April 28, 2015

Book Review: Ten Things You Need To Know About Living with Diabetes

Robin reads a bookThanks to Dr. Karin Hehenberger for this new book! Here are some things I like about this read:

It’s informative.  Even with more than twenty-five years of living with type 1 diabetes, I learned some great new stuff here! My liver, I discovered, helps keep my glucose levels from going too low. And hypoglycemia can occur if the liver is too busy metabolizing alcohol. I also learned more about ketoacidosis, type 2 diabetes, and how exercise increases the uptake of glucose into my cells. I even took the opportunity to test my husband’s fasting blood sugar, which I was relieved to find was well below the type 2 diabetes mark!

The formatting is clear and easy to read.  This book is a good length. It’s educational and easy to read without being too long. Each chapter is designed with a heading, body, and summary. As I read through the book, I found that this made the information more accessible. I could flip back and forth between sections, relocating and rereading various ideas. Having read the detailed information in the body of each chapter, I appreciated reading the key points reiterated as bullet points.

It’s frank and honest.  Dr. Hehenberger shares many of her own experiences with diabetes in a candid and upbeat manner. I felt a sense of solidarity, reading about many of her personal struggles. I’ve spent a good part of my life trying to ignore the fact that diabetes complications are a leading cause of death. I’ve always done my best to hold this information at an arm’s length, and simply try to maintain careful control of my health. It was reassuring to read Dr. Hehenberger’s assertion that by managing diabetes with “medicines, diet, and exercise, you can live a long, healthy, and enjoyable life.”

It’s reflective.  I appreciated hearing how Dr. Hehenberger grew and learned from her challenges. In one story, she describes how she felt the need to keep her health condition a secret. I identify with her reservations, since bringing it up with new friends and acquaintances can feel awkward. But I’ve actually made a point to be forthright about having diabetes. And I’ve found that demystifying and normalizing my daily healthcare helps other people feel more comfortable around me. I’ve even given spontaneous lessons to everyone from relatives to folks I’ve sat next to in a bar. So it was gratifying to read Dr. Hehenberger’s discovery that, “a relationship can grow into something better and more fulfilling through honesty.”

It’s written for you.  This book is not just for doctors, or newly diagnosed patients, or even those of us who’ve had diabetes for decades. It explores ten areas of interest for anyone affected by the disease. It covers a range of issues and concerns, from advocating for yourself at a restaurant to building a medical support network. It’s written to be easy to pick up, simple to comprehend, and convenient to utilize. This book is exactly what it claims to be: ten things that will help you understand what it means to live with diabetes.