A Type 1 Diabetes Guide to the Universe…Book Review

A Type 1 Diabetes Guide to the Universe Review
A Type 1 Diabetes Guide to the Universe

A few months the book “A Type 1 Diabetes Guide to the Universe” came out written by one of my favorite speakers.  Joe Solowiejczyk was first introduced to me through a mutual friend a number of years ago.  I didn’t how to help my son with type one diabetes.  We seemed to be constantly battling and getting nowhere.  A phone call was arranged and Joe helped to put me on the right track.  A few years later, I would get the privilege of listening to him speak at a CWD Friends for Life Conference.

Having had such a positive response in my interactions with Joe, I was very excited to hear that he had a book coming out. I was even more excited when I was asked to read and review it!

I have never read a book like this before. You purchase A Type 1 Diabetes Guide to the Universe online and read it through iBooks.  (I sadly can’t find it available in any other format) The unique part of this book is that it is not all text, there is a lot of amazing videos that you can watch as you read, before you read, or after you read.  I watched as I read which resulted in my taking a lot longer to read this book than I normally would.

A Type 1 Diabetes Guide to the Universe book has videos!

The videos were amazing! Not only was it wonderful to see so many faces that I knew, it was touching to watch.  From the very beginning, it is hard to stem the tears as parents share the powerful emotions they had upon first hearing that their child had Type 1 diabetes.  Joe reminds readers who may just be beginning this journey that while they will experience a sea of intense emotions, they will get through.

Along with the text and videos, there are also exercises to help you as well.  In the chapter on “The First Days” Joe provides an exercise about your feelings surrounding your child’s diagnosis.  He reminds parents to work together so that you can carve out a bit of time to recharge along the way.

Joe looks at a holistic approach to diabetes care.

This unique book gives you fundamental basics on the physiology of diabetes, as well as helping to mend your spirit.  He examines everything from diet and exercise to sick day management and insulin sensitivity factors. In chapter 7, he sums up the theme of the book perfectly “What we’re talking about here, and throughout the entire book, is to provide you, the parent with enough practical management information and management principles that allow you to feel like you’re in the “driver’s seat” enough to be able to feel like you can continue to parent effectively WHILE managing diabetes competently at the same time!”

As I mentioned, “A Type 1 Diabetes Guide to the Universe” isn’t all about Joe Solowiejczyk and his thoughts and experiences, it’s also about real people and real families.  He allows them to talk about their experiences and give YOU advice as well.  For me, it was in those videos that some of the best advice was found.

“A Type 1 Diabetes Guide to the Universe” shares powerful advice

Kyle Cochrane, American Ninja Warrior competitor and all around great young man, said what many of us already know, that “diabetes is only given to the strongest people”.  Another young man gave a word of warning to those who are newly diagnosed by suggesting that they not look for a career in a chocolate factory!  A family simply stated that “if Joshua could do it without diabetes, then he can do it with diabetes…we will make sure that that happens.”–Truly fabulous!

One of the best things about these interview with real people was that all of the family was interviewed.  You got to see tiny siblings and siblings that have been living with diabetes for years.  Each one of them had moments when they felt second to the child with diabetes and it was heartbreaking to watch.

As a parent, it was great to listen to teens who admitted to messing up now and then.  They also admitted to relishing the moment when they got to leave from under their parents’ wings.  They gave brilliant advice on how parents may need to back off and teens may need to realize that what Mom/Dad are doing is completely out of love. They discussed trying to let diabetes come second…only to realize that life was much better when it was dealt with first.

Listening to the daughter of a long time friend say that she would forget to bolus when she moved away to go to school oddly made my heart sing.  As I said, I have known this family for a long time.  They are amazing and their daughter showed me that my son (who also forgets to bolus sometimes) is human and not just forgetting to stress me out. She said that despite a lifetime of injections she still hates needles!  My son FREAKS out, completely stresses, at having to have blood work done despite also having had a lifetime of needles.

This book brings you a new connection to the diabetes community

These few little anecdotes made me feel connected to both the book and the families involved.  After all of these years and all of the connections that I have made, that was truly special to have this connection also come from a book!

