MR. DeWAYNE McCULLEY HAS A MESSAGE FOR DIABETICS:
“DEATH TO DIABETES”!
By: D.A. Sears
He is an electrical engineer at one of the country’s premiere Fortune 500 corporations.
An Author. An ex-diabetic. Ex-diabetic? Yes, that’s right! He is Mr. Dwayne McCulley.
His groundbreaking book “Death To Diabetes” which chronicles his death-defying-stepping-out-on-faith-fight against diabetes is creating quite a stir in the medical community. McCulley, who had a blood sugar count of 1,337 and took insulin four times on a daily basis, and survived a diabetic coma, is making medical history by virtue of the fact that he has been “diabetes free” for the past four years. This accomplishment along with his book, “Death To Diabetes” is creating quite a stir in the medical community and has pushed McCulley into the spotlight. At last count, he has given approximately 48 formal talks concerning diabetes to churches and diabetes support groups. His experience with diabetes and his fight to stay alive was captured in a February 15, 2006 article published in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle (www.democratandchronicle.com). In the eyes of many, Mr. McCulley’s book “Death To Diabetes” is a critical life line. And the title of Mr. McCulley’s book, “Death To Diabetes” is quickly becoming the battle cry of diabetics nationwide.
So, who is DeWayne McCulley? Where did he grow up? Who inspired him as he
made the journey from childhood to manhood?
“I grew up in a small town in Western Pennsylvania with my seven brothers and
sisters and two strong parents. My father worked in the mill and had other jobs such as painting houses. My mother was a seamstress and worked for a clothing store. My father’s relatives had a small farm, which we worked on throughout the year. So, we learned early on about a strong work ethic. We went to church at least twice a week, so we also had a strong foundation in faith and God. I was inspired by my parents who overcame so much to raise us. I was also inspired by some of my teachers who helped to instill confidence in me and belief in myself. Our Church pastor helped me with my public speaking by making me the church announcer. Ironically, that experience makes it very easy for me to walk into any church today and talk about diabetes,” Mr. McCulley responded. “My parents always emphasized the importance of education. My father used to drill us with math problems that we had to do in our heads. As a result, I became pretty good with math and was primarily an A-B student. That eventually led me to the field of engineering. I didn’t really understand what engineers did, but because of my high math aptitude, some of my teachers thought I would be a natural. But my parents couldn’t afford to send me to college. About a month before high school graduation, I received a full state scholarship to Pennsylvania State University. And, this led to good job offers and engineering positions at Hughes Aircraft Company and Xerox Corporation.”
The conversation quickly moved to McCulley’s battle with diabetes. At one point in his life, he was taking insulin shots four times a day. He had a blood sugar count that was as high as 1,337. I asked him to talk about the day he discovered he was a diabetic. I asked if he had experienced any discomfort or symptoms attributable to diabetes – such as excessive thirst, excessive urination, dramatic downward shifts in energy levels – before Mr. McCulley’s physician had diagnosed his diabetic condition.
“I woke up one morning -- March 20, 2002 -- and could hardly move.” Mr. McCulley began. “Just before I blacked out, I called 911, and the ambulance came and took me to the hospital. A couple of days later, I was told that I had gone into a diabetic coma and almost died. The doctors told me I had other complications including two blood clots that they were trying to dissolve with medication. At the time, I didn’t realize how serious everything was because I didn’t really know anything about diabetes. Then they told me that I would have to take four insulin shots a day to control my blood sugar. Because of my fear of needles they were very patient with me and showed me how to inject myself. At one point, I asked if the nurse could give me the four injections each day. But at $100 for each visit to my house, I quickly realized that I had to overcome my fear of needles. About a month or so before the coma incident, I did notice that I was thirstier and I was urinating more frequently. But at that time I thought I was having problems with my prostate, so I had scheduled a doctor’s appointment in the April time frame.”
What exactly is diabetes?
