Tom Hanks announced on David Letterman last night that he has type 2 diabetes. And immediately the diabetic community’s up in arms about what he said. He and Dave had a brief discussion about weight management and diet, and Tom mentioned that his Dr said “If you can weigh what you did on high school, you will essentially be completely healthy”. This statement isn’t entirely false. Each case is different, but type 2 sometimes CAN be regulated with medicine, with diet and exercise, or a combination of both. And in some people, by just maintaining a healthy weight, they can reduce their need for medicine. This requires a tremendous amount of work and dedication, and isn’t true with all cases.

The real problem is that Tom added a few more words. “you will be essentially healthy, and will NOT have type 2 diabetes”. There is the problem. Because all though type 2 may be able to be managed and regulated and almost seem to be reversed or in remission, it is always there. Add a few pounds (maybe for his next movie role) and you are right back in the thick of it. Stop being diligent, stop working hard at it, and yes, it’s there.

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There was a joke about “something’s gonna kill us all Dave”. I am okay with that statement, as well as the “It’s controllable” statement he made.

Here is the interview:

Now understand that Tom Hanks has a major movie that is being released, and that was what was really being covered. The Type 2 announcement may have been a gift for David so he could break the story, we don’t know. So understand that this interview wasn’t to discuss diabetes, the different types, the warning signs, etc. After the initial “hey, guess what happened to me!” moment, they moved on.

What do you think? Let me know what your thoughts are. We need a cure

Team Blackdogsrule

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  1. Interesting. I was just diagnosed as insulin resistant, or pre-diabetic. This was heartbreaking & also not very surprising. Having dealt with Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome since I was 21, I played right into this disease’s hands. I was told that if I wanted to avoid becoming fully diabetic I needed to drastically change my life, and that, of course, it was up to me to decide if I want to change. So, while he did say some things that were a little questionable, he was pretty on the money with what I was told as well. Granted I don’t have the knowledge you guys have, but from what I’ve learned about type 2, it is controllable…it’s just up to the individual.

    • Agreed Val. And I’m sorry. But as you already know, this is not a death sentence, and is controllable. As a matter of fact, a great way to help control it is by taking hikes in your local mountains with dogs and old family members. đŸ™‚ Now that it is cooling off a little, I see many of those in the future. Let me know if you want to come along

      • Of course it’s not a death sentence. It’s been a good wake up call, for sure! Maggie & I are very interested in hiking! I was planning on taking her on her first one this week. I’m sure she’ll love it & it would be great to hang out with you guys!!!

  2. My thoughts:
    The word “reversal” is tossed around in the T2 community, but never defined well. Does that simply mean getting off medication? Does it reflect clearly the possibility of reemergence of the problem? What A1C will you use to define reversal? What fasting BG defines reversal? If a person occasionally rises outside of or falls below normal parameters, how does that affect one’s definition? I prefer the term “remission” because it is defined as “a temporary or permanent decrease or subsidence of manifestations of a disease.”
    1. Someone with a genetic pre-disposition for T2 diabetes, insulin resistance, syndrome x, etc. is likely to develop T2 over time with chronic consumption of a high-glycemic diet and/or inactivity. There are people with T2 who are not obese. Obesity may be symptomatic that the conditions are present that are likely to turn on the genetic switch for T2/insulin resistance.
    2. To have any chance at managing the disease with diet and exercise, you pretty much have to be committed to radical changes (which is not typically what the diabetes educators will teach you – more likely you will be taught to count carbs and the numbers per meal may be quite high).
    3. You will need to be committed to lifelong changes, not a temporary ones. Food will be your “medicine” and “exercise” will be, too. When these components are out of order, it will be easy for the T2 conditions to reappear.
    4. In my opinion, once you have been diagnosed as T2, you must NEVER stop monitoring your BGs even if you go off medication if you want to maintain control. Food, other health conditions, etc. all have the potential for affecting the cascade of activities that happen in the body to allow it to properly process glucose. That could change at any time. Catching the changes quickly may help you prevent further damage to your organs.
    I personally don’t care for Tom’s dismissive attitude related to T2, but it’s not uncommon. Medication is an easier option for most T2s than substantial lifestyle changes.

    I speak from a very personal perspective. I was diagnosed in 2008 with T2 (the youngest ever in my family to receive the Dx – I was 41 at the time). My diet had become terrible, I rarely exercised anymore, my sleep habits were terrible, and I was highly stressed. I had an A1C of 9.3 when I was diagnosed. I was given education locally, placed on metformin, and was able to bring my A1C down no further than 6.3 over three years. Given that my dietitian had prescribed meal carb-counts between 45gand 60g per meal, it’s not surprising. For a non-insulin-dependent T2, in my opinion, those counts are way too high for a sednetary person to make changes to decrease insulin resistance.

    In 2011, I decided to make more radical lifestyle changes in order to try to get off of metformin (it has it’s own medical risks). I was able to change my diet radically (about 80 percent raw veggies and low-glycemic fruit) and increased my activity level enough to be off metformin within 3 mos. It took me another three years to bring my fasting glucose out of the pre-diabetes range (avg. 105) into the “normal” range. In those three years, I had to keep tweaking…removing foods that seemed to cause higher BGs, exercising differently and with the support of a coach, managing stress better, etc. Most of the time I have well-managed normal BGs, but I am still sensitive to carb-loads and stress. I have lost a total of 63 lbs., but I have many more to go to reach a weight that is less stressful for all of my body systems (not just my pancreas and muscle cells). I know that because I monitor my BGs daily. I realize that T2 has the power to reemerge at anytime – I am genetically pre-disposed. I find that there is a lot of misunderstanding about T2 (not as much as T1). It can be hard to change when few people around you understand, but it is possible to connect with others who will support a commitment to wellness.

    If you are struggling with T2, I have appreciated much of what was written about it in the book Blood Sugar Solution, by Dr. Mark Hyman.

    • P.S. My last A1C (July) was 5.4 – still not as low as I’d like, but I got there with diet and exercise.

      • And working your @ss off Lori. Your commitment to being healthy is inspiring to me. I went back in and tweaked a couple of things from my initial post. You will have to forgive me, I had a lab wake me up at 3am to address a high BG that wouldn’t go down, so (i won’t mention any names RAVEN) unmentioned lab wouldn’t settle and I have been up since way to early.

        • I wish I could edit my post! I found typos and I put it together between training sessions for new employees today. It feels sloppy. Oh well! I can live with my imperfections. Work schedules have been difficult lately and making my health plan challenging to keep on target. Tracking everything lets me see that all very clearly and make adjustments. I’m glad Raven was a good helper last night even though she wouldn’t settle. May you find reward in all you do to protect the treasure of your family.

  3. What a lot of people don’t know is you don’t just get type 2 because you’re over weigh, our nit making enough insulin. Sometimes you get it just because you’re body doesn’t use the insulin you make properly. A lot of people think diabetes is always the individuals fault. But there are different kinds of diabetes and different ways to get it. My friend had type 2 because she got it while she was pregnant and it didn’t resolve.