A Sweet Review

Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 11.19.37 AMAvailable in bookstores and on Amazon

Hmmm…let me see, it must be at least a few posts since I last reminded you about this fantastic book I wrote that was released this summer, “50 Diabetes Myths That Can Ruin Your Life and The 50 Diabetes Truths That Can Save It.” Nice thing is people keep discovering it.

I wouldn’t bring it up again (well, maybe) except this morning Catherine Price not only reviews the book but also includes in her review my answers to some really great questions she asked me like: “What 3 things would you tell people about diabetes?” “What kind of policy changes do we have to make to help stop the spread of diabetes?” and “How do I personally stay positive managing my diabetes?” among other questions.

You may remember Catherine – who among her many writer hats blogs on A Sweet Life, a great savvy and diverse site that brings you news, expert advice, tips, recipes and blogs – wrote a great piece in the NY Times recently

If you don’t know “50 Diabetes Myths That Can Ruin Your Life” also has its very own web site. Now there’s just no reason to let myths ruin your life. 

The Diabetes Resource web site

What’s a blogger to do when she’s going to be away for a few weeks and can’t post except from home? Well, one thing is I’m working on solving that problem, but not in time for the next three weeks I’ll be away. So, I will leave you with this post and the next that give you something to do. Of course, you have to promise to come back the end of the month.

Take some time to check out my fellow blogger, Gina Capone’s, fabulous new web site, The Diabetes Resource. This one-stop, convenient and easy to navigate site covers everything related to diabetes; from camps to monitors…professionals to articles and chats, and it is updated daily. Remarkably, this is the only site that puts the whole spectrum of diabetes resources in one place. 

Check out:

1. A directory of everything under the sun related to diabetes, i.e. magazines, pregnancy, celiac disease, dieting, diabetes drug companies, home delivery services and on and on and on and on…………..

2. Events happening in your neighborhood and around the country

3. A chat room every Wednesday night

4. Great articles 

5. Advertising

“I developed The Diabetes Resource to take the hassle out of searching the web and navigating site after site to get the critical information you need when you need it,” said Gina, herself a type 1 since the age of 25. “I tried to think of everything I could that related to diabetes and then brought those resources together at one location, one web site.”

“The Diabetes Resource is the first web site dedicated solely to consolidating and bringing organization to all of this information and I welcome that,” said Kitty Castellini, Founder and President of Diabetes Living Today™, a popular radio program dedicated to discussing issues pertaining to diabetes.  

So, take a look. It should keep you busy and allow me to feel less guilty.

Changing one life at a time, and then again a few more

Look for it in a bookstore near you, or on Amazon. Also in kindle.


This past Monday, July 13, was the  release date for my new book. I was in San Francisco visiting a friend on my way to Medford, Oregon to give the motivational presentation I give to fellow patients. 

My friend and I went to her local Barnes & Noble to see if they had the book in stock. Sure ‘nough there it was sitting demurely on the shelf, just waiting. Let’s say it was a quiet thrill. After spending last year writing it, I feel quite proud of the result: Great information, a true education in the compelling format of myths/truths, and actionable steps from 21 leading diabetes experts. Everything you need to know. Also, fellow patients’ “lessons learned” and my own experiences from traveling to an ignorant patient to giving patient presentations. If you’ve read a little of this blog, you’ll recognize the empathic voice which is the tone of the book. But, of course, for the scintillating back story, just click here.

On the plane on my way to Medford I sat next to a woman who shared with me that her husband had diabetes but then lost nearly 50 pounds and doesn’t have the symptoms anymore. She too is looking to lose weight knowing her weight makes her a candidate for diabetes as well. She felt a little more inspired to manage her diet after talking when we deplaned in Portland. 

The hotel van driver who picked me up at the airport in Medford told me everyone in his family has diabetes. I would guess his age at about 22, but I didn’t have to guess that his chances of getting diabetes are huge, given he’s significantly overweight and it runs in his family. I think I opened his eyes.

