6 TBSP cocoa, 1/4 C butter, 1 C sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1/3 C flour, 2 eggs, Cook 350 - 25 mins.



As most of you know by now, I'm not blogging as much as I used to. Our family is getting our home ready to receive foster children this year. There is much to be done.

In the process of becoming foster parents it is required that everyone in our household have a physical examination. I've been busy taking all of our children to the doctor. The twins needed their 5 year shots, Kazz needed a booster and Vinnie was pretty well up to date with all of his requirements. All were healthy and there was nothing to make me think that Brise would be any different.

Last Monday I took Brise in to see our pediatrician. I expected to be in and out of there in a little over an hour just like we were with the rest of the boys. Little did I know that we would have a life changing experience that day. Please know that it could have been MUCH worse but that day did change our lifestyle, for the better.

We went in and Brise hopped up on the counter. The nurse took him out to weigh him and log his height. Brise is tall for his age. He's 5'6" tall, 11 years old and wears a size 13 shoe. When they came back into the room she took his blood pressure.
"hmm...let me do that again" She took it again.
"hmmm...this cuff isn't working correctly." She took the cuff off, left the room and came back with another cuff. She installed it and took his blood pressure again.

"His blood pressure is high." She said, and promptly left the room.

I had a hard time processing that. I was wondering how an 11 year old could have high blood pressure. She walked out the door before I could ask how high.

We go to a teaching pediatrician so the first doctor to walk in the door was just on his second day of rounds. He was nervous so we chatted a bit and I tried to answer all of his OVERLY thorough questions. We were questioned to ad nauseum...or so I thought. Little did I know that he had spotted something right away that caused him to ask so many questions.

He walked out the door and immediately came back in with a third year doctor. She began talking as if I knew what the heck she was talking about. She began talking about diabetes and how we need to change our eating.

"I see here that you drink soft drinks in your home. Those need to be stricken from your diet Brisan. Do you understand that?"

My head was swimming. What is she talking about?!

She then began explaining what foods we need to eat and how much. She talked and talked. She handed Brise literature. She talked some more. She handed me literature.

What is going on here? They haven't even looked in his ears yet!! I am very seldom at a loss for words. This day, I was lost.

They left the room. I could see that my son was on the verge of tears. I WAS on the verge of tears. Neither one of us could understand "Why" They were, all of the sudden, ranting about food and sugar levels and diabetes. I explained to Brise that if there is a problem with his blood sugar that we can certainly change our eating habits. I told him that he would NOT do this alone and our entire family would be on board with any diet changes.

The next doctor to walk in, THANK GOD, was our pediatrician. She's so gentle, sweet and knows just what to say to help her patients stay calm and understand what is going on.

"Hello agian. Aren't you tired of seeing me yet? Is this the last son?"

"Yes," I said. "What's going on? Do we need to be worried here? Does he have diabetes? How do you know that without a test?"

Those who know me in person, KNOW that those questions came tumbling out of my mouth before she could get a word in edgewise. I needed answers, NOW!

"Do you see these marks here on his neck?"

"Yes, I keep telling him to wash it but even when I try to wash his neck it won't go away."

"That's Acanthosis Nigricans. That is a marker for diabetes. If he does not have it, he's on his way to getting it. In adults the marks begin on the armpits or groin."

My jaw fell. I nearly cried right there but I held it together. I saw slight marks like that on Kazz's arms. Not dark, just light. Now, She had my attention.

Long story short, Brise had a LOT of blood drawn the next day. (9 viles) He does NOT have diabetes yet, but was diagnosed with insulin resistance. His Insulin level is quite high. You can bet, dear reader, that our eating habits have changed. We are on a schedule and we've bought more fruits and veggies than this house has ever seen. I am on a search for a diabetic brownie. If you have any great diabetic dessert recipes, we're all ears in this household!

They are going to monitor his blood pressure. We'll be heading back to the doc in a few weeks. I thank God that we caught this before it turned into diabetes. I hope this post will help another mother do the same for her family.

