Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Book of Better

Addition 11/21/11 - Kim over at the uber-fabulous blog Texting My Pancreas also reviewed The Book of Better. She gives some great thoughts about it. Go over and read her review here.

Wanna read something that will motivate you to make your 'diabetic life' BETTER?!
I found it, in The Book of Better: Life with Diabetes Can't Be Perfect, Make it Better by Chuck Eichten

The publisher of the book, Three Rivers Press, sent me a copy to read and preview. I read it in one sitting, the day after getting it. It's that good. And funny. And insightful. Oh and it's straightforward and honest. Chuck makes you laugh, makes you think, makes you think some more and then makes you question how you can do it all better.

Chuck has been diabetic since age 13. He grew up in the Midwest. Works for Nike, first as an apparel designer, then in Nike Brand Design, and now as the Design Director for the Department of Nike Archives (DNA). You can read his biography here. Fascinating career.

The whole premise of the book is that, as Chuck says, we can't be perfect, but we can always, always, always, be BETTER. Better at everything, including diabetes. We can always make better decisions about what to eat. We can always make better decisions about exercise and insulin intake. We can always do better with our A1Cs. We can always do better in accessing and using technology to take care of ourselves and our diabetes. Always. DO. BETTER.

And isn't that a wonderful way to look at all this care? That we can't be perfect and we should stop trying to be. But if we adopt the mantra of doing BETTER, well, that's DO-ABLE. In my mind, it's perfect sense. Stop the perfect Penny. Stop trying to achieve the perfect diabetic care. Do BETTER Penny. Work with what you have and what you can access and do it BETTER than you have done it before. It won't be perfect, but it sure will be BETTER. Physically, emotionally, mentally. Better.

A couple quotes stood out for me while reading:

'The highest gift a patient with diabetes can ever receive is a way to make diabetes itself the road, to find meaning in living with diabetes.' - Dr. Victor Montori, Div. of Endocrinology, Manyo Clinic (foreward)

In his chapter about 'Talk About Diabetes' Chuck has some profound thinking to share. In a most straightforward way...

 'Diabetes is a scary monster. Diabetes is just about everything you've heard.
Thoughtless, inconsiderate, selfish, sloppy. Shows up early, goes home late. Reckless and bullying. Prone to sneak attacks. And unlike many of our other personal scary monsters, diabetes isn't just made up in our head.
Scary monsters, real and imagined, are part of life. They don't go away when we run from them. They don't go away when we give in to them. They don't go away when we ignore them.
Truly, the most effective scary monster deterrent is understanding.
The second-most effective scary monster weapon comes FREE with understanding: COURAGE.'
                                                                                                     - pp. 36-37, The Book of Better

And something that really struck me, in his chapter about 'Future Better:'

So what do kids with diabetes need from the grown-ups?
Kids needs information - Learn everything and then share with your child what they need to KNOW - not what you hope, or wish or guess - but what they NEED TO KNOW about diabetes and moving and eating and insulin.

Kids need positivity - They don't need pity or sadness. Diabetes is not a cause for sadness. Sadness gets your kid with diabetes EXACTLY NOTHING. Kids will feel bad for you, the parent, because you are so sad. And it's not about you. And it's not about sad.

Kids need you to believe - Diabetes is CHALLENGING, not DEVASTATING. 

Kids need you to show them - If we want our kids to believe what we say, WE HAVE TO DO WHAT WE SAY.
                                                                                                  pp. 262-263, The Book of Better

And there are tons more. His chapters include: 
'The Bottom 10 Bad Things About Diabetes'
'The Top 3 Good Things About Diabetes. I An Not Kidding.'
'People with Diabetes and the People Who Love Them
'Insulin; A Wish Come True'
'The Best Available is Better'
'Ups and Downs of Highs and Lows'
and that's not even all of them!

I cannot recommend this book enough, whether you are a parent of a Type 1 child or a Type 1 adult. I found it refreshingly honest, cut-to-the-chase about diabetes book, that lifted me up and gave me a feeling that I can DO better with diabetes. That I indeed, cannot be perfect, but I can always DO better by Grace. 

And isn't that something, to hear that? It is for me.

Buy the book. DO BETTER.

Disclosure: Three Rivers Press sent me the book for free. They did not ask me to write a review. All opinions are truly and totally my own. But you really should buy this book. Get it on Amazon for $10.20. That, my friends, is a well spent $10.20 so that you too, can do and feel better. 


Heidi / D-Tales said...

My book just arrived yesterday. I'm eager to read it, especially now after reading your review. So happy to hear your take on it!

Chuck Eichten said...

Thank you for your comments about my book. I'm thrilled that you found it helpful. Grace is lucky to have such a passionate mom!
-chuck eichten