After my diabetes presentation, I sat in the diabetes center’s office waiting for my ride back to the hotel. A young girl, about seven, and her parents walked in. I suspected she had type 1. I had to test my blood sugar as it often rises from the nervous stress of giving a presentation. While I don’t feel nervous, it’s almost always an automatic response. The little girl watched me intently check my blood sugar. Then I took out my syringe to give myself a small corrective dose. I caught her eyes again watching me and I said, “You do this too?” She smiled and nodded. I walked over to her and her mother and said, “You just take care of it and you’ll be one of us, a real superhero.” Then I showed her my bracelet and asked if she could read the words on it. She read aloud, “Diabetes Pride.” I said, “those are good words to remember.”

When I was younger I wanted to help people believe in themselves. I knew my talents were writing, illustrating and speaking and that somehow I would use those. I just never knew it would be about diabetes.


50 Diabetes Myths soon at a store near you

Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 11.19.37 AMInvaluable information coming this summer

O.K., I can’t tell you how exciting this is…well, actually I can and I will! I just finished the manuscript for my forthcoming book– 50 Diabetes Myths That Can Ruin Your Life: And the 50 Diabetes Truths That Can Save It. It will be out late June and in bookstores this summer. 

Yes, hunkered over this computer, I just wrote the last word, just looked at all 272 pages for the last time and just said to a friend, “Yes, I can meet you for dinner tomorrow.” No one’s heard that from me for quite a while.

21 top diabetes experts across the spectrum of diabetes care — food, medicine, fitness, psychology, technology, research and more — consulted with me so that you’ll have all the latest info, stories of fellow patients’ experiences, great, easy tips and, yes, even learn what I was startled to discover while writing this book. You’ll also get to know a lot of juicy stuff about me, but probably more important, (yes, only kidding) you’ll be amazed at the things you think are true, that aren’t–and that makes all the difference between just getting by and improving the quality of every day and very likely lengthening your life. Even a doctor friend who also gives presentations to fellow diabetics said while reviewing my draft that he couldn’t believe how much he didn’t know. 

So mark your calendar to get your copy of the only book that clears up the confusion, exclusively, about diabetes myths. Am I shamelessly selling you my book? You bet! But then I wouldn’t have spent a year of my life writing it if I didn’t believe it will make a huge difference to your life. 

If you think any of these are true, you owe it to yourself to read this book: 

Type 2 diabetes isn’t as serious as type 1 

There’s no real relief for the tingling/burning in my feet 

I can’t eat my favorite foods

Diabetes has nothing to do with my teeth 

If I have to use insulin I’ve failed 

Plus 45 more intriguing “myths” and “truths” all coming your way in July. Hmmm…guess it was a good thing I used to be in advertising. 

Secrets to a longer, healthier life

Intrigued already aren’t you? This is just one of the 15 self-assessment quizzes and tools for better managing your health and diabetes on the MayoClinic’s web site. The Secrets quiz asks just 10 questions and while I can tell you the answer doesn’t involve an anti-aging pill, it does involve some basic lifestyle changes– but the quiz will help you personalize what those changes are for you.

I’ve often used the MayoClinic web site as a valued resource for information but wasn’t aware what a plethora of diabetes tools and information it offers. It was actually meeting Julie in Queenstown, New Zealand, while on my recent travels, that I learned more about the MayoClinic’s dedicated diabetes work. Julie, who has type 2 diabetes, participates monthly in a research focus group with the clinic so that they get a fuller perspective on patient issues. 

While diabetes blogs and social networks are mushrooming like a fungus, it never hurts to go back to basics and review treatments, management strategies, coping, and ask questions of specialists from a well-trusted resource such as this.

Knowledge is powerful medicine

Expected release, July 2009


It just amazes me. This very afternoon, not three hours and 46 minutes ago I turned in my manuscript for the book I’ve been writing this year–and it’s already posted on Amazon! Did you miss that? Already posted on Amazon–with a publication date of July, 2009. What can I say. Sometimes the world goes just a bit too fast for me.