I am not normally a person to watch videos.  I hate to look it up on YouTube if I can read about it instead.  This book was different however.  Seeing people share their stories added a different dimension to this book–one that added so much more to the experience.

That is what reading A Type1 Diabetes Guide to the Universe is…an experience to be had by the newly diagnosed, those sending their children to school for the first time, those sending their teens to parties, those sending young adults off to university. In other words, this is a book for every stage of your life as a family with Type 1 diabetes.

For more tips on managing your life with diabetes, check out our guide to living life four hours at a time.

Dealing With Diabetes Burnout….A book review

Dealing with diabetes burnout

Ginger Vieira recently released her third book. I was privileged to be given a copy of it to read. As I prepared to write my review of Dealing with Diabetes Burnout,  How to Recharge and Get Back on Track When You Feel Frustrated and Overwhelmed by Diabetes, I took a glance at how many pages of interest I had marked off. There were a lot!

Who would this book help?

Originally, I really wasn’t sure what to expect when reading this book.  What would I learn? Would much of it apply to me as a parent of a child with diabetes? Who would this book be targeted for?

I learned quite a bit. I gained a new perspective and I can think of quite a few people who this book would help.  Most importantly, however, it is a great hands-on resource for people who live with diabetes–Type 1 or Type 2.

Ginger provides real tips for dealing with burnout in your life.

This book doesn’t just give you a bunch of information and feel good stories.  It is filled with exercises and activities that Ginger challenges you to do to help you deal with your own diabetes burnout. 

She doesn’t chastise you for the fact that “I haven’t checked my blood sugar in three weeks (ehh…months)” —a fabulous title of one of the chapters of the book.  Instead, she reminds you that you are being asked to manage something that your body is supposed to do on its own based on a variety of other physiological and hormonal processes. (page 21). 

Ginger Vieira tells you in her book Diabetes Burnout, to look at all of the great things that you are doing and praise yourself for the one thing you are getting right. “Developing the ability to step back and see what wasn’t working–rather than blaming yourself–is the trick to creating a new plan that will lead you to your goal.” (Page 33)

Create your own pickup plan to refocus during times of stress.

This theme is further emphasized by all of the great chapter titles like “I want to be perfect by tomorrow (or I’m giving up!) where Ginger notes that some times are not ideal for change. She suggests that you create your own personalized “pickup plan” to help you refocus in times of stress.

Ginger offers tips on how to handle support from well-meaning people who really don’t get it as well as how to best make use of people who do get it and do want to help.  She shows you how to use technology to make your life a bit easier as well as great real-life tips for those of us who would just like to live a healthier lifestyle but find ourselves giving up too soon.

The challenge of raising a child with diabetes

Being a parent of a child with diabetes, as I began to read this book I felt horrible.  I was a failure.  I was the parent who struggled to understand how you could “forget” to do something that you have done all of your life.  Did I push too hard?  Should I have been calmer when his doctor praised him for testing more than once per day and I was looking to see 8-12 readings per day? I was sure that I had totally ruined my son’s childhood.

Thankfully I got some reprieve from my incredible guilt when I moved into the chapter called “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”.  Here Ginger talks about raising a child with diabetes and how truly difficult it is to do. She highlights many of the fears that we have.  The torture we go through when our child is low and disoriented or the failure we feel when they are high and we are positive that we alone are responsible for the kidney damage they may one day have. She offers more wisdom and options to dealing with our children and how to get through to our teens. I was left knowing that I hadn’t scared my child completely…well at least not in that realm.

Nearing the end of the book, I came across one of the very best quotes I have ever read on the issue of diabetes care and one that should be framed and read by everyone dealing with this disease (especially us guilt laden parents)….

“Doing the best any of us can do in life with diabetes does not have to mean perfect blood sugars all the time. Sometimes our best is awesome and sometimes it’s not quite so awesome but it’s still our best in that moment.  And that’s okay.  It has to be, because “perfection” is a crazy expectation.” 

Dealing with Diabetes Burnout is a fabulous resource. If I had one criticism of the book it would be having too many personal stories illustrating various points in the book. Reading through page after page of examples of other people’s burnout was taxing on my incredibly shrinking attention span. That said however, I have no clue as to how I would have cut back on some of the submissions that were used.  They were often very powerful stories that needed to be shared.

