Actress Mary Tyler Moore uses humor and experience to detail her personal battle with diabetes in her new book, "Growing Up Again: Life, Loves, and Oh Yeah, Diabetes."
Read an excerpt of the book below.
Chronic disease, like a troublesome relative, is something you can learn to manage but never quite escape. And while each and every person who has type 1 prays for a cure, and would give anything to stop thinking about it for just a year, a month, a week, a day even, the ironic truth is that only when you own it--accept it, embrace it, make it your own--do you start to be free of many of its emotional and physical burdens.
How do you accomplish this acceptance? How do you come to terms with this constant, nagging, never-ending disease? I can't tell you, not precisely. 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 the restrictions, the have-tos, the may-nots, and the never-endingness of it still rankle. 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. A lot of this practical information appears in the appendixes at the back of the book.
It is my most heartfelt hope that the collective wisdom-- and occasional humor--of the stories contained herein will help others who have diabetes, and their loved ones, find new ways of managing its challenges.
For me, the process of writing the book, talking with people with diabetes and all the experts, certainly has provided new insights into how to manage the disease. I guess you could say it truly has been a matter of growing up again. So let me introduce myself one more time. . . .