“Good question. There are basically three types of diabetes,” Mr. McCulley replied. “Type 1 is the autoimmune disease that attacks the pancreas, preventing it from producing insulin. Type 2 is the lifestyle-driven disease – it accounts for more than ninety-five percent of all diabetics. Gestational diabetes is a form of Type 2 that women obtain when they’re pregnant, but it usually goes away after pregnancy. Type 2 is the dominant form of diabetes. There are more than 21 million diabetics in the United States and over 170 million worldwide. The best way to describe Type 2 diabetes is to imagine that each cell in your body has a set of doors that open when the key – insulin -- is present, and, when the doors open, glucose from the bloodstream enters the cell to provide energy; and, your blood glucose level goes down. But, if you’re diabetic, the key doesn’t work and the doors don’t open to let in the glucose. this is known as insulin resistance. Therefore, you don’t have energy and the glucose backs up into your bloodstream causing your blood glucose, or blood sugar, level to rise. In the meantime, the pancreas recognizes that your blood glucose level is not coming down, so it pumps out more and more insulin to try to find enough doors to open and ‘push’ in the glucose. The extra insulin causes the body to produce and store fat. More importantly, the extra insulin makes it very difficult for the body to burn fat. So, although this is an oversimplification, the key to controlling and eventually beating diabetes is to reduce the amount of insulin resistance and repair the cells – by eating foods that regulate the production of insulin and repair the cells, such as vegetables; avoiding foods that cause the excess production of insulin -- refined, processed foods; and, exercising properly -- walking and carrying hand weights -- to increase the uptake of glucose into the cells and decrease the glucose in the bloodstream.”
McCulley says that behavior modification is a diabetic’s biggest challenge.
“Behavior modification – trying to change one’s eating behavior after so many years of eating and living a certain way is very difficult. I was able to change because my mother, daughter, and sister set the tone for change as soon as I got out of the hospital. When you have three women running your household, you’re no longer in charge. But, I thank them -- and God -- for giving me my life back
I asked Mr. McCulley whether his physician, after diagnosing his diabetic condition, had placed him immediately on insulin. Or was he given any oral medication? If so, which one? Glucophage? Precose? Avandia? Rezulin? Glucotrol XL? Glucotrol? Amaryl? Micronase? Glynase? Diabeta?
Mr. McCulley offered the following:
“I was put on insulin immediately. The doctors told me that they couldn’t put me on a diabetic pill such as Glucophage because my diabetes was too severe and the pills wouldn’t work. Ironically, if I had been put on a pill, I believe that I would have become comfortable taking the pill medications. But I never became comfortable injecting myself four times a day, so I was motivated to try to get well. My original objective was to improve my health so that I could reduce the number of insulin injections from four to three and maybe down to two injections if I got lucky.”
After being placed on insulin, did Mr. McCulley’s physician ask or instruct him to attend diabetes education classes which included training on how to take insulin and how and where to store insulin in your home? Or was he given any verbal or written instructions on how to take insulin and how and where to store insulin? What dietary changes were recommended?
“The nurses at the hospital taught me how to inject myself, plus they visited my house
during the first week out of the hospital to ensure I was checking my blood sugar and injecting myself properly,” says McCulley. “With help from one of the nurses, my daughter purchased my insulin, glucose meter, and other diabetic equipment. And there were instructions that explained how to store the insulin, how to inject yourself, etc. But, the nurse stopping by was more helpful than anything else. In fact, one of the nurses felt sorry for me because of the other health issues I was having with my eyes -- blurry vision--, blood --high cholesterol, blood clots, and limbs -- poor circulation. She gave me a free ticket to a diabetes seminar where I met hundreds of other diabetics, doctors, nurses, medical technologists, pharmaceutical people and others involved in diabetes healthcare. I was truly blessed because I met so many people with missing limbs, coke-bottled glasses, in wheelchairs, etc. This was motivation for me because I saw my future. And, when I talked to other diabetics, they were all resigned to being diabetic. I just couldn’t believe with all the excellent medical technology and knowledge in this country that this is what I had to look forward to!”
What type of insulin did McCulley’s physician prescribe for him? Was he given a fast acting insulin – Lispro (Humalog) or Insulin Aspart (Humalog) which required that he eat within fifteen minutes after injection and which finished working in three to four hours? Or NPH (N) Insulin or Lente (L) Insulin which starts working in one to three hours, lowers blood sugar in about six to twelve hours, and finishes working in twenty to twenty four hours? Or regular insulin which required that he wait thirty to forty-five minutes before eating a meal after injection?
“I was on Humalog and Lantus,” McCulley recalled. “I took five to seven units of
Humalog before meals 3 times a day and 45 units of Lantus once a day -- in the morning.”
I asked Mr. McCulley to talk about how his body reacted to the insulin. Did he notice any changes in his body? Did he suffer any side effects from taking insulin? What were the side effects?