Who should read this book? Anyone living with diabetes because as Ginger Vieira notes, at one point you will go through some form of burnout.  To a lesser degree, parents of children of diabetes (no matter what age your “child” may be).  This book will give you insight into the emotions that your child may be dealing with and will also give you a few tips to help you in your own life as well.

Balancing Diabetes…A Book Review

balancing diabetes

A number of months ago, I was honored when the folks at Spry Publishing contacted me and asked if I would be interested in reviewing an advanced copy of Kerri Sparling’s new book, Balancing Diabetes. I have enjoyed Kerri’s blog but I honestly wondered about a book that suggested that you could find some balance in a life with diabetes.  What pat formula would she suggest?

Any fears or concerns that I had were quickly pushed aside as I began to devour this book. As with any book that I read and am going to review, I bookmark passages and pages with little notes of why this sentence or paragraph moved me.  In looking back at Kerri’s book, I literally have over 50 different sections marked off for mention! This has to be a great book…and it is.

Balancing Diabetes also gives you a look at being a parent of a child with diabetes.

As a mother of a child with diabetes, I was also worried that I would be reading this book from the outside. Kerri is a person with diabetes and this book would be all about her right? Wrong.

By page 9 Kerri’s mother shares her feelings and I could hear myself in her words “…I didn’t know what we were getting into. I just thought, Okay let’s go deal with this, whatever this is.”  Kerri’s mom goes on to say that she handled what she was given but did not want any more.  She would learn in stages because to get everything at once would be overwhelming. I felt the same way when my son was diagnosed.  I was on overload and autopilot for months. Slowly I would add knowledge and information when I could handle it…this was how we, as parents, found balance with diabetes.

This book brought out many emotions.  Reading about the burden of being shown and repeatedly told about your own mortality at such a young age made me wonder how my son feels? Is he still an immortal teen or does he have Kerri’s “heightened awareness of how vulnerable” her health was? Either way, does he also know, that I share Kerri’s mother’s feelings? When Kerri told her that she didn’t care if she was high and her mother responded, “For now, I’ll care enough for both of us.”  Yes, I cried reading this.

There is a balance of humor and serious conversations.

But like the title, this book has balance.  While there are many very serious conversations, humor creates a fabulous balance and brings a different kind of tears…the ones you get from laughing! Kerri’s wonderful sense of humor shines through in this book. 

The topic of sex is never an easy one, but Kerri takes you past the embarrassment and makes you laugh at her candor.  She shares the story of her first serious low with her husband. It took place after they had made love and her husband lays claim to responsibility for it happening!

Besides the amazing humor and the walk through Kerri’s life, she brings in the experiences of many other people who live with diabetes to provide some fabulous tips for living a full life with diabetes.  They take us through diagnosis, the trials of teens, life as a young adult, dating, marriage and even pregnancy.  

Kerri talks about the sense of helplessness that diabetes can create at times–for the person with diabetes, their partner, and even for the parents.  Sean Oser provides insight on dealing with blood sugar readings, “There are no good or bad blood sugars; every result is just a number, and it tells us what to do next.” This is a motto that I have tried to instill in my own son for years.

Balancing Diabetes looks at pump starts, travel and advocacy.  Each topic is looked at both from Kerri’s perspective as well as that of  many other people in the diabetes community.

Balancing Diabetes portrays real life.

The most poignant section in the book for me, was when I saw a person state that they do NOT believe that you can find a balance when living with diabetes.  What? But the title of the book says that you will.  How could this happen? How could someone state that balance cannot be achieved? Well, that is the beauty of this book! It does not show one size fits all, pat answers. This book shows you real life. It shows real pain and real accomplishments. It emphasizes that diabetes really is a “your diabetes may vary” kind of disease.  How wonderful!

This book is a fabulous balance of perspectives and stories.  It does not tell you one way to “do it right and achieve balance”, it shows you a variety of approaches to a variety of topics and what works for different people. 

The best thing is that it also tells you that you never fail. If you have been really bad about taking responsibility for your diabetes care, cut yourself some slack and make a change now.  It’s not too late. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes-related complications, don’t beat yourself up. It’s not your fault.  Brush yourself off and move forward. You have got this handled. You are amazing!