If you recognize these markings on any of your family members, or a lighter version of them that fade and come back, you'll want to read this information.


Acanthosis Nigricans is a disorder that may begin at any age. It causes velvety, light-brown-to-black, markings usually on the neck, under the arms or in the groin. Eating too much of the wrong foods, especially starches and sugars, can cause insulin resistance. This will result in elevated insulin levels. Most patients with Acanthosis Nigricans have a higher insulin level than those of the same weight without Acanthosis Nigricans. Elevated levels of insulin in most cases probably cause Acanthosis Nigricans. The elevated insulin levels in the body activates insulin receptors in the skin, forcing it to grow abnormally. Reducing the circulating insulin by dieting or medication can lead to improvement of the skin problem.


Karen & Gerard Zemek said...

That's nice you are planning on becoming foster parents.

Wow, what a goofy thing to happen. It's a good thing you found it early. I hope changing your eating habits in your household will take care of the problem.

Cindy said...

I'm so sorry to hear about this. I can only imagine how stressful and upsetting this must be for you guys. Changing eating habits is never easy, and it must be even moreso knowing how important it is for Brise's health. You're all in my prayers!

Corrie at "Cents"able Momma said...

I'm glad you caught it early and shared your info. I'd never heard that before out the skin patches.

Mommy Reg said...

Hi. I have been a lurker for a few months and thought I would delurk. This post is near to my heart. I have learned to cut sugar and adapt recopies. I never did a brownie recipe but here is one you can try and see if it is any good. Granulated fructose is a great natural sweetener that you can get. I have found it in bins in the natural food section at my grocery store. You can use a third less than what the recipe calls for and it doesn't raise blood sugar levels like regular sugar and still bakes like sugar.

3 TBS Butter
2 squares Bakers Chocolate
2/3 cup fructose
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup flour

Melt butter and chocolate together. Add sugar, eggs and vanilla. Then add the flour. Spread in an 8x8 pan and bake for 30 minutes on 350. Cut into 16 squares.

The key when having sweets is to cut the pieces smaller and eat less often. Then when you do have it, it so much more appreciated and a little will go a long way.
There is also a natural sweetener called Stevia you can get but it is expensive and I haven't cooked with it yet. However, I know many who have used it and love it.

Let me know if you like that recipe or not. :)

Praise the Lord that this was found early.
I have been blessed reading your blog and wish you a very happy 2009.
Mommy Reg

Too Many Hats said...

So glad you found this early and can address it with lifestyle changes. If the whole family is on board that will make it much easier for your ds.

Kristina said...

Wow! I'm glad you found this. Just imagine, if you hadn't decided to open your hearts to another child, you might not have found this as early. It all works out, doesn't it?

Beth (A Mom's Life) said...

Wow! So glad you caught this when you did. I guess it's a good thing you were getting ready for the foster kids! (Which I think is a wonderful thing, by the way.)

Please keep us posted on Brise.

dj said...

It may sound strange, but I'm so glad your doctor found out about his condition now. Learning to change his eating habits now will be so much easier than later. I hope he can prevent diabetes altogether. :)

Jen said...

I'm so glad you found this early. Now you can change the course. I had never heard of these marks before but now I'm going to peek at my kids to make sure. And our diet is changing too.

Heather said...

Wow, Thanks for sharing. I've never heard of these marks and would have never guessed.
Heather BT

Anonymous said...

My oldest son also had a dirty neck and we were told it was a pre-diabetes symptom as well. He has never been a bad eater, and all of his brothers are skinny as can be. Come to find out my son has a thyroid disorder. Since having it discovered he has lost over 40 lbs, his sleep apnea is gone, and the "dirt" around his neck is 100% gone. Good luck to you and your family!

Jennifer said...

I have a 14 yr old daughter with the same symptoms and was diagnosed with this. They did fasting glucose and the glucose where they can look back the past 3 months of her sugar levels. All tests were normal. Her physician and dermotologist both didn't proceed further on tests. I have no clue where to go from here or what tests to ask to do. I have a niece who was recently diagnosed with PCOS which also insulin resistance. Any advice where to go from here. The previous comment said their childs was thyroid. Do I ask for this test done?

