Diabetes Books on my Bookshelf, (Diabetes Monitor)

We all know that books offer an escape from reality. At the end of the day as we slip between the sheets, exhausted, we reach for the book by the side of the bed and escape into another world. Whether you are a lover of fiction, science fiction, self-help, biography, mystery or young adult books, the power of disappearing between the pages is a treat that never grows old. It doesn’t matter if the story comes in the shape of a hardcover, paperback, e-reader or an iPad, all that matters is the author’s ability to transport, to inspire and to educate.

When I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1985, I was desperate to find a book about diabetes. I didn’t want a medical book or a book on the history of the disease; I wanted a book about someone like me. I wanted to know that I wasn’t alone and searched for years to find that book. All I found were cookbooks. So, I wrote my own book: The Smart Woman’s Guide to Diabetes, Authentic Advice on Everything from Eating to Dating and Motherhood.

This is the book I wanted to write ever since I was diagnosed 26 years ago. It is a both a guide book and collection of personal stories from other women on a variety of topics. The pages are filled with stories, tips and advice from women who have walked in your shoes.

I’m happy to say that the reading choices for people with diabetes have greatly expanded since I was diagnosed 26 years ago. My shelves are full of informative, inspirational, humorous, and educational books about life with diabetes. I’m not a big fan of top ten lists because someone always gets left out, but I wanted to share some of my favorite diabetes books and came up with a list of six favorites.

Read More about my top diabetes books at Diabetes Monitor.

If you feel I’ve overlooked a favorite book of yours, please let me know and I’ll include it in my next Diabetes Books column on Diabetes Monitor!

Wego Health Day 8, a Conversation with my Son

Prompt: Best conversation I had this week. Try writing script-style (or with dialogue) today to recap an awesome conversation you had this week.

Reid, my 2 year old, sits in the jogger and I stand behind him. We’re at the front entrance of his brother’s elementary school waiting for Miles, my 7 year old to walk out the front door. Will, my 10 year old stands beside me. He stayed home sick again today with a cold, but I made him walk with me to get some fresh air. The sun is shining, it’s a warm, spring afternoon, but I’m grouchy. My blood sugar has been low all day, and both Reid and Will have been sick with colds–coughing and runny noses, low grade fevers. I haven’t been able to get any work done. Instead, I’ve spent all day with a cranky toddler shadowing my every move and Will, leaving a trail of tissues in his wake. I am feeling suffocated by this life with my children. The hours pass slowly and meaninglessly and I am short tempered with the boys. I feel like an animal at the zoo, boxed in.

“Hi Mom!” Miles walks toward us. Miles with his wild, thick, blonde, too long hair and his bright blue eyes. My beautiful, unpredictable boy.

“How was your day? I ask.

“Good. Mrs. Musci said I don’t have to do homework today because I beat my MAP score.”

“That’s great.” (One less thing to stress about, I think.) We walk past the car riders line and I can tell my blood sugar is dropping (again!) so I reach down into the jogger to grab the bottle of glucose tabs. The Kalediscope kids, the ones who stay after school until 5pm, are loud on the playground as we walk past and I sigh deeply. Tired.

“Mom,” Miles starts.

“Yes Miles,” I say, preparing myself for one of his long stories. He is looking at the trees. I wait.

“Mom,” he says again.

“What!?!” Will steals a glance at me, I can feel it. He knows I’m irritated, I’ve been that way all day. I didn’t believe that he was sick and pushed him to go to school. When he cried and whimpered I said, “Fine, stay home!” and he did. And I made him pay for all day with my grouchiness.

“You couldn’t pay me all the money in the world to go to Kalediscope after school.”

“Oh yeah?” I said, not really listening.

“You couldn’t pay me all the money in the whole, wide world. All the toys, all the Skylanders, all the 3DS or wii games. You wanna know why?”

“Why?”

“Because I want to stay home with you.”

“Really?” My heart was in my throat.

“Yes, really!”

You have no idea how much I needed to hear that,” I said. And it was all okay. We walked home together.

