Books

Breakthrough: Elizabeth Hughes, the Discovery of Insulin, and the Making of a Medical Miracle by Thea Cooper and Arthur Ainsberg 2010 Published by St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0-312-64870-1. Hardcover, 306 pages. US$24.99.

As the parent of a child (now adult) with type 1 diabetes, there is no greater story to be told than that of the discovery of insulin. Breakthrough offers a new, richly detailed and deeply personal perspective of one young girl — Elizabeth Hughes — and her family’s struggle to keep her alive on a starvation diet so that she might one day enjoy a miracle — the discovery of insulin. I cannot help but feel our family in place of the Hughes family, sharing their emotions as they watch their daughter waste away, learn about the “Miracle in Toronto,” and do whatever it takes to get Elizbeth insulin so that she might be saved. Breakthrough brings a new emotional depth to what for many of us is truly the greatest story ever told. For pure historians, the authors have taken some liberties with some specifics in the interest of the story, but this is no work of fiction. Breakthrough is a must have addition to the library of everyone living with type 1 diabetes. Highly Recommended.

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The Best of Diabetes Self-Management by Editors of Diabetes Self-Management magazine 2002 Published by Diabetes Self-Management Books. ISBN 0-9631701-5-5. US$29.97 plus $2.95 S/H.

The Best of Diabetes Self-Management is a 462 page collection of articles from Diabetes Self-Management magazine. Each article was thoroughly reviewed and updated, so everything in this book is relevant and current. There are articles on dozens of topics, ranging from medical issues (pumps, insulin analogs) to feelings (dealing with “diabetes overwhelmus” by Richard Rubin) to dietary supplements to daycare issues. Since so much of diabetes care involves good information, this is an excellent book to add to anyone’s collection.

The book can be purchased directly from the publisher by calling 1-800-664-9269 or by writing to Diabetes Self-Management, P.O. Box 10676, Des Moines, IA 50381-0676.

Bee Healthy Diabetic Log Book by Sharon B. Barker 2003 Published by iUniverse. ISBN 0-595-27117-0. US$16.95.

If you’re looking for a pre-printed, bound book in which to record blood glucose values, food eaten, insulin and other medications taken, then Bee Healthy Diabetic Log Book is worth a look. The 230-page paperback book is basically a nicely bound log book, with six months worth of one day logs followed by a weekly summary. You fill in each day with the time of an event and what you did, such as checking your blood sugar and taking insulin. Each week begins with an uplifting illustration. If you’re used to writing down everything on paper, and are not as organized as you’d like, the Bee Healthy Diabetic Log Book is an easy way to get organized.

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Balancing Diabetes: Conversations about finding happiness and living well by Kerri Sparling 2014 Published by Spry Publishing, 2014. ISBN 1938170377. Paperback, 200 pages. $16.95.

There are many medical books about how to manage type 1 diabetes, but there are precious few books on what is much more important — how to live a full, happy life with type 1 diabetes. With Balancing Diabetes, Kerri Sparling reaches out to the real experts — people living with type 1 diabetes — to bring perspective to the challenges of living well with type 1. It is in the wisdom of these experts that we come to realize, as Kerri so eloquently reminds us, “Life with diabetes isn’t about the diabetes itself, but about the life of which it’s a part.” Balancing Diabetes belongs in the home of everyone with type 1. Highly recommended.

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The ABCs of Loving Yourself with Diabetes by Riva Greenberg 2007 Published by SPI Management LLC. ISBN 0615170943. Paperback, 64 pages. $19.95.

Riva Greenberg was diagnosed with type 1 when she was 18. She’s lived with diabetes for over 39 years. In The ABCs of Loving Yourself with Diabetes, Riva offers 26 delightful, emotional, wonderful pages of advice for her “fellow travelers.” One sentence sums up well her perspective: “I hope in your journey with diabetes you will arrive at that place, if you haven’t already, where diabetes is a ‘comma’ in your life, as in … ‘I love my life, and I have diabetes.'” We should all be so lucky. Highly recommended.

