Living with Diabetes and Finding Empowerment

Ann Bartlett Health Guide
  • A few years ago, I was anything but an empowered patient!  In fact, I had been stripped of feeling secure about anything I knew regarding diabetes. I remember thinking how could I have let myself fall into such a state of confusion about my health, when I was an athlete, massage therapist, avid health nut and yet, I had almost lost the battle. 


    At first, I took full responsibility and said this was my fault.  I had not been fully vested in my diabetes care, I thought because I had a great a1c and the doctors kept saying keep up the great work, I was in an ok place.  After my scare, I fired my doctor and desperately sought a diabetes group for support.  I began to talk to everyone about diabetes but could not find a community of adults living with diabetes.  Out of the blue, my mom met a friend who said, “She needs to talk to Gary Scheiner.  He lives with diabetes and wrote a book about it.” 

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    On a trip out to California, I read Gary’s small, but powerful book, about the process of living with diabetes and tears weld in my eyes; I was not as dumb as I thought!  As soon as we landed, I called Gary’s office and made an appointment.  It would be worth the inconvenience of the 2-hour drive to Philadelphia to meet with the man who I believed would truly help me! For the next 3 years, Integrated Diabetes was my portal to strategy for living with diabetes!


    I continued to look for the emotional exchange as well, and that’s when I ran into Health Central. Among the diabetes experts, there was a young voice of a college freshman named Ginger Vieira.  Her voice was sharing her experience cradled in the emotions and wisdom learned.  Ginger struck a cord with me. She not only spoke to the emotional place of living with diabetes, but also shared her strategy.  With each year, her voice grew stronger and more confident about her skill for living with diabetes and she was devoted to not quitting. By doing so, she excelled at powerlifting, achieving 14 national drug tested powerlifting records! 


    So it was no surprise when she decided to train as a cognitive coach and focus her efforts on people living with chronic illness.  She spoke with me about writing a book that would help explain how anyone can easily take control of their diabetes, by separating the emotional component and using numbers like a science experiment.  I gave two thumbs up for a book endeavor!  To add to my enthusiasm, she gave a preview of her book to my favorite diabetes mentor, Gary Scheiner and he offered to write the forward! 


    I have read it and loved it!  It speaks to the issues with common sense and takes the emotional frustrations away by making this analytical, a science experiment.  Anyone, and especially teens, can take this book and easily put it into practice!


    Using the analogy that your body is actually a pizza delivery restaurant, Ginger guides us through the process of a well run restaurant and the potential hazards we may face if the business has a hiccup. What makes Ginger unique is the emotional insight.  In chapter 2, her opening paragraph states, “Managing diabetes often involves a lot of guessing, hoping, frustration, endless blood sugar rollercoaster rides that leave you feeling wiped out, annoyed, exhausted, angry and wondering, ‘What in the world happened here?’


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    The most important thing to remember during any diabetes science experiment is that there is no risk of failing!  Every blood sugar reading is more data for your experiment.  Every high and low blood sugar isn’t bad or good or perfect; it’s all just information…. There’s no room for guilt, for embarrassment or shame.”


    I agree with Ginger! Diabetes is a wild dance of analysis and feeding your self empowering emotions.  We don’t always have the capacity to separate our emotions from the numbers, but if we can work at it, it makes it easier and our lives more meaningful. 


    If you feel like you need to be inspired to stick with it, live your dreams and follow your heart then you need to read, Your Diabetes Science Experiment

Published On: February 11, 2011