I finished my book this afternoon writing a Postscript at the very end that I could only write after reading through the 300 pages I’ve scribed with a clear, objective and fresh editor’s eye. I’ll share part of it with you here:

“As I look back over writing this book: talking with top diabetes experts, conducting my research and having so many fellow patients share with me their personal story, I have learned two things. The first is that having correct information and practical knowledge is a prerequisite for living a healthy life with diabetes. The second is that you have to believe it’s worth the effort to take good care of yourself, and your diabetes, to have that life: one that’s not only healthy, but happy, productive, fluid and fulfilling. 

While it takes a bit of work, when you become the “expert” on your life, and your diabetes, you win the prize—the ability to live a more simple and ordinary life, just like anyone else.”

That is the prize, I have realized, to live a simple life and enjoy all its pleasures without always feeling like you’re carrying a monkey on your back. 

So, look for 50 Diabetes Myths That Can Ruin Your Life: And the 50 Diabetes Truths That Can Save It next summer. I do believe it will be a break away hit, maybe not a summer beach read, but surely one of the best books out there to separate fact from fiction and appeal to your curiosity. And besides, it’s chock full of stories from fellow patients, including me. 

The ABCs Of Loving Yourself With Diabetes Does Its Work

‘A’ is for Appreciating All the Special Things You Are and Have


 Last Saturday at the American Diabetes Association’s Expo in the Jacob Javitz Center here in New York City I stood beside Kevin, the CEO of Eat Right America, at their booth. Kevin had been given a copy of my book, The ABCs Of Loving Yourself With Diabetes, by someone who may do some publicity for the book next year as there are some tie-ins with Eat Right America. 

Eat Right America offers a nutrient-dense diet created by Dr. Joel Fuhrman and if Oprah ever gets a hold of him, he may be her next Dr. Oz.  The diet has great impact for living with diabetes: it emphasizes making most of your diet vegetables, beans and legumes with some fruits, whole grains, and lesser amounts of lean meats, low-fat dairy and healthy fats. As a result, people lose weight, blood sugars go down and related conditions improve or disappear. My book brings to the party the ability to grab a healthy handle on your emotions to weather the daily trials of diabetes; it helps you rev up your emotional strength, stamina and resilience which leads to better management and a happier, more productive life. The first thing Kevin told me upon meeting me was that he’d  given away his copy of my book to a neighbor whose daughter just got type 1 diabetes at age 10. He told me how grateful the woman was and how good it made him feel watching her thumb through the book. She was like a camel who’d been dying of thirst and led to water he said.

Later at the Expo I ran into Ralph, a sales rep from Sanofi-Aventis, manufacturer of Lantus and Apidra insulins, who has attended several of my Sanofi-sponsored A1c Champion presentations in Brooklyn. Since I still had a few of my books in hand I gave him one with the directive, “Ralph, see what you can do to get Sanofi to buy my books and distribute them to patients. It wouldn’t hurt either to get medical staff to read them.” I chuckled and Ralph said he would do his best.

Ralph called me this morning and said he gave my book away at the Expo. Two give-aways in one day! A woman came up to him and began looking at the book and was so taken with it he felt compelled to give it to her. Funny, as he was apologizing I thought, how great. Now someone who can use my book actually has it in her hands, and he got to witness a demonstration of the book’s ability to touch and move people. As a writer you so rarely get to know whether anything you do really impacts people, to learn that it does is its own reward.

What actually prompts this story is it follows a phone call I received just the other day from Nico, a sales rep from Edgepark, a medical supplies company–they supply meters, test strips, syringes and lancets. I’d met Nico at the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) conference in August and asked whether Edgepark covered lancet discs for the Pelikan Sun lancing device. Along with updating me whether Edgepark covers the discs (not yet as my health insurer, Empire, is reviewing the device) he asked if I was acting as a diabetes resource in the community as he often encounters medical professionals who might have need of me, particularly to talk to patients about the emotional aspect of managing diabetes, and, what made him think to ask was shortly after meeting me a woman came up to him at the AADE conference with my book in her hands.  

So no matter how this book gets around, the mere fact that it does, is a gift–not just to those whose hands it falls into (or so I hope)–but to me. Like the camel I’m still drinking it in.

