ACH Blog

Treatment for Diabetes and Withdrawal from HRT

Isobel Cosgrove - Monday, February 17, 2014

Below is a report written by one of our clients, of her experience of Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs over the past seven months. They are her words. 

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"I was originally referred to Isobel for acupuncture by my GP in July 2013 as I had stopped taking HRT about 10months previously and was still having hot flushes 30 or 40 times a day which were making me feel really ill.

During the initial 60min, very thorough consultation in which she asked wide ranging questions about my health and lifestyle which didn’t seem to me to be anything to do with hot flushes, Isobel also became interested in the fact that I had type 2 diabetes. Having built a picture of me as a “whole” she decided that my “constitutional” treatment would be aimed at re-regulating my system, particularly my endocrine system, to improve both hot flushes and blood sugar control but explained that this shouldn’t be viewed as it is in Western terms, ie a remedy for a symptom but rather a remedy for the person, me.

My diabetes history is that I developed gestational diabetes in 1973 at age 23 while pregnant with my second child and though undiagnosed, probably had it during my first pregnancy too as my baby weighed over 10lbs. It reared its ugly head again properly 11yrs later in 1984. I was initially diet controlled, was then on Glibenclamide for a few years and started insulin in 1989 as these treatments were unsuccessful in controlling my blood sugar. I never achieved good control though and my HbA1C hovered around 8-8.5 most of the time. Along with insulin I tried Metformin and Metformin SR sometime around 2006/7 but had such horrendous diarrhoea which interfered with my life and my job that I had to abandon it. My gut had remained very sensitive ever since and I often had bouts of diarrhoea and sometimes vomiting.

After coming off HRT in September 2012, over the following 10mnths my blood sugars got higher and higher. I often woke up with 20-22 and increasing my insulin dose didn’t seem to make much difference. My HbA1c rose to 9.6 at its highest and I was in despair, feeling that I was a failure, it was my fault and there was nothing I could do. I had also put on weight over the last few years and didn’t seem able to shift it permanently despite losing half a stone or so whenever I went to Weight Watchers and exercising regularly twice a week.

I started with Isobel with weekly acupuncture sessions and after the first couple the hot flushes magically decreased to 1 or 2 a day and they were much less intense. I’ve now been treated for about 8months, the sessions are now every 4-6 weeks and the  flushes have stayed at this level so that was relatively easy to deal with. For my part all I had to do was substitute decaff coffee for the real thing and cut down on the amount of tea I drank. 

Although she was also addressing my diabetes Isobel recommended that I see her partner Tim as well for Chinese herbs as they would greatly complement and enhance the acupuncture treatment.

At first Tim gave me a patent formula which is commonly used to increase insulin sensitivity but this really upset my guts and resulted in diarrhoea again. I couldn’t complete the course so he then devised a personalised formula which was much kinder to my digestive system. I tolerated this very well and my blood sugars responded very quickly. Within a few weeks I was having frequent hypos and over time have had to reduce my insulin from 65-70 units a day to 45-50. My last HbA1c, after about 3mnths of treatment was 8.4 and must be even better now. 

As this routine of herbs and acupuncture continued I gradually felt more and more well and with this support I started and have maintained a calorie controlled diet. I have now lost 18lbs. I have never managed to do this in my life before and would not have been able to now either without Isobel and Tim backing me up. I feel completely different to how I’ve felt for years. I’m no longer sluggish and treacle-headed, “the light has come on” and I’m more alive than I’ve been for as long as I can remember. My blood sugar is now usually between 4-7 with the occasional blip but I’m now surprised when it’s over 8. I used to be surprised when it was below 8! 

I know that the diet will have contributed to the improvement in my health but I see this as a three pronged attack. Seeing that for the first time something actually made a dramatic difference to my blood sugar gave me huge confidence and motivated me to do my part too. I felt it was worth making the effort as the effort was supported and consolidated by Isobel’s and Tim’s input.

On occasions Isobel and Tim have also helped me with arthritis pain in my hands, acute pains between my shoulder blades and a threatening respiratory virus. The power of their method is truly astonishing.

I will continue seeing them for as long as it takes to get me completely back on track and if that means regular maintenance treatments for the rest of my life then I’m happy to do that."

Lesley Chrysanthou

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