“The insulin helped to keep my blood sugar below 200 mg/dl but I was having trouble getting it back to the normal range of 80-110 mg/dl. I was told that the average blood sugar for diabetics in my condition was 180 mg/dl and that trying to get to 80-110 would be fruitless and frustrating and would lead to depression. I didn’t have any side effects that I could notice, but I was getting heavier, even though I was eating less and exercising more. This didn’t make any sense and no one could really explain – except that I had missed a major bullet and should just be happy to be alive. During my research, I discovered why diabetics get fat and why it is so difficult to lose weight! The extra insulin triggers the body to produce and store more fat, which requires more insulin. Plus, when you exercise, it is difficult for the body to burn fat because the extra insulin inhibits fat from burning!”
I wanted to know how and in what ways had diabetes and taking insulin impacted upon McCulley’s life. Was it disruptive? In what ways were diabetes and the intake of insulin disruptive? How did he manage the disruptiveness?
“It was disruptive trying to figure out how to plan around four injections a day. But,
since I was on disability and couldn’t work, it was easier dealing with this at home versus if I had been working. When I returned to work, I purchased a small refrigerator for my office so that I could store my insulin. Actually, I didn’t mind the disruption because I didn’t really have a choice – take the insulin and live or don’t take the insulin and die.”
Some diabetic patients experience neuropathy or severe nerve damage which causes excruciating pain in certain regions of the body. The pain is described as an “excruciatingly radiating pain” which moves up and down the spinal chord and shoots up to the back of the neck to the middle of the back of the skull, The pain has been described as one “ that radiates a burning sensation under the skin”. I asked Mr. McCulley if he had experienced neuropathy. I asked him to discuss how his physician had treated neuropathy in the event it had developed.
“No, I was able to get my diabetes under control before neuropathy could develop. I did have problems with my eyes -- blurry vision and cataracts – which I addressed by eating foods that help to nourish the eyes, e.g. spinach, fish, carrots, onions, etc. I also had thick, sticky blood that was causing blood clots and high cholesterol. I addressed that by eating foods that help to thin the blood, for example, garlic, ginger, fish, vegetable juices, filtered water, etc. As a result, once my body was able to repair the damage to my eyes and blood, my doctor took me off the medications for thick blood -- coumadin, a blood thinner -- and Lipitor, for high cholesterol.”
The discussion moved to hypoglycemia. I noted that many diabetic patients experience it. I asked Mr. McCulley to talk about hypoglycemia. What is it? What causes it? What are its symptoms? Is it preventable? I asked Mr. McCulley if his physician had talked to him about hypoglycemia. Did his physician provide him with instructions or training on what to do about it?
“My doctor told me to be aware of hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is an abnormally low level of glucose or sugar in the blood. It is caused by an inadequate diet that is too high in refined carbohydrates. An over-consumption of refined carbohydrates causes the blood glucose level to rise rapidly, stimulating the pancreas to secrete an excess of insulin. This excess insulin removes too much glucose from the blood, resulting in an abnormally low blood glucose level. If the pancreas does not secrete enough glucagon to counter-balance the extra insulin, the glucose level is driven down too low, and may trigger an attack of hypoglycemia. You can prevent hypoglycemia by not eating refined carbohydrates and other processed foods and by eating healthier carbohydrates such as vegetables and whole grains; and healthier proteins such as fish, nuts and seeds.”
Mr. McCulley is one of the few individuals who have lapsed into a diabetic coma and have lived to tell about it! I asked him whether the diabetic coma was caused by hypoglycemia. How long did the diabetic coma last? y hypoglycemia? How long did your diabetic coma last? What medications and procedures were administered to you during your diabetic coma by hospital physicians? Were there any “after effects” from the diabetic coma? For example, did it affect your cognitive skills or your ability to ambulate?
“According to the doctors, I went into a non-ketotic hyperglycemic hyperosomolar (NKHH) coma, with a blood glucose level of 1337, and almost died. In fact, the doctors had called my mother who lives in Pennsylvania to tell her that by the time she got to New York, I would probably not be alive. But, for the grace of God, and the expertise of the doctors and nurses, I somehow survived the coma, the blood clots, and death. My NKHH syndrome developed over a period of days with the following symptoms: high glucose level, severe dehydration and loss of electrolytes (for example, sodium, potassium); frequent urination; great thirst; weakness; dry skin and tongue; leg cramps; rapid pulse; decreased mental awareness; and, paralysis of the arms and legs -- “rubbery” arms and legs. The doctors told my daughter that if I hadn’t called 911 that morning, I would have lapsed into unconsciousness and died.”
