Some well-known names from the Diabetes Community are featured in the book, like D-bloggers George “The Ninjabetic” Simmons and Scott Johnson; athletes like Charlie Kimball and Tony Cervati; medical pros like CDE Gary Scheiner; and dLife TV personalities like Benno Schmidt and Jim Turner. Each has contributed an autobiographical essay on how they’ve managed to succeeded in life, either because of or in spite of their diabetes. They vary in age and type of diabetes, and they all share their personal stories about their D-diagnosis and how diabetes has shaped their lives.
One of my favorites is from Marc Blatstein, who is a karate-tournament winner that’s been living with type 1 for more than a half century and just became a certified health coach earlier this year. I loved his stories about his mom going out to buy a “diabetic pound cake” for him right after his diagnosis in 1960, and then a box of “diabetic chocolates” — both of which turned him off of those food choices permanently… Hah!
History fascinates me, and so I loved reading about R. Keith Campbell, who’s been living with type 1 for more than 60 years and was a founding member of the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE). His chapter examines his thoughts on some of the biggest advances in diabetes care through the decades, and particularly interesting to me was how Keith actually had to check into the hospital to start using a “continuous infusion insulin pump” on Feb. 1, 1979 — the very day that I was born! How cool is that little historical coincidence?!
With my background as a legal reporter, I found it fascinating to read the stories of some fellow PWDs who are attorneys and have done legal work that includes winning cases in some of the highest courts in the U.S.! Some of it’s been connected to diabetes, like PWD John W. Griffin in Texas who got a federal judge to overturn a blanket ban on UPS drivers with diabetes, and also waged a seven-year legal battle to allow PWDs to serve as police officers. Even Jay Hewitt, most known as a type 1 record-setting Ironman athlete, is also a practicing attorney in South Carolina. He does that alongside running his Finish Line Vision business as a motivational speaker.
And a story that hit home particularly was Scott Johnson’s, about his experience of going low and the paramedics being called in a scary situation for him and his wife… a “low point” that started him on the path of writing about diabetes and connecting with fellow PWDs!
The foreword by TCOYD founder and fellow PWD Dr. Steven Edelman pretty much sums it up: “This book will inspire you, and your loved ones, to embrace diabetes. The book’s message, by way of example, is not to let diabetes slow you down, but rather make it a positive force in your life.” He mentions that after his own diagnosis at age 15 in 1970, he wishes he would’ve had role models like the men in this book.
I couldn’t agree more.
As far as the unique cover art, Beverly says she carried over the theme from the women’s book, which has “curvy” trees on the cover that embody women’s curves, while the path is a metaphor for the journey that we travel as PWDs. For the men’s book, she used a different artist to draw the cover, with a similar theme, except that the color scheme and the trees are more “masculine.” The river is also a metaphor for the journey we take, with many twists and turns in life.
Beverly says some of the men included were recommended by contacts, and she found many others via the Internet. She says 25 stories was an arbitrary number to include; she had approached many more men about being included, but they declined for various personal reasons. Her goal was to include a diversity of men — geographically, and by age, careers, and diabetes experiences. To be included, she says all the men had to believe that “diabetes is a blessing in disguise” and share that philosophy in their chapter.
Mission accomplished, I’d say. All of the chapters had an empowerment message and were inspiring, without being repetitive. I enjoyed reading all of them and this one’s definitely a keeper for my own diabetes book shelf.
You can check out this men’s book for yourself by snagging a copy on Amazon.com for $24.95 (the going price in 2012, at least)
This content is created for Diabetes Mine, a leading consumer health blog focused on the diabetes community that joined ishonest Media in 2015. The Diabetes Mine team is made up of informed patient advocates who are also trained journalists. We focus on providing content that informs and inspires people affected by diabetes.