The Demands of Greatness: Outwitting T1D and ESRD With Hunger

“As so many choose lives of indolence, let us be unafraid of the demands of greatness and choose to pick up the dimming golden torch of human excellence and ignite it once more with life and power…” writes Brendon Burchard in The Motivation Manifesto.

Nicole may not quite be “unafraid of the demands of greatness” but my wife certainly picks up “the torch of human excellence” (despite how heavy it feels).

As she goes into her eleventh year of dialysis treatment her heart is showing serious signs of weakness. Indolence, or avoiding action that may help remedy what many would label a hopeless situation, is a temptation she struggles with.

Instead, of surrendering to an early funeral, she has renewed her efforts in many healing methods she has found produce results. Not big, fast, immediate results. But results all the same. In particularly, she been fasting 3-4 times per week (on distilled water) for 24-hour periods.

If, indeed, the main issue with her heart is mineral deposits from inactive kidneys, fasting is a well recognized way of cleansing the arteries and walls of the heart. For the last two weeks she has often skipped breakfast and lunch. She does these 24-hour fasts on days she has dialysis treatment, and on Sunday and Monday when there’s a longer break between dialysis treatments.

As mentioned in an earlier post, her intention was to complete 5-10 consecutive days fasting each month. With her most recent attempt at 10-days without food we soon discovered that water fasting and dialysis is much like blood-letting a starving man. The dialysis machine is calibrated for someone who has had 5-8 meals since their last treatment, not zero. After two sessions and no food for five days, her potassium levels were falling dangerously low.

When she did the longer 38-day fast in 2017 she was able to have dialysis every day without going into a mineral deficiency. But she was also drinking donated urine (mainly her son’s) as outlined in the The Water of Life by John Armstrong. As repulsive as that may sound, her kidney function went from producing 2ml of urine a day to 100ml. What works, works. (Indeed, we all drank our own urine for 7 months of our life while in the womb).

Nicole doesn’t mind drinking her own urine. Well, she minds. But she’s willing to do it. If she could. Which she can’t. Because she doesn’t make enough. But she finds drinking others very difficult. It’s sort of the last resort if everything else fails.

So we are seeing how short 24-hour distilled water fasts go. She breaks the fast after each dialysis treatment to build up her electrolyte stores again. So far, this seems adequate to stop any mineral deficiencies (an otherwise difficult state for those without functioning kidneys to fall into).

With her 38-day fast we saw no results until day 15. That’s when urine output started to climb. What we need to find out is whether she needs to fast 15 consecutive days, or can it be every other day, before her kidneys or heart will see a benefit.

If it turns out the intermittent approach doesn’t produce results fast enough, the experience will at least customize her body to fasting. Then she can try working up to longer 3-, 5- and 10-day fasts. To prevent electrolyte deficiency we have considered trying low-carb vegetable broths and juices. Considering her kidneys are offline, it shouldn’t take much broth or juice to stabilize her electrolytes after a dialysis session. By juicing and simmering only green veggies she can avoid introducing a significant amount of carbohydrates which would knock her out a fasting state.

Chard juice would still constitute far, far, less calories than the fasting mimicking diets which have reportedly cured type-1 diabetes in rodents. Sure, it may slow down the process of healing. But it won’t slow down healing as much as dying.

Nicole’s also employing other tools and methods to respond to the dire circumstances that surround her. She’s not trying to play the hero. She doesn’t want to be one. She reminds me of Frodo form Lord of the Rings. Frodo discovers that demonic creatures (who still require horses to get around) are ascending on the care-free land he lives in, searching for a ring with which to enslave the world. The only one who can stop them? Frodo. He has to take the ring and leave the comfort of his village and travel into the unknown.

He’s the one who doesn’t want to be the one. But he does it anyway.

Fasting is not easy for Nicole. She feels hungry, weak, tired and moody. Nausea, headache and intermittent insomnia haunt her. The body, when relieved of the burden of digestion, seems to rush into an intense healing mode, indifferent to how detoxification makes her feel.

“Each of us serves as a living example to others,” continues The Motivation Manifesto. “Our character and conduct can cast either the bright glow of greatness and service to the far corners of our influence, or a shadow of smallness and selfishness to the unfortunate few nearest us.”

Despite the darkness that haunts her, Nicole keeps on picking up the torch of perseverance, no matter how often it slips from her grip.

Thinking outside the T1D Matrix,
– John C. A. Manley

P.S. For more information on how hunger may heal T1D check out: Fasting for Stem Cells: A Promising Cure for Type-1 Diabetes

P.P.S. For more wise counsel from The Motivation Manifesto check out: T1D Healing Obstacle: Mistaking Lack of Ambition for Serenity


About the Author: John C. A. Manley researches and writes about alternative treatments for type-1 diabetes and its many complications. His wife, Nicole, of 15 years has had type-1 diabetes for four decades. Together they have lowered her HgbA1c below 5.5%, regained thyroid function, increased kidney function and reversed gastroparesis. Read more about their journey out of the T1D matrix or subscribe to their Diabetic Dharma blog..