Books: Recommended

Think Like a Pancreas by Gary Scheiner, MS, CDE 2011 Published by Da Capo Press, Boston. ISBN 978-0-7382-1514-4. US$17.00

One of the best manuals on day-to-day diabetes management, Think Like a Pancreas by Gary Scheiner, is a must for all with type 1 diabetes. During his 25 years with diabetes, Gary has dedicated himself to determining how best to deal with the ups and downs of diabetes and is intent on sharing his knowledge with others. How to take insulin on days you plan to exercise, how specific types of exercise and certain foods affect one’s blood sugar, and how to prevent hypo- and hyperglycemia, are among the subjects covered in this book. Gary has specific advice about what to do when you are having surgery, how caffeine affects blood sugars and concise descriptions on how to calculate insulin boluses. Newly updated in 2011 to include the latest on pumps, sensors, and even incretins, Think Like a Pancreas remains one of the few must-have books for everyone living with type 1 diabetes and is highly recommended.

— Review by Jeff and Brenda Hitchcock

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The Smart Woman’s Guide to Diabetes by Amy Stockwell Mercer 2012 Published by Demos Health. Paperback, 236 pages. $16.95 ISBN 1936303132.

There’s nothing quite like an authoritative author for a topic like diabetes. Amy Stockwell Mercer sums up her credentials in her introduction: “It’s been 25 years since I was diagnosed, and I am now the mother to three healthy boys.” Diagnosed at age 14, about six months after her younger sister, Stockwell Mercer enlists the wisdom and experiences of many other women living with diabetes to offer guidance and encouragement for women with diabetes who might feel alone or isolated or just not understood. You’ll learn from women diagnosed as kids and diagnosed as adults who have found ways to live well with diabetes. The Smart Woman’s Guide to Diabetes isn’t a medical guide to caring for diabetes. It’s more of an emotional guide. One chapter heading sums it up best: Building the Confidence to Live Well. Highly Recommended for every woman with diabetes.

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The Secrets of Living and Loving with Diabetes by Janis Roszler, RD, CDE, LD/N, William Polonsky, PhD, CDE, and Steven V. Edelman, MD 2004 Pubished by Surrey Books. Paperback, 182 pages. $19.95. ISBN 1-57284-066-8.

The Secrets of Living and Loving with Diabetes is about real life with diabetes. Not the “this is insulin” and “check lots of blood sugars” kind of real life though — this is the “how to deal with the diabetes police” and “decriminalizing diabetes” real life, the stuff that’s so often overlooked at clinic or in discussions with your doctor. If you’re an adult (or older teen) with diabetes, and you’re tired of hearing “Your blood sugar is high. What did you do wrong?”, or you’re a parent or spouse and you find yourself saying those words (or words like that), then this book can help you learn to deal with the emotional challenges and relationship issues that face everyone — and every family — living with diabetes. Parents, this is the adult equivalent of Sweet Kids and is highly recommended for adults and older teens with type 1 diabetes.

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Raising Teens with Diabetes: A Survival Guide for Parents by Moira McCarthy 2010 Published by Spry Publishing, 2013. 286 pages, paperback. ISBN 1938170202. US$15.95.

Our most important job as parents is to help our kids grow up to be happy, healthy, adults. Diabetes can really complicate that process, especially during the teen years. In Raising Teens with Diabetes: A Survival Guide for Parents, Moira McCarthy, mom to Lauren, uses her family’s experiences as a point of reference and offers solid advice and guidance that will help your entire family to weather the turbulent teen years. With a gentle voice and wry wit, Moira covers teenage diabetes in detail — to pump or not (or both), sibling issues, peers, increasing independence, and much more. If you are a parent of a teen, or soon will be, Raising Teens with Diabetes: A Survival Guide for Parents should be on your “must read” list. Highly Recommended.

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Putting Your Patients on the Pump by Karen M. Bolderman, RD, LD, CDE 2002 Pubished by the American Diabetes Association. Paperback, 91 pages. $18.95. ISBN 1-58040-148-1.

Health care professionals who are interested in learning how to oversee patients starting insulin pump therapy have a new resource: Putting Your Patients on the Pump by Karen M. Bolderman, RD, LD, CDE. This 91-page book from the ADA will “… help health care professionals with expertise in diabetes care successfully start and maintain diabetes patients on insulin pump therapy.” Bolderman, who herself has diabetes and uses an insulin pump, presents and excellent and easy-to-read “how to” guide on what pump therapy is all about, from the perspective of the diabetes team. Patients who are interested in pump therapy will also benefit from this guide, as it includes much of what your health care team may have been taught about putting patients on the pump. While not as detailed as John Walsh’s Pumping Insulin, Putting Your Patients on the Pump is up-to-date (includes NovoLog) and sufficient to help your diabetes team get you pumping. It is also an excellent tool for primary care providers who are interested in learning about the insulin pump. Highly recommended for anyone considering or using an insulin pump.

