LifeAfterDx--Diabetes Uncensored

A internet journal from one of the first T1 Diabetics to use continuous glucose monitoring. Copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

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Location: New Mexico, United States

Hi! I’m William “Lee” Dubois (called either Wil or Lee, depending what part of the internet you’re on). I’m a diabetes columnist and the author of four books about diabetes that have collectively won 16 national and international book awards. (Hey, if you can’t brag about yourself on your own blog, where can you??) I have the great good fortune to pen the edgy Dear Abby-style advice column every Saturday at Diabetes Mine; write the Diabetes Simplified column for dLife; and am one of the ShareCare diabetes experts. My work also appears in Diabetic Living and Diabetes Self-Management magazines. In addition to writing, I’ve spent the last half-dozen years running the diabetes education program for a rural non-profit clinic in the mountains of New Mexico. Don’t worry, I’ll get some rest after the cure. LifeAfterDx is my personal home base, where I get to say what and how I feel about diabetes and… you know… life, free from the red pens of editors (all of whom I adore, of course!).

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Interrupting our regularly scheduled program to brag on Sweet Sixteen

My first (diabetes) book, The Born-Again Diabetic, is the most widely loved.

My second, Taming the Tiger, is the most widely admired.

My third, Beyond Fingersticks, is the most award-winning.

But I’m pretty sure that my latest (and last?) title, Diabetes Warrior: Be your own knight in shining armor, is my biggest flop. It’s my least-popular title, it doesn’t sell particularly well in paper or Kindle, and it gets mixed reviews… when it gets reviewed at all. And by mixed, I mean people pretty much either hate it 100% or love it 100%. And by people, I mean the two who reviewed it.   ;-)

It’s kind of the black sheep of the family. Why?

Now, I admit, I’ve never sat down and re-read any of my books cover-to-cover after I was done with them. Once I finish writing, revising, editing, re-writing, and proofing them, I’d had enough of them. So I don’t know which one I like best, but poor Warrior is a charming and funny book. My most funny. Maybe diabetes isn’t supposed to be funny. But why the fuck not?

Maybe no one understood what it was about. One reviewer trashed it by saying it didn’t say anything new. Guilty as charged. But it wasn’t supposed to say anything new. It was supposed to say what needs to be said, but in a funnier, more entertaining, and accessible format than anyone else had said it.

Warrior is the sequel to Tiger. For review, Tiger is a new diagnosis handbook. It was an intentionally small, intentionally simple, intentionally upbeat introduction to diabetes, aimed at the very sick and overwhelmed type 2 who just got diagnosed. It was a guidebook through the first year. A survival manual.

Of course, diabetes lasts more than a year. So I felt I kinda left people hanging.

In my desire to make the first year a mountain anyone could climb, I left out a lot of important stuff. So I decided a sequel was in order. I looked around to see where the biggest problems, issues, and concerns lay beyond the first year. And beyond the basic how-the-fuck do I keep my head above water questions, most type 2s seemed to have a difficult time getting their heads around what docs call “the Standards of Care.” These are all the things the experts say you should do to keep healthy with diabetes long-term.

Things like, take your blood sugar meds, take a ACE even in your blood pressure is OK, take a statin even if you don’t need to, take a baby aspirin… no wait, we changed our minds on that one… get your eyes dilated, lose weight, quit smoking, get a flu shot, and a whole lot more. It’s such a boring list that if I hadn’t had two cups of French Roast coffee this morning, even just writing that paragraph would have put me to sleep. Needless to say most books on the subject have a similar sleeping pill effect. I thought I could do better.

But how?

At some point it occurred to me that all these little things that make up the Standards of Care don’t really amount to much individually, but collectivity they offered tremendous protection. Just the way all the various components of a suit of armor don’t matter much onesie-twosie, but add up to some kick-butt protection when assembled.

So I wrote a little pocket book that translated all the Standard of Care items into components of a medieval suit of armor, threw in some diabetes dragons for fun, and had a lighthearted romp through the medical standards of care that I thought was pretty clever and fun. Example, if I may quote myself:

Let’s suppose for a moment that Sir Careless-a-lot was out without any armor on this fine spring day, wooing a fair maiden, and happened to bump into a dragon. The dust has now settled, and we are surveying the little bits and pieces of him that are strewn across the meadow. If we look at his assorted dismembered chunks, we’ll easily be able to identify the macrovascular structures. They are big enough to see with the naked eye. We might even be able to see some of the plaque buildup inside the vessels if we wanted to pick up a piece and study it. (That assumes we’re not all throwing up from the sight of this grisly scene.)

To see his microvascular vessels, on the other hand, we’ll have to wait a few hundred years until the invention of the microscope. The very smallest, called capillaries, are so small that individual red blood cells have to hunch their shoulders to get through them. Capillaries abound in several places in your body, but in particular they’re found in your kidneys, where they’re a key element of your body’s critical filtering system.

You know, I think the King forgot to mention this, too, but dragons just love, love, love kidney pie. Yep, your kidneys will be the first thing the dragon will eat if it can get through your armor.

Damage to your kidneys caused by high blood sugar is called nephropathy. It starts slowly and ends very badly at Castle Dialysis. I gotta tell you, Castle Dialysis is a grim, dark, dank, cold, moldy place. You really don’t want to live there.

OK. So maybe I have a dark sense of humor, but I think that’s both entertaining and educational. But, like I said. It’s the black sheep of the book family. Actually, I had pretty much given up on it.

That’s when I got the email. Close to home, where it’s hardest to get any respect, Warrior just slayed a host of other heath books to emerge victorious as one of three finalists in the New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards.

My tarnished little Knight finally got some much-longed for love.

And I just got my 16th Book Award. Sweet indeed.

Not that anyone other than my mother and I are counting…


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