Shortly after his release from Rochester General Hospital in 2002 where he had
spent days after lapsing into a diabetic coma, Mr. McCulley experienced what can only be described as an “epiphany”. One morning he was at home and noticed that his blood sugar levels were low. Usually, he remedied this situation by eating Cheerios. On this particular day, his usual remedy was not available. So, he ate a dish of Brussels sprouts. I asked Mr. McCulley to explain what happened next. What did he discover? How did this discovery change his life?
“Right after my mother, sister and daughter had returned home, the fifth accident occurred one morning when I was preparing my breakfast and noticed that I had run out of my favorite cereal. Because my blood glucose that morning had been a little on the low side --65 mg/dl--, I started to get weak and a little dizzy. I didn’t want to eat a candy bar, so I went to the refrigerator to see what my mother had prepared for me. I found some Brussel sprouts in a plastic container. I hated Brussel sprouts. However, because I was getting weaker, I didn’t have much choice, so I quickly heated the Brussel sprouts with some olive oil and a leftover piece of salmon. Surprisingly, when I measured my glucose level 2 hours later, I noticed that it had not spiked as it had in the past! I was very excited, but, then, I thought maybe it was a fluke because my glucose level had started at such a low level. Anyhow, I felt that I had nothing to lose so I decided to eat Brussel sprouts again for lunch, my mid-afternoon snack and dinner. Each time, my glucose leveled off 2 hours after the meal! A few days later when I went back to my favorite cereal, my glucose level returned to a higher level after breakfast. So, I decided to change my concept of breakfast and eat a green vegetable as my carbohydrate in place of the traditional cereal or other grain. With each passing day, my glucose levels were steadily coming down. I found out later during some research that the juice from Brussel sprouts and string beans is very nourishing for the insulin cell receptors and the body’s glucose management system. It didn’t take me long to modify the hospital’s diet plan and develop a healthy nutritional plan while slowly and methodically reducing my insulin injections, one to two units at a time. This, in turn, lowered my body’s resistance to insulin and reduced my average blood glucose level from 300+ to 200+ to 120+, and, finally to 88.5 mg/dl -- with less than a 10 mg/dl deviation -- within four months. Also, my hemoglobin A1C was reduced to 4.4%. The normal range is 4.2% to 5.5%. Interestingly, I discovered that many of the so-called ‘healthy’ foods recommended by the dietitian were ‘killer’ foods for diabetics! For example, cereal, rice, pancakes, bananas, toast, wheat bread, mashed potatoes, orange juice, and apple juice all caused my blood glucose to rise and remain high. Once I eliminated these foods, my cravings for refined carbohydrates diminished greatly and my blood glucose level stabilized. During those four months I was able to reduce my insulin dosage from 60 units to 0 units and, within another month, I was totally drug-free – no more Coumadin or Lipitor. Also, my energy level continued to grow while my need for food slowed down. Because my body was doing a better job utilizing the nutrients from the food I was eating, my body did not require as much food (fuel) to produce the necessary amount of energy that I required on a daily basis.
When I asked Mr. McCulley to explain why he is “diabetes-free” while other diabetics are not, he responding by saying: “First of all, there is no doubt in my mind that if my mother, my daughter Cynthia and one of my sisters had not come to Rochester to take care of me, I would still be diabetic, or maybe even dead by now. They taught me how to fix quick, easy-to-prepare meals that were a lot healthier than the frozen dinners and other packaged foods I was eating. In addition, I was fortunate to figure out which so-called “healthy” foods were driving my diabetes by using post-meal blood glucose testing. Ironically, as an engineer, we use testing to verify or hardware and software; and, I was able to use those same testing skills to improve my health. There are seven common mistakes that most diabetics make concerning nutrition, exercise, blood glucose testing, spiritual health, and lifestyle choices. For example, some diabetics eat cereal for breakfast, others eat wheat bread – both of these foods are “healthy” foods, but they contain refined, processed grains and flour, some contain high fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oil (trans fats). Some of these food chemicals cause the blood sugar to rise and stimulate an increase in the production of insulin. Some of the other chemicals clog up the insulin receptors, reducing their insulin sensitivity. And, over a period of years, this leads to insulin resistance, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, chronic fatigue, and obesity. Once you stop eating these refined, processed foods and replace them with vegetables, nuts, seeds, fish, whole fruits, etc., your body better utilizes the insulin and reduces its production. This, in turn, allows the body to burn fat and lose weight properly.
