I was just reading a new blog post from my Twitter friend, Rachel, called, “Would they dare?“. In her post, she poses the question, “Would pharmaceutical companies even allow a cure for diabetes?”. That struck a nerve with me as I have been secretly thinking that exact same thought..but I couldn’t bring myself to say it out loud.
When I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes a couple of weeks ago, my doctor (his assistant, actually), announced that I had “full blown” diabetes (whatever *that*means), handed me a stack of brochures to look through, a bag of free samples of Avandanet from GlaxoSmithKline, and sent me on my way. She told me she’d schedule an appointment with me in three weeks to teach me how to test my glucose levels. Wham bam thank you ma’am…in and out of the doctor’s office in 20 minutes flat. It was like moving through a fast-food line.
I was in shock, of course, and even though she asked me if I had any questions, I had none. I didn’t know what I didn’t know, and so I didn’t know what to even ask.
Determined to learn everything I could about diabetes, I picked up a book by Julian Whitaker called, “Reversing Diabetes” and read it cover-to-cover over a couple of days. Then I picked up a book called, “Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes”. I mentioned on Twitter that I was reading these books and quickly received a cold “There is no cure for Diabetes.” response.
While neither of the authors mentioned above suggest a conspiracy involving the pharmaceutical companies, I couldn’t help but ask myself a lot of “why?” questions as I learned more about type-2 diabetes.
Why, for example, did my doctor just hand me a bunch of pills without mentioning that many studies have shown that type 2 diabetes can be reversed to the point of being un-diagnosable with the right food and exercise alone? Why didn’t she even bother explain to me the differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes? Or what rosiglitazone and metformin will do to me now that I am watching what I eat (I had never experienced a “low” in my life before taking these drugs.)? Why do so many people fail while following the ADA diet recommendations? And why does it take 3 months to get an appointment with a nutritionist? I felt like I just received a death sentence, and yet no one seemed to exhibit any huge sense of urgency regarding my diagnosis. Business as usual. “Next!”.
Perhaps doctors have no faith that people can actually take care of themselves through diet and exercise and that the drugs are the only guarantee to minimize the damage. I have to admit, though, it did cross my mind that doctors’ attitudes are strongly influenced by the pharmaceutical companies. I have a friend who was a big pharma rep and she told me stories of buying the entire office lunch once a week just so she could get face-time with the doctors to push her company’s products. And that made me think of the millions and millions of dollars that the pharmaceutical companies would stand to lose if there actually were a cure for diabetes. It’s much more profitable for them to control the symptoms of the disease than to cure the disease itself. And it’s easier for the doctor as well…it takes a lot less effort to prescribe a pill than it does to explain alternate ways to save your own life.
It begs the question: Are doctors and pharmaceutical companies in a parasitic and symbiotic relationship because it is mutually beneficial for both parties?
Me, I’ve decided to try and attack the problem, rather than the symptoms. Even though I’m taking my metformin as I’m told, I’m holding out hope that I can reverse my type 2 diabetes someday with diet alone. I’m still learning about diabetes, and I may just be naive…but I think those damaged cells can be fixed, permanently, and not with just an expensive magic pill.