A lot of people are starting to ask what diabetes books I'd personally recommend. Honestly, I haven't read that many, but what I have read was invaluable. The very first thing I did after coming up for air was order a copy of "Diabetes for Dummies," of course (!) -- an essential for understanding what's actually happening to your body. I also enjoyed "The Diabetics Book" by June Biermann and Barbara Toohey. I believe the latter was the first Q&A-style book about living with diabetes. Nice to have some plain talk about what to actually do when you're invited to dinner, starting an exercise plan, or just talking to your significant other. Keep in mind, these two biddies get a bit snippy (like lambasting their friends for not understanding the details of their extreme diet). But a great resource for beginners nonetheless.

I also heard from a good friend that Gretchen Becker's "The First Year: Type 2 Diabetes" is truly helpful for newbies to Type 2.

If you're going on insulin, there is no substitute for the checkbook-sized "Pocket Pancreas." This little green $6 booklet explains insulin needs better than any doctor or CDE I've met yet! I keep it in my nPocketpancreasbk_1ight stand.

Nevertheless, I'm still baffled by the 1800/1500 and 500/450 Rules. I've developed the 1/100 Rule of Thumb for diabetes books: For every hundred new books on this topic, only one of them is probably going to offer you anything useful for dealing with this disease in your own daily life. My advice is to read a few intro books until you get the basics of what it means to have diabetes and what you need to do, and then STOP. Relax. Read a novel!

You'll want to continue searching specific topics on the Internet, of course. So what about Web resources? Frankly, I'm still sorting them all out myself. I'm working on my own list of "D-Link" favorites (right-hand column). There are, naturally, a dizzying array of books and products being marketed to diabetics on the Net. This is big business, folks! To shop the lot, including food journals, exercise journals, tracking devices, carrying cases, food scales, foot care cream, etc., etc., try the Diabetes Mall or the Diabetic Drug Store, or even Amazon.com (!) under "Health & Personal Care," select "Diabetes" from the left-hand column.

In any case, I've found that the very best resource is a real live diabetic with whom you have a lot in common. Initially, I networked around by asking friends and surfing the ADA Message Boards to find someone in my area in the same walk of life. We met for coffee, and I just riddled her with questions (thanks, Deborah!): What kind of carrying case does she use? Where does she keep her supplies? In the fridge? In the car? How often does she really check her BG? What about that special night out when you want a tiny little party purse, instead of that massive shoulder bag you usually need? One nugget I picked up was that could actually inject after eating! I was up to a dozen shots/day with lows in-between since I couldn't seem to accurately predict how much I'd eat before meals.

They do it for kids, so why couldn't I treat myself like a child diabetic and count the carbs of what I just ate for a more accurate dosing?

I learned more from the real-life encounter than from any book. Now I'm making a point of having a "diabetic coffee" at least every few months. Not many support groups, just caffeine therapy.

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