Overcoming the Odds: T2D Patient’s Journey to Marathon Success

Adopting the philosophy of ‘mind over matter’ can have a powerful impact on many aspects of life. In many instances of illness or injury, people can often conjure up herculean efforts to boost their physical and mental well-being, alongside therapeutic intervention, to overcome a medical or health challenge. 

This is something that our 52-year-old patient Bhushan Karle was able to accomplish when he transitioned from living with type 2 diabetes (T2D) heavily reliant on medication and insulin to taking charge of his health and becoming a marathoner who now needs minimal medications.

Bhushan’s Story 

Bhushan was diagnosed with T2D in his early thirties. His parents also had diabetes, and he remembers them needing heavy doses of insulin while growing up in India. 

His initial reaction to the diagnosis was one of disappointment in himself for not taking better care of his health after seeing how his parents suffered from this condition.  Bhushan’s first treatment involved a combination of insulin and many pills until he met Texas Diabetes endocrinologist and diabetes specialist Dr. Keta Pandit.

She re-evaluated him and explored a variety of medications before eventually weaning him off of an insulin pump due to complications.

Taking Control of his Health 

Once he got off his pump, Bhushan made a conscious decision to radically shift his mindset and take better control of his health. This started with making small efforts at first, like getting back into sports that he always loved as a child. Regular exercise is highly beneficial for those with diabetes to help regulate blood sugars levels and maintain a healthy weight and blood pressure. 

Although his initial goal to exercise more was a step in the right direction, it wasn’t resulting in the changes he wanted to see. He was able to lower his A1C, but it still was not decreasing as much as he had hoped to make a significant difference. 

Adopting a Running Regimen 

Deciding that he wanted to be more aggressive with his physical activity, Bhushan started running with a group of friends in his community.

With this group, he was inspired to run a marathon, like the many others who were a part of it.  He enlisted the help of a coach, Dr. Mohan Achwal, who armed Bhushan with a spreadsheet to track his training and food intake. As a data analyst, this method really spoke to him and motivated Bhushan to chart and follow through with his progress. 

One big hurdle that Bhushan encountered while training for the marathon was not knowing what to eat. Runners need plenty of carbohydrates to fuel their training, but carbs can be dangerous for people living with diabetes and maintaining healthy AIC levels. 

Dr. Pandit, a runner herself, reminded Bhushan that his first intention to become a runner was to find a sustainable exercise plan that could support his lifestyle and help him control his diabetes. She encouraged him to avoid over training and fuel his body while keeping in mind that his pancreas will not respond to high carb meals the way his fellow runner friends’ do. 

“While insulin resistance improves with weight loss and exercise, beta cell function from pancreas doesn’t recover to a point where high carb meals can be consumed without close attention to glucose levels,” explains Dr. Pandit. “I encouraged him to candidly share with his friends that his plans will vary given his health condition and limitations.”

Bhushan took that advice to heart and found his own journey empowering rather than a limitation to his goals. His mindset shifted and his physical and mental endurance improved.

He eventually ran his first half-marathon in 2023 and completed his first full marathon in 2024. 

Bhushan shares that having Dr. Pandit and the staff at Texas Diabetes support helped encourage him along the way.  

“A doctor who empathizes with patients and an office that is collaborative is very important to have as part of your team,” he says. 

Supporting Your Goals 

Bhushan believes that anyone can make lifestyle changes with the right mindset. Tips that he offers for anyone with diabetes who wants to make an impactful change on their condition, which could mean the difference between taking insulin or not, are to:

  • Make eating bad/unhealthy food difficult or out of reach
  • Enlist a partner in your health and fitness goals to keep you accountable 
  • Find a coach to help guide you through your health/fitness journey
  • Replace regular bread with better options such as those that are low-glycemic, or made with whole or sprouted grains 
  • Start gradually, even if it is only walking, and add more intensity from there 

Dr. Pandit recommends finding a diet and exercise plan that is sustainable and enjoyable so that it does not feel like a chore. 

“To commit to a full lifestyle change, I encourage my patients to take an inward journey to find what truly brings them joy when it comes to an exercise plan – biking, hiking, running, yoga, pilates, gym memberships, group training and fitness plan, swimming, or joining a sport team,” she says. 

“The goal is to find something for fitness that is enjoyable, not to win a race or a medal,” shares Dr. Pandit. “Living with diabetes and achieving that level of lifestyle change is a medal.”   

Today, Bhushan has made such huge strides in staying active and eating well that his diabetes maintenance is minimal, and he has in effect, reversed many of the most serious side effects of his condition.  He currently works closely with Dr. Pandit and uses a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) to watch his blood sugar levels and maintain his life goals. 

