, no matter how much I asked them not to. I also found that the clean diet at home made him more sensitive to the junk food when he got it. I later joined a support group and learned that the only successful moms doing this diet, were also homeschooling their kids. Nowadays, I just try to avoid additives, high fructose corn syrup, transfats, etc. and do most of my shopping at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's.
I started relying on sweets for my escape and stimulant. I started craving them big time and could not stop myself. I was still exercising during lunch at work. I continued to juice and eat lots of salads, but ate too many grains, sweets, dairy, and processed foods as usual. During this time I went to a variety of health and energy workshops. I learned Quantum Touch, EFT, etc. During one workshop a teacher noticed my lymph nodes were swollen behind my ears. I was not concerned, but I learned later this is one symptom of the Epstein Barr virus. Now I believe I was too tired and stressed to clear the virus from my body, so my immune system suppressed it and this helped to weaken my pancreas and adrenals.
I started developing all the symptoms of Diabetes:
- leg cramps (especially in the middle of the night that would make me jump out of bed in pain)
- extreme hunger
- extreme thirst
- not gaining weight, in fact losing weight, despite eating all the time
- blurry vision
- tired all the time
- strong craving for sweets (one doctor explained this was because the glucose was not getting into my cells, so my cells were still crying out for more sugar, even though I had too much sugar in my blood)
- peeing all the time
- constipation (due to my bowels shutting down and no perstalsis action - fortunately I bought a bib kit and did home colonics which kept me going).
I googled my symptoms and realized I had Diabetes and went to the doctor. He diagnosed me as having Type 2 Diabetes and did not really believe me when I said it didn't run in my family. I was put on oral medications. I eventually switched doctors and was put on more oral medications and no one tested my fasting glucose. A chiropractor tested my fasting glucose and I went to a 3rd doctor who put me on insulin. The chiropractor determined my diabetes was caused by a virus through kinesiology testing and the doctor confirmed it with blood tests - two Epstein Barr viruses to be exact. I had gone from 105 to 88 pounds while on the oral medications. Once I started taking insulin I regained all my weight within a couple of weeks. I got so tired of people telling me to eat - as I was eating all the time!
I was still drinking a fair amount of carrot juice and my doctor eventually discovered that I had rid my body of one of the Epstein Barr viruses, the one that had less antibodies in my body. The larger of the two was still there and off the charts on the number of antibodies I had. I have had to switch doctors, as she moved, so I have not checked to see if I still have antibodies to that E-B virus but in the end it doesn't matter too much because I still have Type 1 Diabetes and still have trouble controlling my blood sugars.
I now also go to a good endocrinologist. She confirmed that I have Type 1, not Type 2, Diabetes and helped me to figure out exactly how much insulin to take and when. But I still had trouble controlling my blood sugars and she was discouraged with my blood tests and wanted to put me on statins as well.
I had been reading about the raw food diet for quite awhile and had tried to switch to it on and off. I found the book "The Raw Family" by Victoria Boutenko particularly inspiring. Although I remember thinking that I wanted to see how they did long term, since at the time she recommended eating anything raw. From various articles and newsletters I had read, I thought greens might turn out to be important. Sure enough, they eventually encountered a few health problems and Victoria invented the green smoothie - which I now enjoy as a quick and easy alternative to juicing.
The longest I had been able to stick with a raw vegan diet was 3 weeks, with the help of EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). I had read the book "Raw Spirit" by raw foodist, Matt Monarch, and got a chance to hear him speak. I was inspired by what he said to try again. What he said about juicing and colonics matched up with what I had learned from Dr. Robbins and read in books by Norman Walker. This time I learned to use colonics to help eliminate the cravings.
Finally, my blood test results after 3 1/2 months on a raw vegan diet were much improved and my endocrinologist was happy with my progress - even though this is not the diet that she would recommend.
See my Background & Starting Out post for the beginning of my journal. Feel free to send me an email and/or post comments.