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.
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 the 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.
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 with 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 takes 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.
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!