By TSD Newsroom
In the early stages of his toughest case – type 2 diabetes, former TV court and Criminal Court Judge Joe Brown is in good spirits after his recent diagnosis. Catching up with him for this exclusive TSD interview was a bit challenging. Much of his time lately has been spent resting more and eating right en route to getting better. Brown, who has been placed on disability status by the Tennessee Supreme Court, spoke candidly about his early trials with the disease that many Americans know painfully well. And while many have learned to live with type 2 diabetes, the prospects of an unhealthy outcome are greatly enhanced for those who do not respect it.
Judge Joe Brown: My doctor has got a handle on it, but hey, I’ve got to get back to getting some exercise. Diabetes is not a pleasant thing.
Kelvin Cowans: How did you discover that you had it? Did you go in for a regular check up or something along that line?
Judge Brown: Well, it develops in stages. It’s not that nice. It makes its presence known. Diabetes gives you several problems, where you lose feelings in your feet, your blood pressure starts to elevate and one thing aggravates the other one. Diabetes is a serious problem and most people don’t pay attention to it until it hits them. It’s one of those things where you have to get it treated or you’ll find yourself going down a hill pretty fast. Some people never recover from it. Some suffer amputation, loss of vision, loss of teeth; and many end up with bad kidney problems and even heart attacks.
KC: Is this condition new to your family?
Judge Brown: As far as I know, no one in my family has had it. However, it is a sign that someone in my family has had it.
KC: How do you combat this condition?
Judge Brown: You can’t slip up on this thing. You have to pay attention to your diet, get regular check-ups and, again, keep your exercise level up. It can be put under control but sometimes that’s not the easiest thing.
KC: Like some, I’m not well versed in diabetes and you have been diagnosed with Diabetes II. Can you explain that?
Judge Brown: Sure, there are two types of diabetes; there’s one you’re born with and suffer from it your entire life. Type 2 you get it starting around 45 or 50 years of age. Some also get in their 60s. I’ve been studying it and there’s a bad problem with it in our country and the peoples Republic of China. Over there you can get it 99 percent genetically cured, not treated but cured. That’s for both type of diabetes. Here in America you can’t. So Americans pay a lot of money for treatment while in other countries there are cures.
KC: How was it that the Tennessee Board of Law (Examiners) got a hold of this? You’re currently under some form of leave of absence because of this.
Judge Brown: Look, that’s got to do with politics; it spins. … I brought it to them but that’s because I don’t like to fight with them anymore. By doing that it helps me avoid having to deal with any form of malpractice. The way I figured was that I wasn’t practicing law at this time; no more than that last case I handled in that pathetic Juvenile Court system they have in Shelby County.
Sometimes I can’t get up in the morning. Sometimes I can’t stand up because my vision is all blurred. It’s serious business and you take care of it. I thought that sharing my condition was the responsible thing to do. It’s kind of like being a ball player and being on the injured reserve list. When I am better I can apply for reinstatement and start practicing again.
KC: America is waiting on your new television show, “True Verdict.” How does this interfere with that or any other thing you may have scheduled?
Judge Brown: Nothing at all. Everything is already under contract and everyone fully intends to hold up their end of the contract obligation. A lot of people go about their business just as they have before they were diagnosed and I intend to do so as well, with precaution to my health.
KC: Many celebrities when placed in a similar situation end up becoming the face of that moment, that movement or disease. Can we expect that from you?
Judge Brown: I wouldn’t say the face of it, but I certainly will be about the business of telling people, ‘Hey, do your regular check ups, eat right, exercise right and take your medication regularly.’ If you looked around this Memphis community you’ll find a lot of people that meet this profile of not taking care of themselves. And although their health is OK now, it won’t be after while.
(Kelvin Cowans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)