He noted that that there are people who will find his story very difficult to believe. What does he have to say to those individuals who find his story unbelievable?
“I don’t believe it either. I was very lucky. But, when other diabetics kept telling me that the super breakfast worked, I thought maybe it was more than luck. I suggest to other diabetics to just try the super breakfast – and, watch your average blood sugar come down within seven to ten days. Besides, what have you got to lose, plus it doesn’t cost anything to try. One of the local news reporters didn’t believe my story either – until she talked to my doctor. To help other disbelievers, my doctor gave me a copy of my medical report, which I placed on my website – his report shows how my blood glucose and hemoglobin A1C improved during my recovery,” McCulley answered.
McCulley talked about proper nutrition and where a diabetic should start in order to improve his or her health:
“Start with breakfast. Our mothers were right when they told us this was the
most important meal. Here’s an example of what I refer to as a ‘super’ breakfast because it is superior and synergistic on several levels:
-- 2 cups of lightly steamed broccoli or spinach
-- 1 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil (place on top of the vegetable after steaming)
-- 2 oz. baked wild salmon or sardines (or 1 Omega-3 egg)
-- 16 oz. filtered water
Focus on eating healthy carbohydrates such as broccoli, spinach and oat; healthy proteins such as fish, nuts, seeds, beans, skinless chicken breast; health fats such as extra virgin olive oil and organic flax oil; and healthy liquids such as filtered water, green/white tea, and raw vegetable juices. These foods will help to cleanse and detoxify the body and give you the necessary energy to exercise and burn fat. If you are sick, you have sick cells in your body. To make yourself well, you need to make the sick cells healthy again. A cell consists of water, fat, protein, and carbohydrate. If you feed yourself healthy versions of water, fat, protein, and carbohydrate, it would follow that your cells will become healthy. I realize that that is an overly simplistic view of cell biology, but it does make some sense.”
When will a diabetic notice a change in their blood sugar levels?
“Obviously that varies from person to person and there are so many variables to
consider,” says Mr. McCulley. “But, in general, a diabetic should notice his/her average blood glucose level start to go down within seven to ten days. And, the more healthy foods they consume and the more they exercise properly, and the more they connect with their inner spirit, the easier it is for the body to initiate its own internal healing mechanism and the faster the body is able to repair the defective cells, and continue to reduce the average blood glucose level. And, as the body begins to heal, the energy level will increase, the emotional health will improve, the body will start to burn fat, and the cravings will dissipate.”
McCulley says that there are one or two things that diabetics can do without spending any extra money to gain better control of their diabetes:
“Stop eating the bread, rice, and potatoes – replace them with green foods such as
broccoli, spinach and Brussel sprouts. Buy a steamer to steam your vegetables. Exercise every day, even if it’s only 5-10 minutes – consistency is the key, not intensity. Read more – educate yourself to empower yourself and free yourself from the dependency on too many unnecessary drugs and medications.”
Does everyone believe that that there is no cure for Type 2 Diabetes?
“Medical science is right, if you follow the conventional medical treatment of drug
therapy, there is no cure for Type 2 diabetes. Diabetic drugs control the symptoms of the disease, but do nothing to get rid of the disease. I realize that what I am about to say is someone overly simplistic, but bear with me a minute. If Type 2 diabetes is a disease that is acquired due to poor nutrition and a sedentary lifestyle, would it not follow that you can unacquire this disease by utilizing proper nutrition and better lifestyle choices? Most people are aware that you can control diabetes with proper nutrition and exercise. But, it hasn’t worked because most diabetics are eating the wrong foods that they believe are healthy for them. So, they blame themselves and eventually give up. My doctor bought several of my books. Other doctors have also bought books, so not everyone believes there is no cure for Type 2 diabetes,” McCulley fired back.
And what does Mr. McCulley’s primary care physician, Dr. Periasamy Samikkannu have to say about his patient’s epiphany? In an February 15, 2006 Rochester Democrat and Chronicle news story concerning McCulley, Dr. Samikkannu pointed out that his patient had “brought his diabetes under control unusually quickly” and stated: “I’m happy about what he has done.”
Mr. McCulley talked to me about his groundbreaking book on diabetes – “Death To
Diabetes.” So, why did he decide to share his epiphany with the world through his book “Death To Diabetes” and his website – www.DeathToDiabetes.com?
