Tag Archives: books about diabetes

“Sex and Diabetes” Book Review

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Sex and diabetes can go together, I’ve learned, but I’ll be the first to admit there are unique challenges involved.  These were mostly private ruminations that I assumed were not common or normal until last year when I attended the Diabetes Sisters Conference for Women and was present at a discussion about the topic in a room full of nothing but women.

Then the truth came out.

Women were saying things like, “I know I’m low when 20 minutes has passed and I’m not getting anywhere” and “I’m tired of the monthly infections!” and “How can I increase…ya know, moisture?”  All the while, many other women nodded their heads in solemn agreement.

So I thought, “Oh, it’s the diabetes”.

Now this does not mean that if someone has diabetes that sex will be any different than if they didn’t have diabetes.  It just means that it’s likely that having diabetes will present a few tricky challenges in this department.

I’m not going to go on making some of you squeamishly uncomfortable but I will say that there is no shame in learning more about this subject.  In fact, it’s commendable because we know that in a relationship, sex IS important and the quality aspect absolutely matters.

So, I’d like to recommend the book, Sex and Diabetes, by Janis Rozler, RD, CDE, LDN and Donna Rice, MBA, BSN, RN, CDE.  All those random letters means they are professionals ;)

I actually got to hear Janis Rozler speak a few months ago.  She was awesome.  She understands what worries are going on in our heads and her attitude is a very empowered one that is infectious and encourages us to work on our issues with sex in relation to diabetes because it’s worth it!

Anyway, the book pleasantly surprised me.  It made me laugh, it touched on emotional intimacy, it shared interesting historic romance tidbits such as Cleopatra and Anthony’s relationship. (Talk about a power couple!)

The book gives a lot of practical information and tips such as how to talk to your doctor about issues and how to keep your body healthy.  It even shares information on supplements such as which are helpful and which are scams. The book also dives into some awesome relationship communication techniques that I really appreciated.

Sex and Diabetes goes into topics for women and for men and with an open, friendly tone and makes the point that there are many ways to work to make sex and intimacy better.  On that note, I love how sex and intimacy are not separated in this book.  The authors focus on sex in a meaningful relationship because only then can two people really work around any diabetes related challenges they may encounter.  And while there are challenges, there are solutions.  Indeed there are, and this book covers them all.

Great job, ladies.

You can buy the book here.

The Book of Better, Book Review

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Chuck Eichten has had type 1 diabetes for over 30 years.  He has written a book called, The Book of Better targeted at anyone with diabetes.  The book’s all encompassing message to you: that perfect isn’t possible but improvement always is so why not strive for that?.  Talk about hitting the nail on the head.

The book is written in an extremely straight forward style, suitable to those who respond to that and perhaps, most any man.  It’s a really witty book, includes fun visual art and a lot of aesthetic appeal (with exception of some white font on yellow background-well at least it’s large white font).  This comes as no surprise since Chuck Eichten is Nike’s creative director.  In fact, Nike’s timeless “Just Do It” slogan totally relates to this book, which admittedly delighted me to no end.

I have to say, I felt like boxing with the author a couple times.  He says insulin pumps are “the Best Available Treatment”.  I agree on the condition that it is actually what works best for someone.  And someone isn’t equivalent to everyone.  I haven’t had an A1c over 6.0% in over 5 years and I’ve never had a seizure or passed out from a low and I don’t use a pump.  I did for seven years and it did not work for me.  In Eichten’s opinion, you’re crazy if you have access to a pump but don’t have one.  He talks about how pumps allow a person the flexibility to sleep in late, to skip meals or snack in between them, and to be more sexy on dates because it’s probably more of a turn on to be on a first date and hit some buttons on a gadget that’s mysteriously connected to you by tubing than to inject a needle at the table.  I use Lantus and Humalog insulin and between the two I can sleep in and skip meals and frankly, I feel sexier when I’m not connected to the pump.  It’s just easier to move around and wear dresses and door knobs don’t yank me back by two feet of tubing.  And also, Chuck, how do you test your blood sugar?  Because the only way I can do it is by bleeding.  And I don’t know anyone who finds bleeding sexy.  But I know of someone, who find me sexy whether I’m connected to a pump or injecting a shot or pricking my finger.  So for me, the human element is the key.  Though, many might agree with you and that’s the beauty of it I suppose.  It would just be nice to have the other option properly acknowledged because it can and does work for some people.

I can’t help but wonder if this hailing of the pump is partly one person’s way of supporting technology to continue advancing for our benefit.  If that’s the case, then great and thank you.  But I worry about those who can’t get access to a pump, who hear that they are the best thing, and then lose all hope in their MDI.  And we all know how important it is that people have hope, right?  In all essence it’s like we’re in the same league, playing on different teams, but with the same end goal of winning in mind.

Enough about pumps!  The book, for me, is an awesome dose of perspective.  At least once every chapter I exclaimed, “YES!” out loud, prompting my husband to ask me what the commotion was all about.  The author does a fantastic job of confronting the root issues that people have with certain aspects of life with diabetes and then he explains them in a way that makes a person realize he is right and our excuses are absolutely useless.

For example, I have long been in an internal battle over the “Yes I can eat that” campaign.  I feel like “yes…I can…but, I want to be healthy so often, no I can’t…”  You know what I mean?  Well, the author reminds us that there are two conditions to the “yes I can eat that”.  We’re empowered patients, after all.  People with type 1 can eat anything but if they’re smart, they are going to be picky about when and how much they eat, not because they are strict and deny themselves pleasure, but because they know they deserve to take care of themselves.  This is a really powerful message and there are many like this in the book regarding diet and exercise and one’s attitude.  By the way, Chuck eats a totally unhealthy breakfast every day and impressively balances it out in real life way you will want to read about.