The Mom With Brownies said...

Hello Jennifer,

We were told to begin eating a Diabetic Diet and stay on it forever. Basically we eat every 2 1/2 hours. Here is our new family menu.

Breakfast Choices:
2 Slices Bread, or 1 egg or 2 oz lowfat cheese/ham/turkey AND 1 sm fruit; Coffee, tea or water

Lunch Choices:
2 slices bread OR 2 Corn Tortillas OR 2/3 cup rice OR 1 med. Potato
Milk or small fruit 5 oz meat; AND a green salad

Dinner Consists of:
1 serving meat, veggies, 1 fruit and a green salad. If we do not eat the fruit they can have 1 serving of milk.

Snack Choices:
8 oz. Milk, 1 Small Fruit or ½ Sandwich
OR 1 sm fruit w/ ½ cup cottage cheese

I have a question in to Ashley to find out what the test is for the thyroid. I am going to have our Pediatrician test his thyroid once I know what to ask for. Brise goes back in to see her next month. I'll keep you posted.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am so sorry it took me this long to get back to you. With my son we had TSH test done. Other symptoms were his hair was turning orange, corse & falling out. While his brothers would run & play he would just sit & watch. He was misdiagnosed withe ADD (not ADHD) and psoriasis.

I hope & pray it is something simple for your son. If you want you can look up symptoms of Hashimoto's.

The Mom With Brownies said...

Hi Ashley,

Brise does not have any of the symptoms of Hoshimoto's, thank goodness.

Thank you for commenting about this though, I hope it helps others in the future.


CarolinaDreamz said...

OHMYGosh. My daughter has this. I'm having a world of trouble getting her insurance to change her doctor, to our area.. last summer, I had her father take her to the doctor, thinking this was Tinea. They told us that it wasn't.. but that was it!

Holy cow! I feel so enlightened. I already knew she had insulin resistance and the diabetes gene.. I do need to take a more active role in changing some things around here, though..

I know exactly how you felt.. now I need tomorrow to hurry and get here so I can do some more "research."

Thank you, so much, for posting this..

~Heidi (

mommagnatta said...

Hi.... I'm glad you found out early about the prediabetes. It takes a lot of discipline in our society to eat right since everything seems to revolve around the "bad" foods. I refer to these as drug foods, the ones that people get addicted to. If you want to learn more, check out the dairy connection to diabetes, the glycemic index , and the effects MSG has on over all health. Some foods raise the blood sugar faster than sugar does!

Let me know if you want to know more.

Sincerely, Barb M.

The Mom With Brownies said...

Hi Barb,

Thank you for the information. We are ahead of the game on the MSG information. Brise and I get Migrains when we have it and Kazz becomes tired/moody. It's actually a Drug, not a seasoning! I'm sure you know that, but I found that out about 10 years ago. I was shocked!

Dairy is sparce in our home too. It causes cramps...nuff said. I hope we are ahead of the game.

Any and all information you have would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you! :o)

Anonymous said...

I googled "Dirty neck kids" and found your site. Both my boys are stocky but my older one is starting to get a "dirty neck." I scrubbed before till it looked pinkish but the "dirty" didn't completely come off. I looked at him today in the light and freaked out. I'm glad he had a collar on. I came home and looked up "dirty neck kids" and found your blog. I was mortified. I have diabetes in my family and even have hypoglycemia (another pre-cursor to diabetes). I hope, pray, that when I wash him when he gets home that it comes up. Now I'm all scared I might have to take him to get checked for diabetes this early. He's only 10. :( Thanks for your blog, I needed a reality check.

the King mom said...

I have a great recipe for low carb peanut butter cookie
1 egg
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup splenda
Mix together, shape into balls, roll in splenda, flatten each ball with fork, bake at 375 8 - 10 minutes. Diabetes affects not just the child diagnosed but the whole family. My child has been insulin dependent for 6 years. If you are interested in more low carb recipes I have many I would be happy to share.