“I realized that I was fortunate -- my mother says ‘blessed’ -- to be alive,” McCulley explained. “I was also blessed to have beaten this disease. When I was in the hospital, I realized that I was in serious trouble because I would see some of the doctors shaking their heads in disbelief. Some of the other doctors couldn’t look me in the eye because they knew I wasn’t going to get any better. I prayed and prayed to God that if he got me through this I would help other diabetics. I had heard that more than 90% of Type 2 diabetics -- if they live long enough -- experience one or more of the following problems: blindness, kidney failure, heart attack, stroke, or amputation. And, since I was already having problems with my eyes and blood, I knew the clock was ticking. When I figured out which foods caused my blood sugar to rise, I replaced them with the foods that my mother had prepared for me: Brussel sprouts and broccoli. I continued to experiment with various foods until I found the foods that worked best for me. Slowly and gradually, I was able to reduce my insulin dosage until I reached zero units. I didn’t realize that I had really accomplished anything significant until someone from a local diabetic support group asked me to share my story with their group. When I told them I had a blood sugar of 1,337 and had been on four insulin shots a day, they were shocked that I was even alive. And, then, when I told them I was no longer on insulin, the place just went nuts. Everyone wanted to know more and so they asked me to return to their next meeting. The next thing I knew the director of the American Diabetes Association (ADA), a black woman at that time, asked me to facilitate the diabetic support group meetings. When other diabetics tried eating some of the same foods, they found that their blood sugar levels improved! Needless to say I was just as surprised because I thought that what worked for me was unique to me – that’s what the endocrinologist had told me. Then, several churches asked me to share my story, but they wanted more information. I created a one-page handout that grew into thirty pages, but it still wasn’t enough. Eventually, people started asking me if I planned to write a book. I said ‘No, there are hundreds of diabetics books already written.’ My daughter shared my story with people at work and the parents of one of her friends. She called me one day and said, ‘Dad, people are really excited about what you did. Dad, you should write a book!’ My mother tried eating some of the same foods and was able to lower her blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight in a short period of time. People would stop my mother on the street, in church or in the mall and ask her how she lost the weight and got off her medications. My mother would take the time and write out some of her recipes, but this became time-consuming. She called one day and said, ‘Son, you should write a book.’ I tried to explain to my mother that I didn’t have the time and the skills to write a book, but she wouldn’t take ‘No’ for an answer. Plus, people at work, some who were diabetic, felt that I should at least try to write a book or find someone to translate the story. My daughter convinced me to set up a website: ‘Dad, if you don’t write the book, you should at least create a short bio and put it on the web so that other people, especially our Black people, will know that they can beat this disease. And, if you write the book, people will need to know how to get the book.’ So, as you can see, I was surrounded – I had no choice, but to write the book. Concerning the title of the book, the website and the design of the book cover -- I wanted a book title and a cover design that was clear and powerful, but conveyed a positive, uplifting message of hope and sincerity while conveying the purpose of the book. I came up with the phrase ‘death to diabetes’ to indicate hope and the end, or death, of this serious disease. Then, I needed a cover design that ‘connected’ with the phrase. I remembered that I had a dream about graveyards when I was in the hospital, but it didn’t make any sense at that time. Although, some people thought that a photograph of a graveyard was ‘too dark’, I felt that people would ‘get it’ and see the graveyard and the word ‘Diabetes’ on a headstone as a positive and powerful message. There were a few obstacles that I had to overcome to transform the book from an idea into a finished product. Finding a publisher – the right publisher – was not an easy task. And after finding the right publisher, there was the matter of convincing the publisher to along with my concept for the design of the front cover of the book. My concept of a design for the front cover of my book which featured a photograph of a graveyard and the word ‘death’ in the title of the book did not sit too well. And then there was the matter of pricing the book. The sentiment was that $24.95 was a steep price to pay for a book. So, what was my answer to that? The book is worth a lot more easily. You spend that much on one medication! The average person will save a lot more than that within the first three to four months! And, if they follow the program through fruition, they will save hundreds if not thousands of dollars in groceries, prescription medications, doctor appointments, hospital visits, and other medical bills. What is your health or the health of a loved one worth?”