Balancing Diabetes is a wonderfully written book filled with a balance of real life events that show that we are not alone–whether we live with diabetes, are parents of a child with diabetes, or just love a person with diabetes. Now hurry up and order your copy because I noticed that Amazon Canada was almost out already!

Looking for other great diabetes reads? Check out our diabetes books section!

Raising Teens with Diabetes…a Book Review

Raising Teens with Diabetes Book Review Diabetes Advocacy

Raising Teens with Diabetes. A survival guide for parents” by Moira McCarthy arrived at just the right time for me. I had heard that she was writing a book and it had been published. Thanks to the interwoven world of Facebook, I had seen her posts in groups that I belonged to as well as comments from mutual friends. I was therefore really excited when the folks at Spry Publishing asked me if I would like to read an advance copy of the book.  

My son with diabetes is just a few months shy of 16.  We are knee-deep into the teen years and tips for handling drinking, driving, and letting go are definitely all things that I welcome with open arms!

Personal stories of parenting a teen with diabetes

Each chapter of this book opens with Moira’s own personal stories.  In chapter one she gets us started by introducing us to the world of “Hurricane Hormone” and advises us of the horror ride that both parents and teens are about to embark on.

Moira’s daughter was young when she was diagnosed with diabetes, so much of the book looks at burnout of both parent and teen after years of dealing with this disease.  As a parent of a child diagnosed at two, this was definitely a welcomed perspective.  

She does not exclude those diagnosed at a later age though or even those who were diagnosed in their teen years or later. Chapter three is dedicated to those children struggling with their adolescence as well as a new diagnosis.  Short asides, from people like Moira’s own daughter as well as well-known bloggers and the JDRF’s own Aaron Kowalski give a wide perspective on this topic.

Raising a teen with diabetes takes a village.

“Raising Teens with Diabetes” looks at family dynamics, the role of siblings, and the role of friendships–old and new with some great tips and pitfalls that many parents fall into. Moira warns of making your child’s friends the “diabetes police” and suggests ways to use friendships to help your child without going overboard.  She further touches on the more quiet or shy teen and how to ensure that they tell their friends at least the basics in diabetes management and care.

How to let your teen take more responsibility for their care.

As the book nears the halfway point, you are now beginning to learn how to set the stage for adulthood.  Moira looks at school and letting go–allowing your child to be more responsible for their care in a safe setting, setting limits and having consequences that fit the action.  

She talks about the rules for driving and how vital it is to stick to them. Since my son will be legally able to begin this process in a matter of months, I read keenly wondering if we can both stick to these guidelines and knowing how important they truly are.

When your teen starts drinking and dating.

This book even talks about sex! I instantly was hooked when Moira’s first suggestion when handling dating and then sex was “…go on every single date with them, forever and ever…and this will not be a worry.”  I loved it! My sons would definitely not agree however.

By Chapter 10, we are faced with another teen challenge–Drinking! It terrifies me.  My son is very private. He does not talk about diabetes.  He does not hide his testing or bolusing but he does not advertise it or talk about it either.  A few of his closest friends know about it.  His best friend has a good idea of what to do but who will help him when he and his friends decide to drink?

Use this book as a tool to talk to your teen.

This book offers a great chance to talk to your teen about these subjects as you read.  I would often bring up topics as they were covered.  “Did you know…” or “Wow! This book says…” were great conversation starters. We were even able to talk about erectile dysfunction!

In the early chapters, Moira’s warns that teen males exposed to tv commercials may quietly be concerned about this complication. My son shook his head and swore this was not something that he had remotely considered or knew about.  One problem overcome already!

Drug use was something that I had somehow not considered until it was brought up in the book. It is something that I have thought of and talked to my oldest son about but drugs and diabetes? It was not a topic I had ever considered…how naive was that! I was therefore really grateful to have the topic mentioned.  In modern society, it is definitely something that needs to be discussed and prepared for as much as all of the other topics.

I also had my eyes opened to a new view with the section on rebellion. Moira writes about the first time her daughter lied to her about a bg level and how things spiraled out of control until she ended up in ICU.

