Monday, July 15, 2013

Growing Up Again - Book Review

Growing Up Again
By Mary Tyler Moore
MacMillan 2009
Publishers Review

Yeah, Yeah, I know - it's been way too long since I last read and reviewed anything.

But this book I have just finished reading precisely because like my son, Mary has also struggled with Type 1 diabetes. Except she was diagnosed way back in 1969 - 40 years before she published this book.

Mary was diagnosed in her 30's which is somewhat unusual, but it has been known to happen. 

She has never looked after herself as well as she should.  She tries hard to keep a tight control on her blood glucose level - but she is tempted by all sweet foods available and she finds it very hard to resist.

As a result, her eyes are not in the best shape. She has lost all her peripheral vision and the only sight she has left is literally tunnel vision (straight ahead).

The A1C is a blood test that shows an average Blood glucose level for the last 3 months.

A Normal A1C number for a non-diabetic is below 6
A diabetic adult is expected to try and keep that number below 7

Diabetic children have to keep it below 8.

Mary Tyler Moore says that sometimes her A1C reading is 9 - which for a diabetic indicates very poor control.

My sons last A1C (tested just last week in fact) is currently 8.5 - which is NOT so good.

I have to keep even tighter control over what food he eats while he is at home over these next 2 months. This is somewhat stressful because he is also entering the time of puberty, going through growth spurts, and complaining that he is always hungry.

It seems to me that after every single meal he is asking for more food. And it certainly  doesn't help that all he wants to do is to sit at that damn computer and play video games all day.

Mary Tyler Moore also does not like doing maths and so she has chosen to NOT use a pump - because she cant seem to count the carbs right, or figure out how much extra insulin to add when she is eating.

 My son is good at maths and has also shown an interest in going on the pump, so maybe once school starts again, we can look into him doing the required training to get on the pump. This will mean HE has to be in control of his insulin, his food and all the carb counting.

MTM does mention several episodes where she made mistakes, and went HYPOglycemic - this is when the blood sugar levels drop very low. These episodes can often be life threatening if the glucose level stays low for too long. These are also the one time when a diabetic is REQUIRED to eat glucose, sugar, candy, cakes or anything with fast acting carbohydrates, to get the blood glucose levels back up again.

But this does NOT give you carte blanche to gorge on and overeat on the candy and sugar. You eat just enough to get that number back up to a normal level, test your blood glucose level and then stop eating. 

Mary does not go into details about her acting - that can all be read in her autobiography - After All. This book deals much more with her life as a diabetic, and her role as the Chairman of the JDRF board.

JDRF stands for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation - the old name for Type One Diabetes.

 If you really want to learn what it is like to have type 1 diabetes, then this is the book to read.

 It is just a short book to read - only 160 pages - the rest is appendices about various aspects of diabetes. This is an open and honest look at what it takes and what it means to be diabetic - and showing just how much more the diabetic person has to work at staying alive.

I really enjoyed this book.