According to the American Diabetes Association, African Americans are more predisposed than other ethnic groups to be affected by diabetes and medical complications that result from being a diabetic. It estimates that nearly 3,000,000 African Americans have diabetes. A number of us know a family member, neighbor, co-worker, or friend who either has diabetes or has just been diagnosed with a diabetic condition. What’s going on in the African American community? Is it our diet? Is it stress? Is it our lifestyle? Is it lack of exercise? Is it lack of information? Is it lack of adequate access to health and medical resources and support systems? Is it due to an absence of or breakdown in doctor-patient communications?
“African-Americans are more susceptible to diabetes for several reasons, all of which I discuss how to handle in the book,” says McCulley.
So, what are these reasons? Mr. McCulley has a long list that includes:
-- Poor eating habits (too much processed foods, excess animal meat)
-- Living environment (surrounded by fast food restaurants, limited access to fresh vegetables, fruits)
-- Lack of information (many African-Americans are not aware that you can beat this disease)
-- Myths such as the belief that it cost more money to eat healthy makes it difficult for African-Americans to improve their health
-- A misunderstanding about what the diabetic drugs actually do. Most people believe that the drugs actually work! /they are unaware that the drugs only treat the symptoms but not the root cause of the disease.
-- No discomfort is caused by diabetes for many years, therefore there is no motivation to fix the problem before it gets out of control
-- Blind trust in doctors and drugs (I have a great primary care doctor, but he admits that doctors know very little about nutrition)
-- Sedentary lifestyle (many African-Americans work 2 jobs, and don’t have time to exercise)
-- Stress is a problem, but if you eat properly, your body can handle the stress. But stress can lead to poor eating habits creating a vicious cycle.
-- Limited healthcare coverage, so many African-Americans are not even aware that they may be diabetic
-- Poor treatment, service from medical personnel – limited doctor-patient communications
-- Disconnect within churches: Churches hold health fairs, but people don’t participate or heed the message. Church sermons do not focus on the importance of eating healthy. Maybe it’s a coincidence, but it seems that many pastors and other church leaders that I’ve met are unhealthy with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, and on several drugs/medications.
-- Diabetes is “invisible” because people don’t talk about the disease and some live in denial. Coincidentally, there are/were many famous African-Americans with diabetes, including Patti La Belle, Della Reese, BB King, Joe Frazier, Art Shell, Halle Berry, Ella Fitzgerald, Luther Vandross, Arthur Ashe, Ray Charles, Jackie Robinson.
-- There is a genetic disposition for diabetes in African-Americans and other ethnic groups, but if you make better food and lifestyle choices you will not become diabetic.
We know that heart disease is an offshoot of diabetes. Some diabetics that Mr. McCulley has met had some symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease. I asked Mr. McCulley if there was a connection between diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease.
“Yes, some diabetics that I had met had some symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease. They had stages of it although the stage that they were in was not full blown Alzheimer’s Disease. People have asked me if there is a connection and I tell them ‘Yes! There is a connection.’ Without getting into a detailed discussion, let’s look at the disease called diabetes. What is diabetes? In simple terms, it’s a rusting away of the body. The body is basically rusting away on the inside. It attacks the eyes and the kidneys initially because those are the organs that have small capillaries. Diabetes is an accelerated aging disease that attacks the arteries and capillaries and as the disease progresses it will eventually work its way to the bigger organs. It will attack the cardiovascular system and the brain. Obviously, the cardiovascular system feeds the heart and the brain. The arteries rust away first and they develop this plaque in the homocystein level in the endocrine. The high insulin level prevents your body from bringing down the homocystein so you have a higher homocystein level which leads to plaque formation in the arteries.. This can eventually spread to the brain if the brain starts rusting away so to speak. If you have high insulin levels as a diabetic and if the arteries feeding the brain becomes clogged and oxygen is not getting to brain and there is plaque formation on the brain, this can be a precursor to Alzheimer’s Disease. Basically, the point is that if you allow the body to continue to rust away, it will eventually get to every organ in the body, including the kidneys and the brain.”
If we were to resolve the diabetes medical question, would that resolution be the key to resolving all other medical issues such as Alzheimer’s Disease and prostate cancer?
