A Life of Control: Stories of Living with Diabetes [NOOK Book]


Diabetes happens in a life that already has a story. This book, composed of nearly forty personal narratives, based on taped interviews, about the lives of actual patients with diabetes, draws upon the collective experience of an endocrinologist and two nurse practitioners who worked together for twenty-five years.

The people who describe their experiences with diabetes range from teenagers to physicians, immigrants, athletes, pregnant women, accountants, a prisoner, and a ...

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A Life of Control: Stories of Living with Diabetes

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Diabetes happens in a life that already has a story. This book, composed of nearly forty personal narratives, based on taped interviews, about the lives of actual patients with diabetes, draws upon the collective experience of an endocrinologist and two nurse practitioners who worked together for twenty-five years.

The people who describe their experiences with diabetes range from teenagers to physicians, immigrants, athletes, pregnant women, accountants, a prisoner, and a dairy farmer. They speak of the variety of ways they handle monitoring, diet, insurance coverage, sports, and fashion. Some talk of how they manage to drive trucks for a living or, for recreation, fly airplanes or go spelunking. Many speak frankly of their anxieties and frustrations.

The authors acknowledge that both the patient and clinician have a story about their relationship, and describe the richness and tension in their interaction. Families, too, are sources of both support and conflict. These relationships are acknowledged in the organization of the book, which is divided into sections defined by the main elements of diabetes control: patient self-determination, the role of the family, the social situation, and the patient-clinician encounter.

The book provides a wealth of information about diabetes, including material on prevention, complications, and new technology, as well as a superb glossary, but it is not intended as a textbook on diabetes or as a self-care manual for patients. Rather the book provides a textured account of the health professional's view of diabetes control and the perspective of the patient whose life is complicated by diabetes.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Medical practitioners and co-workers Graber, Brown, and Wolff present an inspiring compilation. Stories by and about patients meld with comments from the care team, offering specifics about diabetes and treatment; readers will learn facts about gestational diabetes, how stress impacts glucose levels, and more. From a patient's letter about wishing for a day off from diabetes, to stories about patients dealing with the possibility of diabetes-induced birth defects, or treating the condition in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the authors humanize the epidemic while also setting an example for empathy in the patient-practitioner relationship. Readers will find the many faces of diabetes, as well as the dedication required to maintain a healthy diabetic life, to be astonishing. The medical team has seen substantial improvement in diabetes treatment protocols over the years; current techniques include insulin pumps, continuous monitoring, and service dogs that can diagnose blood sugar levels by smell. The authors conclude with a summary of screening and treatment recommendations. A Life of Control will greatly interest not only those with Type I or Type II Diabetes, but their family members, physicians, and clinicians. (Nov.)
Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Ronald N. Cohen, MD (University of Chicago Medical Center)
Description: This is a series of personal narratives of patients living with diabetes, speaking of their experiences and goals, their successes and frustrations.
Purpose: As the authors note, "the patient views himself as a person whose life is complicated by diabetes, not as a professional patient. The health professional's view of diabetes control is only a window into the many dimensions of a life with diabetes." As they explain, the purpose of this book is "to situate the diabetes experience within patients' live and the meaning of those lives," an extremely worthy objective.
Audience: Although it is written primarily for patients with diabetes, the book also would be helpful for internists, endocrinologists, and any physicians who take care of patients with diabetes.
Features: Each patient narrative illustrates an important point (or points). After each narrative, the authors provide a brief commentary, which is very helpful. I found the narratives to be interesting and insightful, and helpful to me as an endocrinologist.
Assessment: This is a nice book that I think will be very interesting for anyone with diabetes, as well as for their physicians. The narratives themselves are fascinating, but the book is more than the sum of its parts. It provides great insight into diabetes, and how diabetes fits into the lives of those who deal with it on a daily basis.
From the Publisher

"A Life of Control will greatly interest not only those with Type I or Type II Diabetes, but their family members, physicians, and clinicians."
--Publishers Weekly

Named a "Best Consumer Health Book of 2010" by Library Journal

"..if you or someone you know is struggling to find camaraderie during a particularly troubling time with their diabetes, this might be a perfect gift."

