Balancing Diabetes: Kerri @SixUntilMe’s first book

** Full disclosure (and something I am very proud of): I am a good friend of Kerri… Having said that, every last word I am about to share with you about her book is nothing but the truth, the whole truth, so help me God! ;)

If you haven’t read SixUntilMe.com and you or a loved one live with diabetes, you should… because it will provide you with a window into the soul of one of the kindest and most fun humans with diabetes you are going to run into: Kerri Sparling. So, when I heard about her book, and when she kindly interviewed me as part of one of the chapters, I was beyond ecstatic!

In “Balancing Diabetes“, Kerri’s voice and personality shine through loud and clear. Chapter after chapter, she continues to open up her story to us, inviting many of her d-friends along, in a book that feels more like a warm and candid chat between buddies than a paperback title. Her selflessness also is central to the book: she always gives and and seeks to shine the spotlight on others. The net effect is a book that empowers you with tons more information than an individual experience: it feels as if a whole tribe (the DOC – Diabetes Online Community) is joining in on this one through the experience of dozens of people with diabetes.

Then again, it’s not only about the content that Kerri exposes us to, but about her style… she is an extremely accomplished writer (and I don’t say this because she kicked my butt as my editor during the years I wrote for dLife)! The imagery she employs, her impeccable and brilliant use of humor (example, how she portrays wearing an insulin pump as “cyborg badassery” – p. 112)… all of it makes for a delighting and highly entertaining book, aside from the fact that you are absorbing tons of precious insights from her and many others who add up a good few hundred collective years of life with diabetes.

Unlike Kerri, I was diagnosed with diabetes as an adult, but reading her book as a parent (though I am the one with diabetes and not my child), her mom’s stories about Kerri’s diabetes touched me deeply. For example, when she says “you don’t punish for diabetes, you punish for irresponsibility. Diabetes just happens to be an example of something to be irresponsible with.” A participar chapter that rocked for me as well was “Walking the Bloodsugar Tightrope”. In it she captures amazing insights from Dr. Shara Bialo (pediatric endocrinologist with type 1 diabetes) and Dr. Jill Weissberg-Benchell, one of the world’s most amazing psychologists as it relates to diabetes.

She brings it all home in the final chapter… one that I anticipate giving you goosebumps. If it doesn’t, well… you may want to check the endocrine gland in charge of goosebumps! ;)

Reading Kerri’s book I rediscovered why I admire her so much. Like her I too have found diabetes to give me a reason to stand up for myself and others. Thanks Kerri for reminding us that diabetes doesn’t define us but it helps understand us!

#SOSVenezuela: Cadena Humana (Human Chain), Golden Gate #23F

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#SOSVenezuela: learning, and recharging batteries in Stanford

Today was a special day for Venezuelans near San Francisco. While anti-government protests were taking place all over the Venezuelan map, the Stanford Venezuelan Student Association gathered a luxury panel of experts to discuss the situation in Venezuela.

They brought those of us who came from Venezuela and now live in the Bay Area together to learn, get inspired, and continue to support the fight of those back in Venezuela who continue to face lack of freedom of expression, jail, torture, and death.

The panel consisted of Prof. Axel Capriles, Prof. Francisco Monaldi, Prof. Pedro Palma, Dr. Miriam Kornblith, and Prof. Larry Diamond.

A few comments that stuck with me:

After the amazing interventions by the panelists, we were pleasantly surprised to learn that among us was no less than Ex-President of Peru, Alejandro Toledo. He inspired everyone in the room with his words. I captured his intervention in the video below:

We felt honored to be in the presence of a leader that endured very critical challenges along with his fellow Peruvians at the turn of the century and was able to prevail. We were very thankful that he joined us for this event and that he raised his voice along with Pastrana and other Latin American leaders against the violence in Venezuela. If only CURRENT Latin American (and other) Presidents had the same courage!

Con_Presidente_Toledo

We left the event re-energized, and empowered with information to continue standing up to the reality faced by people in Venezuela today.