Good thing poetry is timeless. I'm a little late getting this out, but wanted to shine the spotlight on a new(ish) diabetes book that was created not by a doctor or medical professional or even a patient sharing his/her personal journey, but by the aggregate of our own awesome D-community: "No Sugar Added Poetry."
The book is a compelling and sometimes heart-wrenching collection of 39 poems written by people touched by diabetes from around the world, published this summer by Manny Hernandez and the Diabetes Hands Foundation, with sponsorship from the folks at Roche Diabetes.
It has contributions from many fellow D-bloggers, including Amylia Grace, Heidi Shell and Miriam Tucker, and with an introduction by Lee Ann Thill, who writes passionately about mental health and diabetes. There's also a forward by Dr. Bill Polonsky, who founded the Behavioral Diabetes Institute a few years ago and could be considered the father of diabetes psychology.
I think Lee Ann sums up the importance of this book in her intro, saying, "Technical writing has its place in helping people understand the mechanics of managing diabetes, but we must turn to an alternative form of expression to understand the experience of living with diabetes." (emphasis mine) This book chronicles, in poems, the emotional struggle of diabetes 24/7. It's divided into four sections: Initial Diagnosis; Pain, Anger & Denial; Healing, Learning & Fighting; and finally, Acceptance.
Did you know... the inspiration for this project actually comes from a surprising source? It was a pediatric endocrinologist living in Cairo, Egypt, named Sohair Abdel-Rahman who one day decided to create a Poetry group on the TuDiabetes online community site, inspired by her own passion for poetry. Sohair has published three volumes of poetry in Saudi Arabia, and during World Diabetes Day in 2008, she sold copies of one edition in hospitals dedicated to patients with diabetes, and used the money to buy glucose meters for low-income patients.
Her work as an endocrinologist also helped cultivate the idea: "My young patients are inspired to write, paint and draw to express their feelings about diabetes."
Sohair suggested to the other TuDiabetes group members that they create a book, and the Diabetes Hands Foundation (DHF) took it from there! Over 100 poems were submitted during a poetry contest, with 39 chosen for final publication. The proceeds from the book now benefit the non-profit DHF. No Sugar Added truly is the result of many dedicated and passionate hands working together.
As I pontificated in the "praise" section on the back cover of No Sugar Added Poetry, "this book is chicken soup for your diabetes soul."
For $15 + shipping, you can order your own copy by visiting the No Sugar Added web page.