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Pumping Insulin by John Walsh, P.A., C.D.E., and Ruth Roberts, M.A. 2006 Published by Torrey Pines Press. ISBN 1-884804-86-1. 330 pages, paperback. US$23.95.

Newly updated for the latest smart pumps, Pumping Insulin remains the definitive work for getting the most out of insulin pump therapy. The Fourth Edition will help you get the most from the latest “smart” pumps by teaching you how to use various kinds of boluses, check insulin on board to prevent over corrections, how to determine corrections and insulin sensitivity factors, and how to ensure that your basal rates are correctly set. There’s even a discussion of how to use Symlin and Byetta if you pump. If you use an insulin pump and want to get the most from it, you need this book. Highly recommended for anyone considering or using an insulin pump.

Torrey Pines Press
1030 West Upas Street
San Diego, CA 92103-3821
1-800-988-4772 (US)
1-619-497-0900

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Practical Psychology for Diabetes Clinicians, 2nd Edition by Barbara J. Anderson, PhD, and Richard R. Rubin, PhD., CDE 2002 Published by the American Diabetes Association. Paperback, 256 pages. $29.95. ISBN 1-58040-140-6.

“The reality of diabetes care is that more than 98% of the care is provided by the patient….” That statement, in chapter one of Practical Psychology for Diabetes Clinicians, 2nd Edition, sets the tone for the entire book. While patients look to their diabetes team for guidance and counsel, where do members of your diabetes team look? Well, this book could be one place, and therefore it should be of interest to parents and adults looking for tools to help them get the best possible diabetes care. The 23 chapters cover everything from type 1 in children and adolescents to dealing with both professional and patient burnout. While aimed at health care professional, the book is very easy to read and understand and will certainly help anyone looking to improve their diabetes care. Highly recommended.

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Needles: A Memoir of Growing Up With Diabetes by Andie Dominick 1998 Published by Scribner. ISBN 0-684-84232-7. US$22.00.

Needles: A Memoir of Growing up with Diabetes is an outstanding autobiography of a young woman diagnosed with diabetes at age 9. Andie Dominick recalls her diagnosis, done by her older sister and mentor, Denise, who’d been diagnosed in 1962, and her parents. She details her rebellious teen years, when she skipped her shots to lose weight, and subsequent consequences, how she reacted to the early death of her beloved sister, and her development of retinopathy. Ms. Dominick also describes her agonizing decision about not having children in light of the potential complications childbirth could cause. This very moving story is highly recommended for everyone with diabetes and parents of children with diabetes. This book contains some graphic descriptions of the treatment of diabetic retinopathy and may not be suitable for the squeamish.

— Brenda Hitchcock

Parents of children with diabetes often wonder how their children view life with diabetes. As parents, we struggle with caring for our children and their diabetes, but we can never experience diabetes as they do. I was quite moved by Needles and am grateful to Andie Dominick for putting into words her experiences and feelings, for in doing so, she has opened the door of wisdom and insight for all parents of children with diabetes. Highly recommended.

— Jeff Hitchcock

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My Sister Has Diabetes and How That Makes Me Feel by Grace Rooney, Illustrated by Michele Pensa 2010 CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2015. ISBN 9781515344520. $7.99.

In the 26 years that our family has been involved in the type 1 diabetes community, I have never encountered a resource for siblings with the depth of insight I found in My Sister Has Diabetes and How That Makes Me Feel. With just 32 pages — 16 illustrations and 16 pages of powerful words — Grace Rooney shares the incredible range of feelings all siblings experience in a way that is both empowering and liberating. Parents should add this book to their diabetes library. Health care professionals should not only read this book, they should give a copy to every family they serve to help validate the complex emotions siblings experience and help them realize that, like their brothers and sisters with type 1 diabetes, they are not alone. Highly recommended.

— Jeff Hitchcock

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My Life as a Pancreas: Reflections on Raising a Child with Diabetes by Priscilla Call Essert 2006 Published by LuLu.com. ISBN 978-1-84728-156-2. US$15.00.

For me, the most amusing part of My Life as a Pancreas was the story of Priscilla’s son running around at a parent/child gathering, playing with the other kids. He stopped for some food to prevent a low but left half his cookie in her hand. She yelled out to her son, “Byron, get back here now and finish this cookie. You can’t play unless you finish this cookie. You must have this sugar.” As other parents sat jaws agape, a little girl came up and asked, “Would you be my mommy? My mommy won’t let me have sugar.”

That moment, and dozens more, are what we as parents of kids with diabetes live, everyday, as we pretend to be our children’s pancreas. My Life as a Pancreas isn’t a medical book, it’s therapy for parents. And you’ll love every page, even if some of the stories hit rather close to home. Highly Recommended.

— Jeff Hitchcock

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