"One of the largest challenges people living with diabetes face is taking care of themselves on a day-to-day basis, which means assuming responsibility that, in many other cases, is left up to the doctor. A Life of Control depicts 40 years of diabetic patients' stories through the narration of the doctor and nurse practitioners who collected them, acknowledging the often complicated relationship between people living with diabetes and their doctors. A cleverly organized group of stories, which reveals the difficulties, both physical and emotional, that come along with diabetes, but leaves the reader feeling confident about taking control."
--Steven Edelman, MD, Founder and Director, Taking Control of Your Diabetes, Del Mar, California

"Dr. Graber and his team share a collection of stories that not only educate but motivate. As a healthcare professional with diabetes I have learned most of the really important lessons about control from my patients. These stories are very engaging and you will find this book both enlightening and inspirational."
--Virginia Valentine, certified diabetes educator; co-author of Diabetes Type 2 and What to Do (1994 & 2000) and Diabetes--The New Type 2 (2008); former member of board of directors of American Diabetes Association

"This is a unique and well written volume describing personal experiences with diabetes of those who have it, their families and their providers of medical care. It yields valuable insights that will help with the issues for everyone who has to deal with this challenging disease."
--Mayer Davidson, MD, Director of the Clinical Center of Research Excellence at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles, past president of the American Diabetes Association, and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Diabetes

"With health care reform on the horizon and the cost of managing chronic disease impacting our economy, the doctor-patient relationship is often quantified in merely economic terms. Through personal stories about living with diabetes, Graber's patients show 'control' is more than insulin, blood sugar testing, and managing one's diet, and a successful doctor-patient relationship is a lot more than what's reflected by billing procedure codes."
--Kim Emmons-Benjet, mother of a child with Type 1 diabetes and blogger for Healthcentral.com

"In these touching stories, you will hear real-life tales that are funny, sad, life-affirming, aggravating and more. Read this and realize that you are not alone."
--William H. Polonsky, PhD, CDE

Library Journal
Many books describe the physical and psychological effects of diabetes. Few allow those with the disease to share their stories in an empathetic and educational fashion. Endocrinologist Graber's interviews with almost 40 patients highlight the challenges, failures, successes, and coping mechanisms that have helped or hindered diabetic control. Part 1 emphasizes that the patient's role is far more important than the clinician's; those who can accept and maintain responsibility for self-management are generally healthier and have a greater sense of control. Part 2 illustrates the effects of diabetes on the family and the impact the family can have on the patient's controlling the disease. Part 3 describes how the social and physical environment of work, school, and play can affect how people manage their health. The fourth and final part addresses the role of the clinician/patient relationship in promoting trust and influencing positive lifestyle changes. VERDICT Readers can find many lessons, gently provided, from those who are experiencing similar challenges. Recommended for consumer health collections and for diabetes patients and their families.—Janet Schneider, James A. Haley Veterans Hosp., Tampa
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826517340
  • Publisher: Vanderbilt University Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 184
  • Sales rank: 893,800
  • File size: 346 KB

Meet the Author

Alan L. Graber is an endocrinologist; Anne W. Brown and Kathleen Wolff are certified diabetes nurse practitioners. In 1986, while in private practice, the authors organized one of the first Outpatient Diabetes Education Programs in the country recognized by the American Diabetes Association. They later worked together for many years at the Vanderbilt Eskind Diabetes Center.
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Table of Contents

Foreword Steven G. Gabbe vii

Preface xi

Part I The Patient in Control 1

1 To Hell with Diabetes 3

2 I Threw Away the Sugar Bowl 7

3 Running for My Life 11

4 A High Price for Weight Loss 15

5 I Refuse to View Myself as Sick 18

6 E-mails from Angela 21

7 A Difficult Decision 29

8 A Life without Control 32

9 We Control What We Can 36

10 The Cadillac of Disabilities 39

Part II Control of Diabetes Is a Family Affair 45

11 A Family Affair 47

12 This Invisible Counterpart 55

13 Who's in Control? 59

14 God, Do Not Let Me Cry 62

15 Every Moment of Every Day 66

16 It's Not About the Mom, It's About the Baby 70

17 I Need to Hear His Voice 73

18 Like Having a Partner 78

Part III The Social Context of Control 83

19 It's a Bet 85

20 Blown Away 89

21 Warrior Mode 93

22 On the Road and In the Air 99

23 A Better Life? 103

24 Semper Fi at the Dialysis Center 108

25 Jocks Face Hypoglycemia 111

26 School Fashion 114

Part IV Role of the Clinician-Patient Relationship in the Control of Diabetes 117

27 A Fairly Typical Situation 121

28 Non-intensive Care for Diabetes 124

29 Driving Under the Influence... of Too Much Insulin 127

30 I Had to Sell My Milk Cows 130

31 If Shoes Could Talk 135

32 Everything Is Not Always Due to Diabetes 139

33 Playing the Numbers 143

34 The Doctor Was Hoodwinked 146

35 A Glimpse of Longevity 149

36 Different Paths to the Same Destination 152

Conclusion: Prevention-the Best Method of Control 155

Acknowledgments 159

Notes 161

Glossary 167

Internet Resources for Patients with Diabetes 177

Reader's Guide to Topics 179

Index 185

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