As we all know, diabetes is a life condition that doesn't just impact us individuals -- rather it plays into all of our relationships with those we love.
Wouldn't it be great if our loved ones had a special guide, something to help them approach a variety of diabetes challenges and issues that inevitably come up in relationships? Well, look no further... because now one exists!
Just released on July 28, the new book, "What To Do When Your Partner Has Diabetes: A Survival Guide" was created by the dynamic duo of Nicole Johnson, a fellow type 1 who's famous for being crowned Miss America in 1999, and D-wife and advocate Lorraine Stiehl, who's actively involved in numerous diabetes organizations and whose husband Chris is a longtime T1. They timed their book release with the start of the big annual diabetes educators conference (#AADE17) this past week, and were on the exhibit hall floor handing out copies to the roughly 3,000 attendees.
This isn't Nicole's first book, as she's authored a handful through the years and we've reviewed many of them here at the 'Mine. But this partner survival guide is unique, unlike anything else out there on diabetes bookshelves. It's one of those things that's obviously needed, yet somehow hadn't yet been addressed.
At only 54 pages, this paperback is surprisingly comprehensive -- covering everything from basic Diabetes 101, to more advanced treatment advice, to support needs and conversation-starters for loved ones of PWDs. The different topics addressed include: managing fear, balancing the good and bad, how involved D-Partners should be, long-term complication concerns, sex and diabetes, having children, and how to feel empowered about diabetes.
Think about it -- we PWDs (people with diabetes) often have conflicting desires: we want our loved ones to recognize how hard this illness is and all the work we're putting in, but on the other hand, we don't want them peering over our shoulder at our BG results, and sometimes they should just butt out! Therefore I'm not sure how I would've approached giving guidance to D-partners if asked. Very thankful that Nicole and Lorraine have taken on this delicate task.
Indeed, for me some of the best parts of this book are found in what I dub the "Diabetes Police" chapter, that delves into loved ones asking diabetes and health-related questions. It lays out quite plainly that while the partner may be anxious to discuss and ask questions like "How are your blood sugars?," they need to be mindful that their PWD may very well not be interested in having that conversation at any given moment, depending on the situation and how they're feeling. The book offers a lot of detail and good suggestions on dealing with timing and judgment, and some practical tips on managing these parts of a relationship.
Clearly, sometimes diabetes can just get people down. And I was particularly struck by this quote that Nicole offered at the start of Chapter 5, talking about how she often hides the regret and guilt.
That's something I have felt before, and it hits close to the heart as I often try to balance everything so that my diabetes isn't 100% in the foreground of my marriage, and the good outweighs the bad.
In each chapter, there are handy little boxes with Partner Advice for what loved ones can do best to support and not annoy their PWD; and there are also "Partner Perspectives" in the form of quotes or tidbits from a particular D-Partner.
We're huge fans of sharing Partner Perspectives here at the 'Mine -- as evidenced by our long-running Diabetes Partner Follies Series of guest posts, which began with a POV from the husband of 'Mine editor Amy Tenderich back in 2006, and recently featured the very same co-author of this new book Lorraine Stiehl, and her husband Chris last winter! I've also written about my loving and supporting spouse Suzi many times, and Suzi herself has shared her own perspective here too.
In particular, I covered some of the more scary Low situations we've dealt with and how those impacted our relationship, and more recently how new #WeAreNotWaiting data-sharing capabilities have given us a new way to interact on diabetes. Even though we never had a guide, I personally think we've done pretty darn well together.
To Suzi, learning about my T1D wasn't too big a deal in our early days of dating, and we've been a good a team in dealing with our past 12 years of marriage. Sure, we've had our ups and downs like everyone, and diabetes has certainly brought scares and arguments and long emotional conversations at times -- but we deal. And I found that basically everything in this new D-Partners Survival Guide is the kind of wisdom we live by.
"Even though diabetes is a 24/7 disease, it doesn't have to take over your relationship in a negative way," the book states. "It can actually improve your relationship and depend the bond with your partner."
Suzi and I both read this guide separately, and we both found ourselves nodding in agreement with much of the content and stories shared -- from both the PWDs and their loved ones. As mentioned, we didn't have a guide when we got together, but if we were to write one based on our many years together now, it would probably be a lot like this.
So from us in the Hoskins Household, this book earns a double-thumbs up!
This new survival guide is available in paperback on Amazon for $10, but before you go click to buy it, here's your chance to win a free copy from us...
A DMBooks Giveaway
Just leave a comment below, and be sure to include the codeword "DMBooks" somewhere in your comment so we know you're in it to win it. Since our comment system requires log-in, you may also email us your entry directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject header "D-Partners."
You have until Friday, Aug. 11, 2017, at 9pm PST to enter.
And just to reiterate: Please be sure to monitor your Facebook messages or email, as that's how we contact our winners. If we can't reach you within a reasonable period of time, we'll have to choose another winner.
Good luck, Friends!
This contest is now closed. Congrats to Laura Cogswell who was chosen by Random.org as winner of this giveaway!