A lot of things happened all at once when I was getting close to getting off of injectable insulin…
I was working hard — single-minded focus kind of hard — to get off of insulin and other meds. Nothing else mattered. I wanted off insulin.
I was losing weight. I had discovered walking and weight lifting. My diet was getting cleaned up, stronger, healthier by the day. All of this was helping me wean off of insulin.
I was experiencing glucose highs/lows like crazy as my body was working frantically to adjust to the diminishing supply that I was injecting daily. I could FEEL my body working to take over an injection-free life.
It was an amazing time!
It was at this point that I began to realize and understand that I was changing my LIFE, not just sticking it out with a diet. I was finally beginning to own the idea of this being my new lifestyle.
I was outright trading PRESCRIPTIONS for FOOD/ACTIVITY.
This past weekend I was in a conversation with someone I was meeting for the first time. He and I had very similar wild/crazy/uncontrollable hair and we were laughing about it. He was talking about the life-long struggle, I admitted that my curls were fairly new.
Natural, but new…
I shared with him that one of the most noticeable and perhaps panic-inducing moments of getting off of insulin involved my hair…
If you have only known me in the past 3+ years, you might be puzzling over the fact that my hair is decidedly NOT straight.
My wild mop is pretty much a way folks recognize me these days.
So how did I get curly hair?
I quit taking injectable insulin in February of 2012, by early June of 2012 my hair was falling out.
Most of it fell out one morning in the shower.
I never thought I was vain about my hair. Still amazing to me how I suddenly became pretty damn connected to my head of hair when it was falling out and I had no idea why…
So get this…
Turns out that insulin, which I was injecting 72 units a day for Type 2 Diabetes, is a hormone.
When you quit taking it; combined with shifting your entire lifestyle to try to get your body to accept that you want your OWN insulin/glucose receptors to kick back in and take back over…?
Turns out your hormones are just a wee-bit out of whack. Your hormones are not even remotely stable and they’re fighting hard to normalize.
Apparently, shedding hair can be one response to this ‘sudden’ hormonal shift.
Here’s how it went down…
I went for a run. I was in the shower washing my hair and went to rinse my hair and looked at my hands…
That seems like a lot of hair.
BUT — it’s Spring. Maybe I’m just shedding hair because it’s getting warm.
Ran my hands through my hair again to rinse my hair. The hair was so thick on my hands I could barely see the skin of my hands.
Panic is starting to surface. But it can’t REALLY be that much hair — right? — maybe I’ve just never really paid attention to how much hair I lose daily… This is probably normal…
Repeat a third time.
Crap. That is a LOT of hair. Is that ALL of my hair?! DO I have any left?
Get out of the shower. Towel dry my hair. Lots of hair in the towel…
Look in the mirror.
Panic. Full blown, breath-stealing, hot-tear inducing panic.
I called my Doctor.
Doc… ‘This is a possible side effect to going off of insulin – which you have been on for years. It’s fairly rare. It’s totally benign. You are fine and healthy. Your hair will grow back. It might be a little different color or texture as it grows back in.’
Me… ‘Swell. Uh… WAS SOMEONE GOING TO TELL ME THIS AT SOME POINT AND TIME?!!’…
Doc… *laughter* ‘Bets. In 20+ years of practicing medicine you are one of two of my patients that have successfully reversed Type 2 and gotten OFF OF insulin. The other patient was a bald male. *laughter* ‘I didn’t know what to tell you to expect. It will grow back. Find some cute hats.’
Me… *Digging in my room for a hat. Any hat. Frantically texting my sister and friends for a phone number for a hair stylist. ANY hair stylist… *
I went from wavy/straight hair to absurdly CURLY hair almost literally overnight.
I have lost a bunch of weight, reversed type 2 diabetes and found running… And even when I look at pictures from that timeframe and see the weight coming off, or the race pictures where I know I was learning to run…
I am reminded how my hair is probably the one, single thing that best shows the changes and tells the story of my new life. 🙂