Was it a conscious decision not to feature a chapter on your cats?
When I told my daughter I was writing a book, she was convinced it was going to be about our cats. I told her that was not the case, but when she saw the cover art, she said, “Oh, so it’s not about the cats but it’s about birds, instead!”
How did writing a book differ from writing your regular blog posts? Was it liberating to be given that much room to stretch?
Writing Six Until Me has been an almost-ten-year-long exercise in sharing my diabetes experiences real-time, and with the hopes of feedback from the community. The book was different because I wanted to be sure to incorporate other perspectives, to give a balanced view of what life with diabetes is like not just for me, but for many of my peers. I’m not the Lorax and I don’t “speak for people with diabetes,” so making sure the book included many voices was important to me.
You’ve been a professional writer for some time. Was a book always in your future plans? Was the process something you’re looking forward to exploring again?
I always wanted to write a book. It was a dream I’ve had since I was a little girl. But I never anticipated that diabetes would be the focus of my first book. I definitely have the urge to write another diabetes-related book, but I also plan to explore life as a writer, outside of the confines of my busted pancreas. I’ve been working on a series of children’s books for some time, and I hope they see the light of day before my own daughter is grown. (Yes, one includes a cat.)
Several people who have read and reviewed the book have mentioned the powerful impact of your final chapter of the book, wherein you discuss fear tactics as being de-motivators, the threat of complications, and moving forward into the unknown. Was that the most difficult chapter to write… or the easiest?
I think the most difficult part of that chapter was realizing it was true. I wish I was the kind of person who could give a very rose-colored-glasses version of life with diabetes, but I don’t view my disease through that lens at all. I don’t like diabetes, and I refuse to give it credit for any of the successes I have in my life. I am motivated not by the fear of complications or a potentially difficult life, but through the hope that hard work, good genes, and a healthy dose of forgiveness for shortcomings both emotional and physical will help me live a life worth living.
Do you hope to reach a new audience with print material? Do you think that will ultimately bring them to the diabetes online community?
I hope people who read my online writing will take the paperback plunge, and I also hope that people who are a little intimidated or turned off by the Internet will maybe seek out the diabetes online community as a result of reading Balancing Diabetes. For so many years, I felt alone with diabetes and finding others who understood what life with diabetes is like has added an essential element of support and community to my own life. My health – all aspects of it – is better as a result of the diabetes community and I’m forever grateful.
And, of course, who are you wearing?
Well, right now I’m wearing Dexcom G4, Animas Ping, sneakers that have clocked way too many miles and need to be replaced, and the ever-present but sometimes invisible cloak of badassery that’s issued to people with diabetes and caregivers alike with every diabetes diagnosis. Boom.
Balancing Diabetes is available on Amazon.