The Book of Better: Life with Diabetes Can’t Be Perfect. Make It Better.

I have diabetes. I’ve lived with it for years and years. I’ve done everything to learn as much as I can about it. I’ve made more idiot mistakes—accidentally and on purpose—with diabetes than you think would be safe. I’ve managed to stay very healthy. And by some standards, my life is pretty “normal.”

Throughout my extended career as a person with diabetes, the most important fact I have learned is that ANY BIT BETTER (…3%…5%…28%…91%…) IS STILL BETTER. It might be the most important thing you can know about your diabetes. Maybe we can’t make it go away.

Maybe we can’t make it perfect. Maybe we’re still mad that we got stuck with it. But we absolutely CAN make it BETTER. It’s not always easy, but it’s not complicated either. Diabetes gets Better if you make it Better.

 

3 thoughts on “The Book of Better: Life with Diabetes Can’t Be Perfect. Make It Better.

  1. Informative and uplifting, especially for folks new to diabetes As soon as I flipped through the pages in this book, I knew I’d enjoy it. Chuck Eichten’s design sense glows from the pages. My only minor complaint is that some pages are yellow with white text, or white with yellow text. The contrast is a little low for me to read it easily without good lighting.If you’ve not already guessed from the title, the idea behind the book is that you can NEVER be in perfect control of your diabetes. So why not take every opportunity to make living with diabetes a bit better.I laughed through chapter 6, People with Diabetes and the People Who Love Them. If you’ve already experienced relatives who are diabetes police, you know exactly why.”You can eat that?””Yup. I have to be careful about when and how much I eat.””My favorite time of year is the time between family get-togethers.”Been there way too many times.Chapter 8 is all about using insulin pumps. It’s very high level overview packed with reasons why you should seriously consider one. If you’re interested in the pump encyclopedia check out which gives you everything you need to know about pumping effectively.I read half this book at my first sitting and alternately chuckled and nodded my head in agreement.If you’re starting to learn about diabetes, The Book of Better will give you some extra information about doing this effectively. But I see it primarily as a book to get you out of a rut where you may not notice opportunities to make your life with diabetes easier, safer and more fun. If you want to learn specific techniques that can help you to live better with diabetes, I strongly recommend (2nd edition) as an easy and informative read.Highly recommended, even for folks (like me) who’ve had diabetes for decades!

  2. Outstanding. Insightful. Unique. Funny. A fantastic book, beautifully written in a voice that is touching, smart, funny as hell, informative, educational and extraordinarily wise in a self-depreciating way. This is a unique piece of work and should be considered a must read for those with or without diabetes (I know, I know: that’s a broad recommendation…).

  3. The Girl’s Guide to Diabetes.com Review of The Book of Better Chuck Eichten has had type 1 diabetes for over 30 years. He has written a book called, The Book of Better targeted at anyone with diabetes. The book’s all encompassing message to you: that perfect isn’t possible but improvement always is so why not strive for that?. Talk about hitting the nail on the head.The book is written in an extremely straight forward style, suitable to those who respond to that and perhaps, most any man. It’s a really witty book, includes fun visual art and a lot of aesthetic appeal (with exception of some white font on yellow background-well at least it’s large white font). This comes as no surprise since Chuck Eichten is Nike’s creative director. In fact, Nike’s timeless “Just Do It” slogan totally relates to this book, which admittedly delighted me to no end.I have to say, I felt like boxing with the author a couple times. He says insulin pumps are “the Best Available Treatment”. I agree on the condition that it is actually what works best for someone. And someone isn’t equivalent to everyone. I haven’t had an A1c over 6.0% in over 5 years and I’ve never had a seizure or passed out from a low and I don’t use a pump. I did for seven years and it did not work for me. In Eichten’s opinion, you’re crazy if you have access to a pump but don’t have one. He talks about how pumps allow a person the flexibility to sleep in late, to skip meals or snack in between them, and to be more sexy on dates because it’s probably more of a turn on to be on a first date and hit some buttons on a gadget that’s mysteriously connected to you by tubing than to inject a needle at the table. I use Lantus and Humalog insulin and between the two I can sleep in and skip meals and frankly, I feel sexier when I’m not connected to the pump. It’s just easier to move around and wear dresses and door knobs don’t yank me back by two feet of tubing. And also, Chuck, how do you test your blood sugar? Because the only way I can do it is by bleeding. And I don’t know anyone who finds bleeding sexy. But I know of someone, who find me sexy whether I’m connected to a pump or injecting a shot or pricking my finger. So for me, the human element is the key. Though, many might agree with you and that’s the beauty of it I suppose. It would just be nice to have the other option properly acknowledged because it can and does work for some people.I can’t help but wonder if this hailing of the pump is partly one person’s way of supporting technology to continue advancing for our benefit. If that’s the case, then great and thank you. But I worry about those who can’t get access to a pump, who hear that they are the best thing, and then lose all hope in their MDI. And we all know how important it is that people have hope, right? In all essence it’s like we’re in the same league, playing on different teams, but with the same end goal of winning in mind.Enough about pumps! The book, for me, is an awesome dose of perspective. At least once every chapter I exclaimed, “YES!” out loud, prompting my husband to ask me what the commotion was all about. The author does a fantastic job of confronting the root issues that people have with certain aspects of life with diabetes and then he explains them in a way that makes a person realize he is right and our excuses are absolutely useless.For example, I have long been in an internal battle over the “Yes I can eat that” campaign. I feel like “yes…I can…but, I want to be healthy so often, no I can’t…” You know what I mean? Well, the author reminds us that there are two conditions to the “yes I can eat that”. We’re empowered patients, after all. People with type 1 can eat anything but if they’re smart, they are going to be picky about when and how much they eat, not because they are strict and deny themselves pleasure, but because they know they deserve to take care of themselves. This is a really powerful message and there are many like this in the book regarding diet and exercise and one’s attitude. By the way, Chuck eats a totally unhealthy breakfast every day and impressively balances it out in real life way you will want to read about.This book does another fine thing by reasoning with our emotions and appealing to our genuine worries. For example he says, “You are not boring, you are consistent”. People think it’s fun and attractive to be spontaneous and diabetes tries to challenge us on that. And the author is reminding us that the fact of the matter is diabetes likes consistency and if we try to keep some things consistent, we’ll be better off.He also heavily promotes that all people with diabetes move each day. Instead of sounding like a doctor “you’ll be healthier, your risk for heart disease will be lower”, the author actually goes to the true places in all of us and mentions how, for example, if we move more, we’ll spark a chain of events that will ultimately…

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