“My Sweet Life” shares women’s success stories living with diabetes

Screen Shot 2015-02-07 at 3.38.54 PMAvailable now for pre-order

Calling all patients – whether you’re newly diagnosed or have been living with diabetes for decades – and health care providers. 


There’s a new book hot off the presses, “My Sweet Life: Successful Women with Diabetes.” Published by PESI HealthCare, “My Sweet Life” is available for pre-order now and will be widely available next month, diabetes month.


“My Sweet Life” brings together twenty plus stories from successful women who have found a balance in their personal, professional and diabetes-management lives. One of the themes in the book is how diabetes can be viewed as a blessing in disguise. 


Clinical psychologist and CDE, Beverly Adler, gave birth to the book. I happen to know because only two months ago I was writing my story to be included in this compilation. While there seem to be a number of books that feature inspiring stories of living with diabetes this one is strictly of women, and predominantly women with type 1 diabetes. While a type one woman will no doubt see herself in these stories, I imagine there are things a woman with type 2 will relate to as well. If you’re a man married to or dating a woman with diabetes, particularly type 1, it may give you greater insight what your woman deals with.


Living with a chronic illness we all – newly diagnosed and long-timers – need to dip into a well of inspiration and hear each others’ stories every so often to feel less alone and recharge our batteries. Patients will find it here. These are stories of women accomplishing their dreams and, every day, dealing with the realities of living with diabetes.


Health care professionals may better understand what it’s like to live with insulin-dependent diabetes and how diabetes not only doesn’t have to stop anyone from accomplishing their dreams, it can actually be the jet-fuel. With that in mind, you may see a different, more hopeful, future for your patients. 


This may encourage you to approach your patients with an expanded view of what’s possible for them and find your relationship with patients and their outcomes improve. Within these pages are what you can’t get in an office visit; the deeper insights of what your patients live with, the intense management and how they balance their diabetes and their life. 


I’m joined in this book by an illustrious group of women including many well-known diabetes bloggers . 


List of Contributors:
Brandy Barnes, MSW
Claire Blum, MS Ed, RN
Lorraine Brooks, MPH, CEAP
Sheri R. Colberg-Ochs, PhD
Carol Grafford, RD, CDE
Riva Greenberg
Connie Hanham-Cain, RN, CDE
Sally Joy
Zippora Karz
Kelli Kuehne
Kelly Kunik
Jacquie Lewis-Kemp
Joan McGinnis, RN, MSN, CDE
Jen Nash, DClinPsy,
Vanessa Nemeth, MS, MA
Alexis Pollak,
Birgitta Rice, MS, RPh, CHES
Kyrra Richards
Lisa Ritchie
Mari Ruddy, MA
Cherise Shockley
Kerri Morrone Sparling
Amy Tenderich, MA

Heartha Whitlow

“Breakthrough” at the NY historical society ends

Screen Shot 2015-02-07 at 5.04.27 PM

As I posted this title I thought about the many meanings of “breakthrough.” 

“Breakthrough” is the name of the book released last year that follows the discovery of insulin in 1922 by Dr. Charles Best in Toronto and one of its first recipients, Elizabeth Hughes, an 11 year old girl with type 1 diabetes.  

“Breakthrough: The Dramatic Story of the Discovery of Insulin” is also the name of the exhibit, based on the book, that just closed at the New York Historical Society

“Breakthrough,” of course as the book’s title, represents a medical breakthrough – the discovery of insulin. Now one could have diabetes and live. But now I find the word “breakthrough” bittersweet. As “breakthrough” is the dream that lives in the heart of all of us with diabetes still waiting for the big one almost 90 years later – a cure. 

I attended the exhibit a few weeks ago and particularly enjoyed seeing the antiquated pumps, meters and syringes patients had to live with only a few decades ago. I am eternally grateful that just about the time I got diabetes, 39 years ago next month, disposable syringes were already on the scene.

Here are a few snaps from the exhibit.

Apart from seeing what’s pictured here, however, the best way to soak up the story is to read the book

The discovery of insulin and how it effects one family

Screen Shot 2015-02-07 at 5.04.27 PMInteresting read

The first few patients to actually receive insulin back in 1922 make an interesting story in, Breakthrough: Elizabeth Hughes, the Discovery of Insulin and the Making of a Medical Miracle.

It all began at the University of Toronto with the discovery of insulin after two years of scientific research and experiments conducted on dogs.

The back story is really the story: the personal and professional struggles of the lead scientist, Dr. Frederick Banting, whose birthday has been taken as World Diabetes Day, November 14th. Banting did not have an easy slog through the myriad of academic regulations and competing researchers’ jealousies. 

Elizabeth Hughes, the daughter of an American diplomat, was one of Banting’s first patients after she managed to live for four years on a starvation diet – the treatment before insulin was discovered. Amazingly, perhaps she lived to be a ripe 77 years old.

While the authors, Thea Cooper and Arthur Ainsberg, guess at times at actual occurrences, the overall arc of the book conveys a true look at the drama of living with diabetes before insulin was discovered and shortly afterward.

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.