What you see is what you get.
That could very well be the tagline for a new diabetes book called Raising Teens With Diabetes: A Survival Guide for Parents, the latest volume by passionate D-Mom and advocate Moira McCarthy Stanford (who blogs over at Despite Diabetes). This book stems from her firsthand experience raising her now 21-year-old daughter Lauren, who was diagnosed at the age of six in 1997.
Right from the start, before you even crack open this new 256-page book, there's no question what's coming. That's in part because the eye-rolling teen girl on the front cover really is Moira's own daughter, giving a typical pose at the most "adventurous" time in her D-years. The book sheds light on the perspective of both the teen living with it, and the parents trying to, well, parent...
Diagnosed at a young age myself and having a decade of D-experience by the time I reached age 15, I feel qualified to say that the attitudes and sentiments described here are spot-on. Sure, times were different then -- glucose meters, pumps and CGMs weren't mainstream and we didn't have anything close to the management tools and technology that we do today. But the themes about emotions and the need to communicate haven't changed much.
This is Moira's third book, the first two also being "guides" aimed at parents: The Everything Parent's Guide to Children With Juvenile Diabetes from 2007 and The Everything Guide to Cooking for Children With Diabetes in 2010.
With this new release, I'd venture to say that Moira has hit her stride with the most valuable volume to any family that includes a teen with diabetes.
The book is a pretty comprehensive snapshot of any and every issue a teen with diabetes might encounter, and advice to parents on how they might handle each.
Naturally, a guide of this sort only applies to a very specific target audience and has little appeal for anyone outside the world of teens with diabetes.
There's the rub. The teen years pass fairly quickly (whew!), and I'm not convinced the book really has any practical relevance past this particularly difficult phase. Still, as someone who lived through this crazy time of life mostly in the 90s (and somehow survived), I found myself rarely thinking anything was off with what Moira has written. Quite the opposite. She knows her stuff, she's lived it.
My fave parts were the brief personal stories Moira shares at the outset of each chapter, about what she and her family went through on the particular topic of that chapter.
One anecdote that stands out is the description of Lauren's friends during those teen years, who handled a Low while walking on the beach incredibly well; her group of non-D peeps "treated her like a princess" in making sure she had a juice box and didn't walk back while Low. That chapter teaches the importance of having a network of supportive people around you, and Moira ties it back to the broader message of how diabetes doesn't have to dominate one's life, but it doesn't have to be kept secret either.
Overall, the parts that resonated the most with me were the personal accounts from former teens with diabetes who've now grown up, and are sharing their memories. I really enjoyed those parts of the book, which are very easy to find via quick page-flipping since they're scattered throughout each chapter in big, distinct boxes. Of course, Moira's daughter Lauren wrote several of these little boxed recaps on topics relevant to various chapters -- like her thoughts on the "best age" to be diagnosed as a kid, younger or older.
You can also find a smattering of other boxes in each chapter that contain little nuggets of wisdom, and little tips and tricks that might help parents cope in particular situations.
Something else I couldn't help liking about the book is the fact that Moira includes a list of print and online resources in the back, pointing people to blogs and other patient-led resources (!)
Want a guide on pretty much anything your kid may be facing as a teen with diabetes? Then this is the book for you! Yes, I'd go as far to say it could be considered a 'TWD bible,' a term I just made up for THE authoritative resource on Teens With Diabetes.
In short, for anyone struggling with the teen stage now or heading that way, this is a great read -- not to be missed.
Released June 18, Raising Teens With Diabetes: A Survival Guide for Parents is available on Amazon for $13.51 in paperback form and $7.69 on Kindle.
The DMBooks Giveaway
Interested in winning your own free copy of Raising Teens With Diabetes: A Survival Guide for Parents by Moira McCarthy? Entering the giveaway is as easy as leaving a comment:
1. Post your comment below and include the codeword "DMBooks" somewhere in the the text to let us know that you'd like to be entered in the giveaway.
2. You have until Friday, June 28, 2013, at 5 p.m. PST to enter. A valid email address is required to win.
3. The winner will be chosen using Random.org.
The contest is open to all. Good luck (or whatever, as your teen might say...)!
This contest is now closed. Congrats to Lisa, who Random.org chose as the winner!