On the Brink

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
My doctor is threatening me with death. Not tomorrow but twenty
years sooner than I would prefer to live. If I will live for thirty years, I
don’t want to do it in a wheelchair or without my feet. I’m diabetic and
have been coasting on oral meds. But my blood sugar numbers are
going up and I have very consistent high inflammation rates. A friend
did a very stringent diet to reduce inflammation. For six months. It
looked hard but she claimed it was worth the deprivations. I’m scared
of anything so tough but also scared of what’ll happen if I do nothing.
I want a lifestyle that lets me be social with friends, like having a drink
and going for a hike.
On the Brink

Dear On the Brink:
The usual disclaimers. I give lifestyle, not medical, advice. But
speaking for all people who’ve every received a “do it or else” speech
from a doctor, my response is pretty much the same as yours: Eeek.
Damn. Can I have more time? Eeek,eeek, eeek! Anger, sadness, eeek
and a search for information or options that satisfy several criteria.


Those criteria are: palatability (literally, I’ll put this food in my mouth
and swallow); manageability (I can adapt to the time needs of this
regimen); and sustainability (I’ll stick with it long enough for it to do
some good. The bad news: you’re going to have to do something. The
good news: working with your doctor you’ll find a program that meets
your criteria, whether it’s what your friend did or something different.
Any change will likely feel like one.


Lay out all options, from most radical to most minimal. Lay out the goals and                    ground rules. You have several chances every day to do right or to screw up.                  Every time you lift a fork, you’re making a choice about how long you want to                live and under what conditions. Be sensible, be committed. Practice the
simplest decisions: smaller portions, more exercise, no fad diets. It will
take at least six months, probably a year. Mostly, make the decision that you’re worth it, and that if you do it right, you can hike and toast your success with friends though and after your transition. Good luck.