Accepting (and modeling) my Sensitive Side

Being a writer is tough. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to be, but there are some days when I want to crawl under the covers and hide from my editors. I try to be tough, I am a natural born people pleaser and as much as I wish I could change that part of myself, and not care what others (my editors) thought, I can’t. So my goal for 2012 is to accept my sensitive side.

 

I turned in a story this week that was totally off. It took me back to 7th grade when I stood at the front of the classroom giving my oral report on the capital of Virginia and my teacher said, “what are you doing?” The room went dead quiet. “Reading my report about Richmond,” I said. “Well you’ve done it all wrong,” she said. I was humiliated. I can’t remember now what I’d done wrong, maybe it was supposed to be modern day Richmond and I’d done the historical version, but nonetheless, I stood there at the front of the room devastated. That’s how I felt yesterday. I don’t like to be wrong, I don’t like to have screwed up, I don’t like to make mistakes. I wanted to cry but I also wanted to tell myself to toughen up! Editors edit, that’s what they do and writers write and rewrite, right? But sometimes it’s so hard to listen to the feedback, to shake it off and keep going. Sometimes I wish I were less sensitive.

 

I was up all night thinking about how I could have done this assignment different. When I woke up I was short with my kids, hurrying them through the breakfast routine and rushing them off to school. “Sorry guys, I’m in a bad mood because my editor didn’t like my story,” I said. “Oh that’s too bad Mom!” they said and I shrugged. “I just need to toughen up!” I said. Then My 7 year old needed help because he was supposed to dress up “tacky.” (They’ve been reading Tacky the Penguin.) He didn’t know what tacky was, and of course we’d waited until the last minute to prepare, and frustrated, I told him that tacky was subjective and to just find something already! Ugh! Get dressed! What’s the big deal?!

 

He retreated to his room in tears (my boys who rarely cries but is sensitive all the same), and I took a deep breath. I went after him and we sat on his bed and he told me that he didn’t want to wear the wrong thing. He didn’t want his teacher to get mad at him. It was a big deal for him, and here I was trying to make him toughen up. I apologized and we found him something to wear and I sent him off to school hoping his teacher wouldn’t make him feel like my 7th grade teacher made me feel. And then I realized we are the only ones who can “make ourselves feel a certain way. Editors will always offer feedback and suggestions, that’s their job. If I feel stupid, that’s my own doing. It’s my job to accept my sensitive nature, and not beat myself up when I don’t get it right. It’s okay to be sensitive. I think I just need to learn how to give myself approval instead of seeking it from others, and model that for my kids.

 

Being a writer is tough, but it’s also the best job in the world.

‘Confidence Gap’

As a woman with diabetes how confident do you feel?

A recent survey conducted by MicroMass Communications based on findings from 828 women with type 1 and type 2 diabetes found that:

“Our research shows that women with diabetes have far more confidence in their ability to take their medications than they have in their ability to make basic lifestyle changes. As a result, healthcare providers should be providing education and support programs that help build that confidence so that women can learn how to make the lifestyle changes necessary to successfully manage their diabetes,” says Andi Kravitz Weiss, MPH. Weiss refers to this discrepancy as “The Confidence Gap.”

I spoke to Weiss about the study (and will include our conversation in my upcoming book-A Smart Woman’s Guide to Diabetes), and she said that many of the women in the survey who were under 45 years old reported being ‘too busy to take good care of themselves.’ She realized that in order to close this confidence gap, women with diabetes need to give themselves permission to take care of themselves, to sometimes put their needs first.

After a long week with Christmas and family, I took Weiss’ advice on Friday morning. Our babysitter arrived and instead of running errands: returning gifts and grocery shopping, I drove out to my parent’s empty house and went for a run. It was an unusually warm, sunny day and it felt fabulous. I ran along the road that borders the intracoastal waterway and stole glimpses of the creek and felt the breeze in my hair. I returned to my parent’s house and sat on their deck and looked out at the sparkly water as I stretched my legs. It felt blissfully indulgent and it allowed me to return home to my children and the messy house and prepare for a visit with the in-laws with CONFIDENCE 🙂