Her daughter said she got a test of “the drug she’s struggled with for years.  That drug is called freedom.  That day,(when she lied about a reading) she realized that I trusted her so much, she could pretty much do or not do whatever she wanted.  The idea of not checking was so delicious, she still says today she thinks she must know what drug addicts feel like when they try to detox.  She skipped testing more and more…And she told me after she landed in the ICU and almost died, as sick as it made her feel physically, the emotional high of DENYING diabetes any power in her life…made that horrid feeling all worth the while.”  

Even rereading this passage still makes me want to cry.  I “get it”. It hurts me but I “get it”.  I understand a bit more why my son “forgets” when he goes away from me. It’s not just about feeling so great that you forget you need to bolus/test, it’s about denying diabetes.  I wish that they could.

I appreciated Moira’s honesty when she noted that she had once thought that her daughter would never rebel.  That that sort of thing was something that happened to “other families”.  I have always known that this could happen to us.  I have also looked on to some of my friends and wondered, “how did they get such perfect kids? They never seemed to have any issues.”  I have also watched some parents struggle to do everything that they could with non-compliant teens and somehow manage to come out into adulthood with amazing young people.  I know that “this too shall pass” and “Raising Teens with Diabetes”  gives some wonderful tips on how to handle the rough ride until it does.

If you have a teen with diabetes this book is for you.  If you have a child who will grow up to be a teen with diabetes, keep this book around for later years. It will come in handy! Thank you Moira for giving new things to think about and a wonderful tool to refer back to.

Looking for more great reads? Check out our book page for suggestions and links to our reviews!

Life is Short Laundry is Eternal: Book Review

Life is Short Laundry is Eternal Book Review Diabetes Advocacy

Life is short. Laundry is eternal is NOTHING like what I expected. What did I expect? I don’t know but I should have been warned of a few things before starting.

First I should have been warned NOT to read this book in public.  There are too many times that Scott’s writing evokes either tears or laughter or both.  This can be embarrassing and hard to explain when reading in public places. 

Second, I should have been warned that this dichotomy of emotions would start within the first 20 pages and continue for the entire book!

This is a book for everyone!

Because this book came in a package with a diabetes how-to book, I very much expected a book about diabetes.  I was wrong.  Diabetes is huge because his daughter has type 1 diabetes but diabetes is secondary to the book’s wisdom and insight.  I quickly went from…what sort of diabetes peeps should read this? To…my cousin and her husband should read this because they live this same life and I bet they can relate! To…my sons should read this. To…everyone should read this.

“Life is short. Laundry is eternalis about love.

No this isn’t a life-altering book with new and shocking revelations. Its a simple book about love presented in an honest and touching way.  Scott writes about his mother’s support, his love for his siblings, the relationship with his wife, and of course the developing relationship with his children from a unique perspective–that of a stay at home dad.

In this day and age, stay at home moms can be the brunt of ridicule   What do they really do anyway besides watch afternoon television?  The stereotype for a stay at home dad is a thousand times worse.

Scott breaks through all of those barriers and shows how important the roles of parents are–whether they are the ones working in the home or the ones considered the wage earners.  He shows the incredible value of both partners and how vital it is that they work to compliment each other.

There are so many noteworthy pages!

As I have written before, I can judge how good a book is by how many pieces of paper are torn and left as bookmarks to refer back to or how many pages are now marked with highlighter.  “Life is short. Laundry is eternal” sees a lot of both.

Scott’s reaction to an examination of his wife during their first prenatal visit upon finding out they were expecting their first child is both honest and hilarious…”I remember looking at Kelly and thinking, F**k, getting her pregnant is ruining all of the fun that boobs bring to my life!” and he manages to keep this tone up for the entire book.

We empathize when he drops his son or loses him in a store. We take to heart the amazing advice he provides on page 81 to “keep moving forward, ask for help when you need it, never give up, and scream at the top of your lungs once in a while, things should turn out fine almost every time. Maybe not as you pictured…but pretty damn good.”

And then there was the diabetes diagnosis.

My biggest mistake when reading this book was when I took it to my doctor’s office to read before my appointment. I was at the point when Scott and Kelly’s daughter Arden was diagnosed with type one diabetes.

