This is a review of a LibraryThing Early Reviewers copy of The Diabetes Manifesto: Take Charge of Your Life (2011) by Lynn Crowe and Julie Stachowiak, a book that can be summarized in three words: learn, change, and live. This is a book that balances hope with realism, possibilities with actualities.Author Lynn Crowe tells the truth about diabetes from the perspective of a diabetic, having lived with Type I Diabetes since the age of twelve. Her well-researched book is good both for cover-to-cover reading and for a look-up resource because of its structure, logic, wisdom, practicality, bibliography, and cross-referenced index. One of the more difficult things for me to cope with as a diabetic has less to do with the disease than with the medical jargon: C-peptide, islet cell antibodies (ICA), glutamic acid decarboxylase 65 antibodies (GADA), hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), hypoglycemia, diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic syndrome (HHNS), diabetic retinopathy, gastroparesis, and more. One of the strengths of The Diabetes Manifesto is that explanations of technical jargon are written in layman's words. For example, in her discussion of hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic syndrome, we learn that HHNS is dangerous, rare, and treatable. Straightforward accounts are given to conditions like these so that the reader knows what symptoms to expect, what they feel like, and what to do about them.Writing as a diabetic to diabetics, the author said that one of the best ways to get a handle on the information pertinent to our situation is to compile our own "Diabetes Encyclopedia." I took this to heart and have made room in my personal journal for a growing glossary of health-related terms.Scattered throughout the book are shaded boxes that summarize in a concise way, usually in one or two sentences, what the author is saying in the surrounding context. The headings in these boxes repeat with chapter-by-chapter changes in substance. Here are some examples of her pithy exhortations. Take Charge: "Spend at least as much time checking out your doctor as you would a babysitter." The Real World: "Okay, diabetes sucks. It truly does. Let's just get that out there." Do Your Best: "Don't be stupid." Know Your Stuff: "You must understand your illness, your symptoms, and your medications if you are going to be in control of your life. There is no other choice." Make It Better: "Don't forget to celebrate your successes. If you improve a symptom or get a good night's sleep for a change, feel proud and reward yourself." Get Help: "No one can help if you don't ask. Be considerate, specific, and respectful when you ask for help and people will gladly pitch in." Don't Panic: "Diabetes is scary. Make it less scary by turning unknowns into knowns and uncontrollables into controllables whenever you can." All of the chapter headings are action statements: proceed with confidence, be a diabetes expert, tackle complications, make your doctor work for you, help treatment help you, create health in new places, reform relationships on your terms, cooperate with your emotions, get "in the Mix," make things better.Each chapter concludes with a brief summary section under the heading, "The Bottom Line." Like the chapter headings, these summaries are action oriented. The book itself concludes with "The Bottom Bottom Line," telling the diabetic reader, in an autobiographical way, the benefits of knowing your stuff, taking charge, getting help, making it better, and not panicking.My Bottom Line: Recommended for diabetics who want to take charge of their lives.
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