“Yes,” says McCulley. “I have looked at the common denominator in some of the top seven diseases which include heart disease, cancer, stroke, arthritis, ostereoporosis, kidney failure and Alzheimers. In ninety percent of those cases, the common denominator is the existence of a nutritional deficiency. It’s a combination of the body not getting the proper nutrients to prevent that disease – and I’m going to preclude genetic diseases like cystic fibrosis – those are genetic driven diseases. I’m not talking about genetic driven diseases. I’m talking about diseases that are driven primarily by lifestyle. Okay? When you look at heart disease, stroke and diabetes – even though these diseases tend to run in families and it may appear that there is a genetic disposition for these diseases, it does not mean that you will contract these diseases unless you make the wrong choices. The number one driver is the body is not obtaining the nutrients to prevent that particular disease. That’s number. Number two is the body is consuming too much of the wrong nutrients – the toxins – the processed foods, is that simple. Either they are not getting enough of the right foods and/or the body is consuming too much of the wrong foods. And that combination tends to drive these diseases. And if you believe that, then you know the answer to resolving these health issues. The answer is, ‘Okay, maybe I’m not eating enough of the right foods. Therefore, I am not getting enough of the vitamins and nutrients that I need. I’m consuming too much of the toxins from other foods. Therefore, how do I resolve this? Do I take a pill? Do I take a drug? No! Once you understand the problem you realize that taking a pill, taking a drug, taking a medication is not going to resolve the problem as those two issues are still there. So, until you replace the bad food with food that has the proper nutrients and stop putting the poison in the body, you can’t get rid of the disease.”
I asked Mr. McCulley to talk about how his experience with diabetes and becoming the author of a phenomenal book on diabetes has changed his life.
“I do not take living for granted – when you come that close to death and survive, you realize that you are truly blessed. I’ve been an engineer all of my life. It’s a little strange when I am invited to a local college or church and I’m introduced as an author. It’s somewhat ironic that all my life I’ve made decisions to avoid public speaking. I do not consider myself a good speaker, but for some strange reason I seem to ‘connect’ with audiences because they realize that I used to be where they are, and I they want to be where I am --healthwise. After I finished the book, my mother said, ‘God does truly work in mysterious ways. All these years that you've been learning and working as an engineer, God was preparing you for this moment -- so that you could help other diabetics.’ A couple of months after I had left the hospital, I told my mother what the doctors said: ‘According to medical science, I should be dead. According to medical science, I should have lost one or both feet to amputation. According to medical science, I should . . .’ My mother interrupted me and said: ‘Boy, you tell them doctors that there is a science, listen to me now. . . . There is a science that is bigger, much bigger than medical science – that science, it’s called God’s science, and God’s science can fix any disease. Besides, God has other plans for you now’.”
Mr. McCulley has a message for millions of Americans who are diabetics:
“The power to live a healthier life lies within each and every one of us. Eat better and
you’ll do better. When you do better, you’ll be better. And, when you’re being better, others around you will want to get better. Don’t listen to your television! It tells you to eat the bad food. Then, it tells you to take the ‘purple pill’ to feel better. Think about it! Why do they advertise certain foods? Why do they use celebrities to “push” their food and drugs? Is it a coincidence that our children are fatter and sicker today than ever before?”
And McCulley does not shy away from fielding inquiries from the general public about
diabetes or his book, “Death To Diabetes”:
“I am available to talk to anyone. You can reach me via e-mail at DeWayne@DeathToDiabetes.com. Or you can reach me at home Mondays through Fridays after six o’clock in the evening at 585-671-0577. My website – www.DeathToDiabetes.com – explores in detail some of the issues I’ve talked about here. If anyone is interested in getting a copy of my book, they can visit my website or send a note to me at: Death To Diabetes, 940 Holt Road, #190, Webster, NY 14580.”
What does the future hold for DeWayne McCulley?
“During my free time, I am working on a diabetes wellness training program that would
be a hands-on program that focuses on how to gradually change eating behaviors without any major disruptions in one’s life. The program would teach people how to shop and save money, how to easily prepare healthy foods within minutes, how to exercise in less time, how to enjoy your favorite foods, how to recognize unhealthy foods, how to recognize a quality vitamin or other nutritional supplement, etc. Hopefully, I’ll find a company that is health-conscious enough to offer people a financial incentive by taking the training course -- for example, a credit or decrease in their healthcare premium. I don’t know what the future holds, but as I mentioned, my mother believes that God has other plans for me. But, I expect everything will finally calm down and return to normal now that the book is written. My mother told me, “Son, for someone with so much book smarts, I would think that you would have figured it out by now – the book is just the beginning, your journey is not over. God will touch other people who will ready your story and they will find ways to reach more people and bring hope where once there was none.”
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