I always have a hard time with diagnosis stories.  The fact that this little girl was diagnosed at 2 years old, the same age as my own son was, should have told me to keep the book in my purse and NOT read it in public but I didn’t heed the warning signs. Instead, I fought back the tears and pretended that I was there because of a cold.  So much of what he wrote could have been written by me.

“She was only two. Do little kids get sick like this when they’re two?” was so similar to the feelings that I had when my son was diagnosed. It couldn’t be that serious–could it? He was so small. Scott talks about feelings of “dread, anger, shame, and more pressure to be perfect than I had ever experienced” and I knew exactly where he was coming from.

Reading, “I wish that I could tell you that it only took a few days, weeks, or months to shake the feeling that type 1 diabetes brought to me, but in all honesty, it was much longer.  I didn’t begin to feel normal again for two years, and the interim was overflowing with new, frightening and potentially defeating daily situations.” Fit perfectly with the advice I had recently given people at a webinar.

This is a book about family.

Is this the book to read if you want to learn how to cope with life with diabetes? Perhaps it isn’t.  Diabetes is not the focus of “Life is short. Laundry” is eternal, living life is! Scott’s open and frank discussion about life, love and making the most of every memory is advice of value to all of us.  This book should be read by everyone who loves to laugh and values their family. His unique perspective and wonderful humor made this book a pure pleasure to read and a book that must be shared with everyone in your life–young or older.

Until There is a Cure–A Book Review

A few months ago I was asked to read and give my opinion on Gary Scheiner’s latest book Until there is a Cure.

I have listened to Gary speak at Children with Diabetes Conferences. I have spoken to him on a number of occasions.  While I have heard the praises of his book “Think Like A Pancreas“, it remains on my “must read” list.  Therefore, I was really excited to get the chance to read Until There is a Cure.

I had no idea of what I should expect of the book. Who the target audience was and wondered who would benefit the most from its wisdom, I wondered? I began the book eager to see what I would learn. Reading is enjoyable. Learning and reading are great. Getting to read and learn new ways to make my son’s life easier and more complete is the best!  It’s not surprising then that by the end of chapter one I had many passages highlighted and marked to come back to later.

I was hooked by the very first chapter.

Until There is a Cure

In the first chapter, Gary aptly points out that it is unrealistic to expect your doctor or nurse to be the expert in your diabetes care. It is your job to do so.  It is your job to learn and become educated. Until There is a Cure allows you to do just that. Gary wisely warns that you must strike a balance in your diabetes care and tells the reader…”If you put more time and energy into taking care of your diabetes than you put into your family, work, or social life, something needs to change.”

By the second chapter, we get a lesson in Diabetes 101.  For those of us who have been living with diabetes for too long, there was still a lot to learn and understand.  There was information on dietary supplements like the megaspore probiotic that is all over the news lately.  Gary also provides information on exercise, stress and depression to help make a demanding condition more understandable.

Gary agrees that people with diabetes need choice in insulin delivery methods.

As the book moved on to discuss insulin and delivery, I was very intrigued.  It was great to see the “Trend” boxes with short tips and bits of information. One box highlighted my own personal belief that “The type of pump should be chosen by the person who will be using it, not his or her physician.”  This was also a great section for those living with Type 1 as well as Type 2.  In reading it, I realized quickly what type of therapy I would want if myself or a loved one were diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

By chapter four we are over halfway through the book.  We’ve gotten some great tips on the many glucometers available as well as some information on various Continuous Glucose Monitors.  I was a bit surprised when I read that “meters themselves cost about the same as they did 20 years ago, and test strip costs have actually increased”.  I see that meter pricing has not really changed. We have been given most of our monitors because of the large number of test strips that we use.  Again personally, I have seen a slight decrease in test strips.  Perhaps this is a geographical difference and the drop is not overly significant but test strips which consistently cost at least $1 per strip, now cost me around 80 cents. Not a huge saving but I will take what I can!

The second to last chapter of this book deals with a subject that none of us wants to look at.  This is the chapter on complications, but Gary doesn’t dwell on the negative.  This chapter is titled “Advances in Fighting Complications”  and addresses how we can be proactive in our care.  Instead of leaving you with a feeling of inevitable despair there is hope offered here.

There is a lot to think about when living with diabetes.