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50 Secrets of the Longest Living People with Diabetes by Sheri R. Colberg, PhD, and Steven V. Edelman, MD 2007 Published by Marlowe & Company. Paperback, 291 pages. $15.95 ISBN 1-60094-018-8.

“Live first and be diabetic second.” That’s the first of fifty secrets — or rather, bits of excellent advice — collected by Sheri Colberg and Steven Edelman from people who have lived a long life with diabetes. Some of those interviewed have lived amazing lives, such as Gerald Cleveland, age 91, who has had type 1 diabetes for over 75 years and his younger brother Bob, age 87, who has had type 1 diabetes for over 82 years. While some of the advice applies to anyone (“Watch Out For Restaurant Food”), a good bit focuses on diabetes and stresses the need to pay attention to diabetes and to take it seriously (“Count Your Carbs”). 50 Secrets of the Longest Living People with Diabetes can help you focus — or refocus — on what’s important in life while still living well with diabetes.

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50 Diabetes Myths That Can Ruin Your Life and the 50 Diabetes Truths That Can Save It by Riva Greenberg 2009 Published by Marlowe & Company. Paperback, 316 pages. $14.95 ISBN 978-0-7382-1320-0.

As I read through 50 Diabetes Myths That Can Ruin Your Life, I could remember hearing many spoken to me over the past 20 years — some by well-meaning relatives and friends. Chances are you’ve heard them too — “sugar caused my child’s diabetes,” “you can’t eat sweets,” etc. The good news is that none of these myths is true, and Riva Greenberg, with help from a star-studded team of diabetes care professionals, will help you understand what living with diabetes means today. 50 Diabetes Myths is an excellent addition to everyone’s diabetes library, and would make a nice gift for those “helpful” relatives and friends. Highly Recommended.

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365 Daily Meditations for People with Diabetes by Catherine Feste 2004 Published by the American Diabetes Association. Paperback, 366 pages. $13.95 ISBN 1-58040-145-7.

Author Catherine Feste was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 10, 47 years ago. In 365 Daily Meditations, she offers us a pearl of wisdom per day to help us through the challenges of living with diabetes. Each day has its own page, its own theme. Some are profound, others less so, but each can help you start your day with a positive attitude about diabetes and about life. If you’re feeling a bit stressed or overwhelmed, 365 Daily Meditations may be just what you need.

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28 Days to Diabetes Control! by Lance Porter 2004 Published by M. Evans and Company. Paperback, 289 pages. $12.95 ISBN 1-59077-041-2.

Sometimes all you need is a little motivation to make positive changes in your life. That’s the idea behind 28 Days to Diabetes Control! by Lance Porter, editor-in-chief of Diabetes Positive! magazine. After a good introduction to diabetes, medications, blood glucose monitoring, and other basic diabetes topics, Porter offers a 28-day program of healthy eating, exercise, and pattern management in an effort to help readers improve their diabetes control. If you’re an older teen or adult and are looking for a little help to make some changes, this book is a great way to start.

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101 Tips for Raising Healthy Kids with Diabetes by Laura Hieronymus, MDEd, APRN, BC-ADM, CDE and Patti Geil, MS, RD, FADA, CDE 2006 Published by the American Diabetes Association. Paperback, 128 pages. $14.95 ISBN 1-58040-242-9.

101 Tips for Raising Healthy Kids with Diabetes offers answers to various questions you may have about diabetes care. Unfortunately, some of the answers are incomplete at best or outdated at worst. In particular, two questions and answers which deal with young kids and challenges around meals (refusing to eat or forgetting snacks) focus exclusively on trying to change the child’s behavior rather than adopting an insulin regimen that makes such common behavior less dangerous. For example, telling a four-year-old to eat after an injection hints at an out-dated regimen of Regular and NPH (see Care Suggestions). In another answer, a parent who feels overwhelmed is simply told to contact a local ADA office, with no mention of the great many other sources of support (CWD, JDRF, etc.). So while many of the answers are good, several are not up to the standards that we would recommend.

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