Contact Us to Help Manage Your Diabetes and Thyroid Conditions 

If you’d like to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists at Texas Diabetes & Endocrinology and discover how our diabetes services  and other endocrinology therapies can help you lead a full and active life, please contact us at (512) 458-8400 or request an appointment online.  

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram and check back with us each month as we provide you helpful wellness and health information.

How ChatGPT helped one patient correct his diabetes misdiagnosis

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is infiltrating everything these days, even medical diagnoses. One young patient of ours was misdiagnosed with Type 1 diabetes (T1D), but through his own intuition, research using ChatGPT, and the help of Dr. Keta Pandit, discovered that he had an inherited form of diabetes known as Maturity-Onset Diabetes of the Young (MODY).

24-year-old Cooper Myers was first treated for T1D while living in South Carolina after experiencing common diabetes symptoms (high blood sugar despite diet and exercise, fatigue, excessive thirst, and frequent urination). At the time of his diagnosis, he tested negative for GAD antibodies which are typically found in those with T1D. However, even with dedicated efforts at eating well and exercising, his blood sugar was still high, leading the doctor to believe he had T1D. 

Knowing his strong family history of diabetes on his father’s side, dating back to his great grandmother, coupled with the fact that he tested negative for antibodies, Cooper felt like something didn’t seem right about his diagnosis. 

Upon moving to Austin, TX, Cooper established care with Texas Diabetes and Endocrinology under board certified endocrinologist Dr. Keta Pandit and her team. Dr. Pandit managed Cooper’s insulin pump and noticed that he was having frequent low glucose values and had to continue reducing his insulin dosing. 

With a career in technology and extensive knowledge of AI, Cooper relayed his questions regarding his family history and lack of antibodies to ChatGPT, searching for insight on other forms of diabetes. He kept landing on references to Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young (MODY), a genetic form of diabetes caused by a gene mutation.

Cooper shared his findings with Dr. Pandit, who seemed to agree with Cooper’s concerns at that time.  His insulin requirements were much lower than other TID patients, which raised concerns for Dr. Pandit as well. 

Diagnostic Testing Provides Clarity

Dr. Pandit supported re-evaluating Cooper’s diagnosis and ordered a variety of tests to look at specific antibodies, which included pancreatic antibodies to confirm there are no T1D antibodies and C-peptide which confirms that the pancreas is still producing insulin. After Cooper’s result showed he had no antibodies and low (normal) C-peptide levels, Dr. Pandit ordered a genetic blood test to examine the genes that were associated markers of MODY. 

After this lengthy process, and waiting more than a month for the results, it was confirmed that Cooper had MODY 2 (there are different types of MODY depending on which gene is affected). MODY 2 is caused by a mutation of the GCK gene.

Working with Dr. Pandit, Cooper was able to gradually change his medications and get off his insulin pump.  Now, his blood sugar and insulin production are properly managed, and he is living a normal and healthy life off his insulin. Dr. Pandit says that with his lifestyle, his prognosis is excellent. 

Cooper has now found a great support system online for fellow MODY patients who were misdiagnosed like himself. 

His advice to others who are concerned about a diagnosis is to trust your instincts and do your own research, but also discuss things with your doctor and trust their expertise and guidance.

Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young

MODY is a genetic form of diabetes that is unlike Type 1 (T1D) or Type 2 (T2D) diabetes as it is not autoimmune (T1D) or triggered by factors like poor diet and obesity (T2D). A gene mutation in those with MODY limits the ability of the pancreas to make enough insulin to support healthy blood sugar levels. There are different subtypes of MODY depending on which gene is affected, each resulting in different symptoms and complications. 

MODY is a very rare diagnosis compared with commonly diagnosed conditions such as T1D and T2D. It is estimated to account for 5% of all diabetes cases in the United States. The genetic mutation that causes MODY has a 50% chance of being passed down to subsequent generations. If a child does inherit the mutation, they will generally develop MODY before they reach 25 years of age regardless of their lifestyle, ethnic group or other risk factors such as obesity or increased weight gain. 

Research shows that up to 80-90% of MODY cases are first diagnosed incorrectly as T1D or T2D. Key features of MODY are the age of diagnosis, under 25 years of age, having a parent with diabetes, and often diabetes in two or more generations. Testing for the presence of antibodies can help rule out the condition. Patients diagnosed with MODY classically do not need insulin. 

It is important to distinguish MODY from T1D and T2D because the treatment and management options are quite different. Insulin injections are primary mode of treatment for T1D, while generally Metformin is the first line of treatment for T2D. On the other hand, MODY is treated through other medications, such as sulfonylureas. 

Contact Us for Help in Managing your Diabetes

If you’d like to schedule an appointment with Texas Diabetes & Endocrinology and discover how our diabetes services  and other endocrinology therapies can help you lead a full and active life, please contact us at (512) 458-8400 or request an appointment online

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram and check back with us each month as we provide you helpful wellness and health information.