This book does another fine thing by reasoning with our emotions and appealing to our genuine worries.  For example he says, “You are not boring, you are consistent”.  People think it’s fun and attractive to be spontaneous and diabetes tries to challenge us on that.  And the author is reminding us that the fact of the matter is diabetes likes consistency and if we try to keep some things consistent, we’ll be better off.

He also heavily promotes that all people with diabetes move each day.  Instead of sounding like a doctor “you’ll be healthier, your risk for heart disease will be lower”, the author actually goes to the true places in all of us and mentions how, for example, if we move more, we’ll spark a chain of events that will ultimately get us more of what we want and less of what we don’t want.  Finally, someone who knows how to motivate.

I have been gathering information regarding lifestyle habits of long time type 1 diabetics who are very healthy and this book just so happens to discuss many of those consistencies.  If you want to live a long and healthy life with diabetes, this book won’t steer you wrong. You might actually go for a pump after reading the book. And that’s ok because it may work for you.  Winking smile

You want an excellent dose of reality, perspective, hope, and humor?  Read this book.

You can buy it here.

Book Review: Your Diabetes Science Experiment

I firmly believe in telling the truth when I review a book or product and this post is no different.

There were particular changes I made to my diabetes management several years ago.  As a result, my blood sugars went from chronically high to very well managed.  Nerve pain in my feet and cramping in my legs ceased.  My kidney function returned to normal.  My head stepped out of a fog.  I had the clarity of mind and the physical and emotional energy to change my job, relationship, and diet.  My depression alleviated.  I’m much happier and healthier now, a wife, and a mother.  So it’s my opinion that getting my blood sugars managed was a completely life altering experience.  I now consider blood sugar management my top priority.

The steps I took, the reason that I have improved my blood sugars over the years had to do with a few basic ideas that I acted upon.  Recently I read Ginger Vieira’s book, “Your Diabetes Science Experiment” and practically jumped for joy when I finished it.  The very information that saved my life and changed it entirely for the better is in this book! This book does what every Endocrinologist should do, but doesn’t have time to do or doesn’t do because he or she doesn’t feel the info is relevant to share with patients. This book educates you on how the human body works in relation to insulin, stress, food, and exercise.  This book does not give you any unscientific nonsense.  Instead, the information in it, if taken seriously, has the potential to make your diabetes management what it needs to be.  Our reality is we need to avoid lows and highs.  We need to know how to manage our diabetes largely on our own.  We need to understand how our bodies work so that we can make our own adjustments quickly and accurately.  This book can help you do that.

The info in this book will empower you.  I find it incredibly useful to know for example, that a low uses up glycogen stores in my muscles and is therefore the reason that my post low blood sugar workout is going to make me feel like a wimp.  For someone who isn’t aware of this, they might be the person to say something like, “Sometimes I have energy for my workouts and sometimes I just don’t, there is no rhyme or reason, and it’s because I have diabetes.”  We need to empower ourselves with knowledge and get away from these general expressions that mean nothing.  They just reveal our vulnerability to the facts about the body and diabetes.  They also take away our power to foresee changes in our diabetes management which could otherwise be dealt with successfully or at least more successfully, more often.

I started this blog to share what I’ve learned the hard way over the years and tell you what has worked for me, just in the case it works for you.  Reading this book has confirmed what I do and why I do it.  It does much more however, as it gives you the full, clear, and organized explanation as to why something is the way that it is.  Ginger shoots from the head but is also quite warm and inspiring.  She is a record holding power lifter and uses the information in the book in her own life.  I appreciate the examples she provides in the book which have to do with her own experiences.  I also really appreciate her positive attitude and the clever metaphors she uses in order to make concepts easier to understand.

This isn’t a book published by a huge agency.  It’s not coming to you through the ADA.  I do however, wholeheartedly recommend it to you.  If you have money to buy only one book this year, make it this one.  And when you get the book, travel slowly through it.  Take your time soaking in the information and sit down with your own data to perform your own diabetes science experiments.  Seriously, do them.  As Ginger reminds us, the work involved is well worth it.  I have little adjustments that I do according to variances in my routine which took some time to get right but now that I have those adjustments, I don’t know what I’d do without them-because they work so well.

Diabetes management can be less of a puzzle.  Many don’t like me to say that I usually know why my blood sugars are what they are.  The old me wouldn’t have liked it, either.  Maybe you don’t want to read this book because the idea that there is a scientific reason behind each one of your blood sugar results seems unrealistic or far fetched.  I assure you it’s not.  I completely understand the place many people are in where they work very hard and don’t see the results they deserve.  It’s too bad that doctors never shared any of this information with me and that people like Ginger and I had to look it up and research it for ourselves.  It’s not your fault that your diabetes causes this cycle of ups and downs but the ability to improve your situation is in your hands.  I promise you can improve your diabetes management with the information in this book.

I have a lot of respect for someone who writes a book that has no BS factor and is altogether upbeat, hopeful, and honest.  Ginger, thank you for writing this book.  I did not know how I’d feel about it.  Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to find this book is a treasure and it is my strong hope that you’ll all read it.

You can buy the book here.  Check out Ginger’s website here.

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