Excerpt from a poem written by Lorraine Brooks that appears in the prologue:
For those of us with sweeter blood
Our lives may go adrift
But sweetnest is a mighty flood,
And is, for us, a gift.
The title of Dr. Beverly Adler’s book is My Sweet Life: Successful Women With Diabetes, and those of you (like myself) living with diabetes, will get the play on words without any explanation. For those of you who don’t, you can read her book and figure it out quickly enough. But don’t let the title fool you, this books is not only for those with diabetes.
Dr. Adler was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1975 and that alone gives her authority to write a book about living with diabetes, but she also has impressive academic accomplishments and credentials (she holds two masters degrees and a PhD in psychology) and is a certified diabetes educator (CDE.)
Her book features the stories of women living with diabetes, so naturally, it will resonate with someone who has diabetes, but it is also a great source of inspiration for anyone struggling with any serious illness or other major challenges in life. I promise you will get a lot more out of this book than just a better understanding of what it is like to have diabetes because this book really is not about diabetes; it is about how the courageous women in this book took back their lives after being diagnosed with a serious metabolic disorder.
Dr. Adler has devoted her life to helping others overcome their own challenges (with a special passion for people with diabetes); however, instead of writing all about her own life, she allowed other women to share their stories as well. Instead of focusing on one heroine, multiple stories show that Adler’s own success does not have to be an anomaly and encourages the belief that all woman can strive to achieve the same success.
A Positive Book For Parents Of Children With Diabetes
I wanted to read this book simply based on the title “successful women with diabetes” because I have a 14-year-old daughter with type 1 diabetes. I wanted to read about brave women who have triumphed over their “d-fate” and who did not die young, give up on their dreams, and are thriving as adult woman today.
As I had hoped, My Sweet Life does deliver a powerful and positive message, but is not entirely sugar coated. The inspiring women in this book have collectively dealt with death, kidney disease, and other serious aspects of diabetes – all things I’d rather not think about because they are all scary. After reading this book, however, I have changed my mind: it is in not thinking about these things daily that we become less powerful. These women chose to face the scary stuff head on, take control, and have done much better having had their reality checks. Instead of allowing their circumstances to dictate their lives (living in denial), they adapted so that diabetes could not define them or their dreams.
The Reality Of Diabetes
Lorraine Brooks, one of the women (with type 2 diabetes) who shares her story, sums up diagnosis diabetes pretty succinctly: “The real anger set in when I realized that I needed to pay attention to things and situations that, at one time, I could do without any thought at all.”
There are many deadly and debilitating diseases that I do not wish to diminish the seriousness of in any way, but diabetes is unique in that the treatment you administer to yourself daily (actually, multiple times each day) is dynamic. There is a tremendous self-care burden on the patient to make perfect choices with each administration of insulin. Give too little insulin and blood sugars go too high and you run the risk of complications including seizures, coma, kidney failure, blindness, and neuropathy that can lead to organ failure and amputation. Give yourself too much insulin and your blood sugars go too low resulting in coma, brain damage, or death. Many people with diabetes even need to test their blood sugars throughout the night, denying them the benefit of a good night’s rest and at least some refuge from the psychological drain of dealing 24/7 with diabetes. Understanding the medical intensity of diabetes, will help you better appreciate the heroines in the book.
Not Just Another Diabetes Book
This book should not be mistaken for being “just another diabetes book” because the women who tell their stories have diabetes. Diabetes may serve as a common thread among the women, but their stories are not about diabetes but about taking the front seat controls back after life has kicked you into the backseat. The book is about ordinary women who became extraordinary women when called to rise to the occasion of any hardship, and, their stories will inspire you to do the same.
Whether you have been living with diabetes for your entire life, or were just newly diagnosed, I highly recommend reading this book (or giving it to someone with diabetes.) As Dr. Adler points out in her opening chapter, sometimes when the message comes from someone who walks the walk and does not just talk to talk, it is better received. This book is filled with courageous women who are walking the walk just fine, despite many having been told at diagnosis they would probably lose their feet.