As I finished the book, I was exhausted to think of how complicated dealing with diabetes was.  The reader is taken on a journey through the glycemic index, graphs on glucometers, insulins, vitamins, exercise, Alzheimer disease, depression,  Diabulimia CGM technology, how to fight complications and finally where to find support.  Despite the daunting content, the book was surprisingly light and easy to read. It is a great resource for the newly diagnosed Type 1 or Type 2 person living with diabetes.  It also provides some great information for veterans and those who are diabetes information junkies.

Are you considering an insulin pump? Our ebook offers great tips for making your choice.

Kids First Diabetes Second…The Language Chapter

I finally finished Leighann Calentine’s book Kids First Diabetes Second.  That is not to say that it was just so boring that it took me forever to read.  Its a reflection of the fact that I just don’t have enough me time to read, I was trying to read three books at once AND there were not enough 3am lows to add to my reading time.

The book was a bit of a surprise to me. I know that probably sounds rude but I was not expecting a lot.  I really didn’t know much about Leighann prior to this. Having read her blog on occasion, I knew that she was a fellow Diabetes Advocate but she had only been dealing with the D-monster for four years.

After living with diabetes for too many years, I am a bit more crass.  Would she be able to keep my interest? The answer was a resounding YES! She did a great job explaining things and then used a fabulous panel of experts to help fill in various areas.  The balance was brilliant and this is definitely a book that should be given to every newly diagnosed family at least.

In reading the book, I once again had a million little pieces of paper marking things that I wanted to write about in a review.  There are so many little bits of things that I thought were interesting that it’s going to take more than one blog post! Since I finished the book last night, I decided to start at one of the last sections that made me laugh and taught me a few things.

Kids First Diabetes Second dedicates an entire chapter to “The Language of Diabetes”.  We all know that diabetes has its own language.  It’s funny to watch the response of people when we look at our teen or our toddler and tell them “You had better be high Mister!”  We laugh at ourselves and know our kids love it when we ask them to give us “the finger”.

Kids First book review www.diabetesadvocacy.com

Batman Belt

These were found in the book as well as many more. Being a diabetes dinosaur, there were a lot of terms that I just didn’t know! I love the “Bateman Belt” which we used to just refer to as his pump pouch.  With kids using Spibelts and other pouches that can hold so much that the term had to be expanded.

Dia-beet-us

I laughed when I saw “diabeetus” and the fact that it causes an eye roll in many.  You know that that is how I pronounce the dreaded word right? I don’t know if its a Barb thing or perhaps Wilfred Brimley and I just have some sort of weird connection but to me the “diabeetees” thing sounds just as odd.

Flat-lining

I learned about Flat-lining and dreamed of it happening to my son one day.We don’t have a CGM so I can only imagine how great it must be to see.

Gusher

We have experienced both definitions of a gusher.  There was the time when blood spurted from his finger across the dining room table and landed in his brother’s soup. We have also had sites that poured out so much blood that I thought he may need a transfusion. My son that it was no big deal!

Old School

The term “Old school” killed me.  I am not that old…really…I think….but we don’t use Continous Glucose Monitors (read cost factor and access issues) and I love a paper log. While I am working really hard to move away from one, the idea of downloading pumps and meters? EEEK!! It is just so hard for me to do. (Actually, she states that the term refers to people who go back to these ways and not to those of us still stuck there)

SWAG

I remember learning about SWAG and YDMV when I first joined the CWD parents list.

This chapter was full of great stuff. At the end of it, the author notes the importance of not looking at numbers as “good” or “bad”.  That is so hard.  I never judge my son by his reading. We do have the debate on whether we have been effective pancreases or not.  We use readings as a learning tool now that he is a teen.  When he was younger, they were Mom’s grade and Mom’s responsibility.  “Mom failed you.” would be the guilt that ran through my head. I would not tell him that but it was how I would feel.

As Leighann and many before her have said, our children are so much more than a number. Readings are vital to their health and their well-being but they are just a tool. Its vital that we teach them that as well as helping them to flat-line!

Stay tuned for more great insights and commentaries on Leighann Calentine’s Kids First Diabetes Second….or go and order your own copy so you can find all of the good parts for yourself!

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