928gb said...

Does anyone know how long u have before it turns into diabetes ?? Please help me

Shanna May said...

I have been dealing with my 4 year son having this same rash for the last two months. I came to the same conclusion and pushed his glucose levels to be tested. His fasting level was normal but his 3 month test was high which indicates possible insulin resistance. I was assured that my son does not have diabetes but I think the dermatologist is not qualified to make this determination. My pediatrician referred us to the dermotologist because of his "dirty neck". Should I go back to the pediatrician ASAP and ask her for more testing or for a referral to an endocrinologist? Thank you for posting this info. I'm happy to know I'm not alone.

Michelee Smyth-Tynes said...

I am SO grateful to you for sharing this. My son has been having a problem with that near his armpits. Shamefully, I must admit that his intake of sugar and starches is high. The tricky part of this is that one usually associates diabetes with: 1)an older person 2) a larger person. This will encourage our family to change our eating habits. Thank you so much. Really, I can't thank you enough...

Lola Montez said...

I just wanted to weigh in here (haha) many incorrect comments. Sadly, even doctors (who are not diabetes specialists!) believe in old-fashioned nonsense about Type 2 diabetes!

It is NOT CAUSED BY ANYTHING YOU EAT! not even sugar, soda pop, candy. It is a disease of the endocrine system. It is highly heritable. You may be able to control diabetes with diet (or diet and meds) but you cannot CURE it -- ever. It is not anyone's fault and it is not "punishment for eating the wrong foods".

Being overweight does not "make people" diabetic if you don't already have a predisposition to it. Most healthy people can eat all the sweets they want, and their bodies natural insulin delivery system will handle it. (It will rot your teeth, it may make you fat, and but IT WILL NOT MAKE YOU DIABETIC.)

Most diabetic endocrinologists (SPECIALISTS) and researchers believe that early-stage pre-diabetes makes people FATTER...not the other way around. It makes people extremely hungry, and it directs the body to store the extra calories as fat. That is the exact OPPOSITE of how it is usually presented.

The problem is, when you blame people for having an illness....they either get angry and rebellious (especially children) OR they get depressed and feel hopeless. Then they don't do self-care or stop trying to control their symptoms.

There are really good treatments today for Type II diabetes. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE (to the author here) take your son to a DIABETIC ENDOCRINOLOGIST -- do NOT let your pediatrician treat him. That will get you to substandard results, and misinformation. I've seen that really mess kids up, when pediatricians blame them for "overeating" or scold them, etc.

You can control diabetes, with good self care -- good medical care -- appropriate meds -- and "mindful eating". NO FOOD IS FORBIDDEN to diabetics, not soda pop, not sugar, not candy, not alcohol -- NOTHING -- the issue is moderation, and balancing your food intake with your meds and activity levels.

As per soda: they make all kinds of excellent sugar free drinks. Kids want to drink soda with their friends. Get your son diet soda! don't try to take this away from him. Concentrate on a "low carb" diet, not "treat-free" diet.

For other parents: some people with high glucose levels never develop diabetes. Some have symptoms, but do not get full blown diabetes until adulthood or even old age! Some get sick as children. Some need to take insulin! My point is that diseases are UNFAIR. Is cancer "fair"? of course not.

Changing your eating habits will not prevent diabetes. You should eat healthy for its OWN SAKE -- being fit, strong, flexible or energetic, but it will not prevent diabetes if you have the genetic disposition to get it. You MAY be able to postpone the worst symptoms with a healthy lifestyle -- but there are no guarantees.

Good luck to your son. I hope you can empower him to take control of his lifestyle, and see this as a challenge, but a MANAGEABLE one. And for gods sake -- get him a good DIABETIC ENDOCRNOLOGIST!!!!

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carol burge said...

Can the dirt spots show up on other parts of the body such as chest , legs etc