Growing up Again: Life, Loves, and Oh Yeah, Diabetes

Growing up Again: Life, Loves, and Oh Yeah, Diabetes

4.4 25
by Mary Tyler Moore

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Excerpt from Growing Up Again:

Each person who has diabetes struggles to come to terms with it and experiences the basic challenges of the disease in a uniquely personal way. For me, it has been a trip through rebellion and denial to finally arriving at acknowledgment and commitment to solutions. It took years. And I still rankle at the

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Excerpt from Growing Up Again:

Each person who has diabetes struggles to come to terms with it and experiences the basic challenges of the disease in a uniquely personal way. For me, it has been a trip through rebellion and denial to finally arriving at acknowledgment and commitment to solutions. It took years. And I still rankle at the restrictions, the have-tos, the may-nots, and the never-endingness of it. But the illness is what it is, and I thank God for the genius of medical researchers who have done so much to make diabetes a less cruel imposition while propelling us toward a cure.

I don’t think the story of my life with diabetes is a model for anyone else. There’s no template to follow that will determine the course of the disease and how it affects a person’s life; no one right way to manage diabetes. What I have put on paper is simply the tale of how, in the course of everyday living—dealing with the losses, the dead ends, and the triumphs that come in often seemingly random order—I’ve dodged, faced, and sometimes conquered the challenges of diabetes. I’m sharing my story because it is what I have to give, shedding some light on the follies and achievements that I’ve racked up in my daily confrontation with the disease.

But my journey is just a part of the picture. So I’ve talked with other people who have diabetes to give voice to their experiences, to provide a varied view of how to live and thrive. And I’ve sought out some of the wisest and most capable doctors and scientists who are waging war in the laboratory and conducting bench-to-bedside experiments that are producing new and exciting treatments to help the millions of people with diabetes manage—and ultimately vanquish—the disease.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Her TV alter ego, Mary Richards, may have been perfect, but it's Moore's imperfections that make her the ideal author of this surprisingly frank memoir about living with diabetes. Diagnosed with Type 1 (juvenile) diabetes at age 33 in 1969, Moore rebelled with anger and frustration at the restrictions of moderation the disease imposed and she ignored. Belatedly, she stopped drinking (after a trip to the Betty Ford Clinic in 1984) and quit her three-pack-a-day smoking habit in 1988, but she admits that she's no poster child for diabetes. With admirable honesty and sardonic humor, Moore exposes her failings with technology and inability to always stay on top of her disease, and reveals how diabetes has permanently affected her vision, balance and stamina. This helpful and illuminating guide is a winning mixture of personal stories with occasional visits to experts who take her step-by-step through surgical procedures or offer more detailed explanations of new technology and stem cell research. It's a credit to the book's bouncy tone that even the detailed appendix is readable. Since 1984, Moore has been the international chair of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, which raises more than $200 million every year. (Apr.)

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Library Journal

While working on The Dick Van Dyke Show, award-winning actress Moore (After All) was diagnosed with juvenile (Type 1) diabetes and quickly discovered that managing the disease is a full-time job. With the help of a diabetes specialist, Moore learned to control her blood sugar with a rigorous routine of diet, exercise, insulin injections, and frequent blood glucose monitoring-a regimen that made it possible for her to maintain her demanding personal and professional lives. After 32 years of living with diabetes, Moore, now 72, developed retinopathy and poor circulation in her legs-common complications of long-standing diabetes. Moore details the daily challenges she faces to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. She emphasizes the importance of building a good support system composed of health-care professionals, friends, and family members. Her book also includes a "short course on the world of diabetes" for the newly diagnosed and a list of useful web sites. Moore's humor, authoritative information, and honest evaluation of her own experiences with diabetes make this work essential for diabetes and consumer health collections. Highly recommended.
—Karen McNally Bensing

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St. Martin's Press
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INTRODUCTIONThis book has been one of the most exciting projects of my life. It came about at the behest of a lovely young woman named Diane Revzin, 19, who is the daughter of Philip Revzin, senior editor of St. Martin’s Press. She has type 1 diabetes.
It seems that one day father and daughter were washing the family car—an enjoyable weekend task Diane thought of as a kind of sporting event the two of them could share. “How’s it going?” Diane’s Dad asked.
“Oh, you know, okay, I guess,” she replied and tossed down her sponge (a most unusual attitude for her), and blurted out, “I wish I had a diabetic best friend, someone to talk to about what it’s like to have diabetes. Sometimes I feel, I don’t know, alone. Ya know?”
Her father lowered his head and looked at her over the rim of his glasses and answered, “Honey, you’re as well informed as anybody, having read most of the books out there.”
“But I want to know about someone else’s experiences with diabetes. You’re right, I‘ve pretty much read the “ABC’s of Diabetes” and the “What To Do” books. I want to read someone else’s personal experiences, both good and bad, and the emotional gymnastics that go with it all. Is there anybody like that you can think of, Dad?
Dear Phil thought of me! He tells me he set out my diabetes bio for Diane’s consideration—“Mary Tyler Moore, she’s a diabetic, first and foremost, she’s the International Chairman of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), and she makes me laugh. I kind of think that’s important. She seems to be deeply involved in the government relations for JDRF including the time she spends in Washington lobbying Congress for increases in federal funding for research.”
“I know she can’t be my buddy, but maybe she can come up with something.”
When Phil called me, I was in the last throes of unpacking an endless array of clothes, beauty products (I keep trying), medications, toiletries, and diabetes lifelines: insulin --- two types, syringes, monitors, test tapes, charts, list of appropriate insulin doses, test strips used to spot the dreaded ketones in urine, glucose tablets, alcohol swabs, Glucagon (emergency kit), lancets, diabetes literature, stacks and stacks of books and letters on the subject, and a box of chocolate-covered raisins.
My husband Robert and I were carrying out the decision we’d made to move out of our apartment in Manhattan to spend full time at our country house in Millbrook, New York. It was a major upheaval, but strong longings for open skies, riding trails, meadows, animals, and the quiet beckoned us.
It was my cell phone. It was there, somewhere, I could hear it screaming at me! I ought to give myself a break and change to nicer, less critical music. But then I might never find it.
Aha! There it was, the phone, buried under some exercise leotards. I plucked the damn thing out of the jumbled mess of (would-be) ballerina togs, grateful for the opportunity to sit, and offered my all purpose, if a bit breathless, “Hello.”
”May I speak to Mary Tyler Moore?” a male voice asked. And in a most proper tone (Dad would be proud) I answered, “This is she.” It sometimes takes guts to be correct with our language. I now opt for the compromise of “Speaking.”
With a smile in his voice, my “gentleman caller” said, “I’m Phil Revzin --- St. Martin’s Press. We’d like to talk to you about writing a book concerning your experiences with diabetes. I’ll speak to your agent, of course, but before I do that, I’d like to know if the idea is of some interest to you.”
And that’s how it began.

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