Most of us living with type 1 diabetes probably wish that we had a dia-buddy (a friend who also lives with diabetes) when we were diagnosed. Someone to explain what it means to have diabetes from the perspective of someone who has lived with diabetes for a while.
The book Type 1 Diabetes for the Newly Diagnosed offers just that.
Ariel Warren, who has lived with type 1 diabetes since she was 4 years old, takes you by the hand and guides you through what can be a confusing and stressful time.
She shares her journey, the good as well as the bad (I’m not going to lie, the passage from her dad’s diary from when she was diagnosed made me tear up).
She starts every chapter with a small story from someone else living with diabetes. It makes the book very approachable and you’re not in doubt that the author gets you and what you, your family, and your loved ones go through.
Ariel does cover the nuts and bolts of diabetes, such as what type 1 diabetes is, what insulin options there are, and how to dose it correctly, but this book goes further than just that. It dives into what it means to live with this condition 24/7 for the rest of your life.
What I think sets this book apart from most other diabetes books, is that she approaches every subject both from the perspective of a person living with diabetes and as a medical professional (she is a registered dietitian, nutritionist, and diabetes educator). That means that the reader is never in doubt that she knows what she’s talking about from a clinical perspective, while her empathy and understanding come through just as strongly.
What I especially appreciated about the book is that the clear goal is to make sure that you get the right tools to manage your condition. After each chapter, she has little worksheets that help you frame the conversations with your medical team, or a special topic that she would like you to work on or think about.
I also like how she takes on some of the misconceptions many people have about diabetes. I especially appreciate her highlighting that:
- there is no such thing as a “diabetic diet” but that we, like anyone else, should stick to a balanced diet full of high-fiber foods which can include treats
- that weight loss with diabetes isn’t impossible and the reason why many gain weight after diagnosis is because our bodies finally aren’t starving anymore
- that we have the power to choose our medical team and should exercise it when possible
She also dives into some topics I rarely see covered in books, such as how to deal with medical insurance (focus in the book is on the US system), relationships, and the emotional toll diabetes can have on both you and your loved ones.
The only thing I’d add to the book is an addition to the technology section about the technology available for people preferring Multiple Daily Injections (MDI). With the diabetes apps (such as Hedia and MySugr in Europe) and SmartPens (InPen in the US) now available, many of the technology features she mentions as reasons for getting an insulin pump are available to people who choose MDI as well (such as bolus calculators and IOB tracking).
This book is a great resource for anyone newly diagnosed with diabetes and those around them, as they begin on their journey through life with diabetes. The more you know and the better you understand this condition, the easier it will be to come to terms with it and manage it.
It will most likely never be easy to live with diabetes, but knowledge can make it easier. And as Ariel writes on the last page of her book “Appreciate every small victory with diabetes – and in life in general”
You can get the book on Amazon.