See doing the work as the road to what you truly want

Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 2.51.35 PM

A work out for your head

In a book I’ve just read, The Diabetes Lifestyle Book, by three PH.D.s Jennifer Gregg, Glenn Calaghan and Steven Hayes, they examine from a psychological perspective, how we can commit to achieving better health. They employ something called, “acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)” to move patients through the obstacles that get in their way and talk about how you can overcome your own barriers. If you’ve a mind to do some mind-work, this is a good read.

Here’s an example of mind-shifting from their book– it’s a pretty simple, a gentleman had trouble committing to exercising. He, like many people the authors say was using “weather” as an excuse not to exercise. Ted is fifty-five with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular complications whose doctors are asking him to exercise. Ted made it clear to the psychologists that he would only walk for exercise and that he wouldn’t walk in the rain under any circumstances.

The authors asked Ted how firm that decision was for him on a scale of 0 to 100. Ted said 100. Wow, that’s pretty firm! Then they asked Ted why he was coming to their clinic. He said he’d been sent by his doctor so he could better manage his diabetes. Then they asked Ted why would you want to better manage your diabetes? Ted said somewhat confused, “to improve my health.” The authors then asked Ted whether he thought he could do things to improve his health even if they were difficult, and Ted said “of course.” The authors then asked Ted “So why would you be able to do difficult things?” and Ted said, “because I want to live a long life to to see my grandchildren, whom I have a special bond with, grow up.

Hmmmm….O.K. Now the authors asked, “What if in order to see your grandchildren grow up you have to walk in the rain?” Ted thought a minute and then said, “I think I need to get an umbrella!” Eureka! The authors then asked Ted again how firm his belief was on a scale of 0 to 100 that he would not walk in the rain. Ted did not even pause before saying “about a 10.” So what happened? The psychologists linked what Ted REALLY wants — seeing his grandchildren grow up — with how he could get it.  That’s what was meaningful to Ted, as opposed to the abstract notion of just being healthier if he exercises.  The book is filled with exercises, examples, linkages and stories like these to help you see where you can make stronger links for yourself, more tightly connected with your desires and values, to better manage your diabetes.

When I give my motivational presentations I always ask people, “Are you spending more time focused on the everyday tasks of diabetes or what the tasks are giving you – better health, a longer life, more energy, more time with the grandkids, etc? It’s important that we see the benefit of all the work we’re doing. Look to the life you truly want to be living and see your diabetes work as the road. It can be smooth or bumpy, depending upon how you regard it.

While you do the work shift your mind from looking down–it’s hard, takes time, hurts, not fair, why me? to up–it gives me more energy to travel, I can wear that great dress at my son’s wedding, and boy, I’m pretty amazing handling all this! You can only start where you are, so start there and don’t resent or beat yourself up that that’s where you are. Enough said, and keep Ted in your thoughts. Right now I imagine he’s racing down the street in the drizzle with a smile on his face because his grandkids are waiting at the end.

My book featured on DiabetesMine

UnknownDiabetes can be a blessing in disguise – it’s how you see it

If you haven’t noticed, although I imagine that would be hard given I think I’ve plastered the news all over my site, I’ve published a book – The ABCs Of Loving Yourself With Diabetes

Today my book is featured in an article titled “A Shot of Joy” on DiabetesMine, an award-winning diabetes blog written by very smart, very informed Amy Tenderich, who’s also a type 1 and self-admitted cynic. Here’s a tiny snippet:

After just a few pages, I knew I would read this book cover to cover and cherish it for many evenings to come.  What a wonderful little ode to self-acceptance and motivation.  Like a skilled quilter, Riva has somehow managed to patch together poetry, self-help, and diabetes advice into an irresistible pattern.

My recommendation?  Take a little quiet time, on an off-day. Curl up on yourcouch, with some of your favorite soothing music, and read this book from A to Z.  It won’t take you much more than an hour, and if you’re not 100% the cynic, you’ll find yourself (not cured by any means, but) refreshed and smiling.”

When cynics can be won over, it makes me all the prouder. Thank you Amy.  

Note – The ABCs Of Loving Yourself With Diabetes is intended for all ages: seniors, boomers, teens, tweens and in-between. Available at Amazon.

One more note – The book is priced at $19.95 because a significant portion of the purchase price is being donated to diabetes research.

Nov. 14 – Diabetes day. Wouldn’t it be nice not to have one?


As you may know, November is Diabetes Month, and today is Diabetes Day. In New York City the day kicks off in front of the United Nations and the Empire State Building will be lit in blue, our now officially established diabetes color. As much as I love that we now have our own month and day, I’m thinking wouldn’t it be nicer if we didn’t need one?

I said this yesterday to Scott King, publisher of DiabetesHealth magazine, which I’ll have my first article in in December’s issue. I bumped into Scott, totally unexpectedly, at Novo Nordisk’s block-long exhibit in Union Square yesterday. Divabetics also had a tent there with stylists and fun-fetching ways to access diabetes information.

Scott’s good fortune bumping into his columnist (me) by surprise, led to an impromptu interview, which I expect will surface on DiabetesHealth’s web TVsometime soon. We chatted about the state of diabetes, my new opinionated column, my new upcoming book, The ABCs Of Loving Yourself With Diabetes(soon to appear here), and some things off the record.

Here’s one bold concept we chatted about. Why aren’t we incentivizing staying well? Really and truly. What if we put our energy into keeping people well, rather than letting them get sick. In ancient China village doctors were compensated not to cure the sick but to keep people well. Imagine doctors here getting paid for keeping people well and your health insurance going down if youkept yourself well. In China when people were sick doctors’ pay was cut and if patients fell ill the doctor had to treat them for free.

No wonder you see flocks of Chinese people, like graceful birds, contorting in odd configurations in the park. They’re doing Tai Chi or Chi gong — practices that keep the body’s vital breath and energy robust and circulating.

Can you imagine health care practitioners getting paid to keep people healthy? The first thing I envision is a lot more lively people running around, and smiling. The majority of seniors would be slimmer and wouldn’t automatically get the illnesses we associate with aging; their bodies would never have deteriorated to that point. Hmmm…focusing on wellness rather than unwellness. Now wouldn’t that just screw with our health insurance companies something awful!

Since doctors get paid to treat sick people there’s little incentive in keeping people well. We’ve all read about how physicians make more money doing surgeries and so surgeries get scheduled like a Macy’s one day sale – pack ‘em in. How did it happen that our focus became treating the sick rather than keeping people well, anyway?

If you saw Michael Moore’s film Sicko, he’ll tell you one of the first health insurance companies realized they could make big bucks by letting people get ill and then treating them. And President Nixon thought that was kind of a cool idea too.

I’m not saying pharmaceutical companies aren’t necessary or that there aren’t new medications that are saving and prolonging lives. I do think you can earn a profit and do good work at the same time. And I’m certainly not saying that we shouldn’t treat the sick. After all, type 1 diabetes is not preventable. Or is it?

If we began from the premise of keeping people well by exercising, eating properly, keeping our environment clean, minimizing stress to our body and psyche through cultivating different societal values, maybe we wouldn’t even get diabetes. Maybe we wouldn’t get the viruses or traumas that scientists now think cause type 1, and maybe the genetic predisposition most people who get type 2 carry, well maybe those genes would lay dormant and not switch on. And, of course healthier eating and exercise could almost wipe out type 2 diabetes. Maybe some of that pharma money apportioned for research and development could be dispersed to creating the infrastructure that would help us prevent disease.

It would just be nice if we started from the premise that we should keep ourselves healthy rather than take drugs and have operations to deal with all the unhealthful food on our grocery shelves rife with life-decimating, farm-bill approved trans fats and high fructose corn syrup, 60-80 hour work weeks with no time to move our body or refresh our minds, and the expectation that we will get ill as we age.

But, alas, until that day, I’ll have to settle for Diabetes Day. So if you’re in New York, go out, get informed and be counted. If you’re in Tokyo, go stroll past Tokyo tower, my friend there told me it’s lit in blue too. See what’s doing in your community this month. It’s the best way we have right now to make diabetes visible, learn even more and help others on their diabetes journey.