A Shot of Joy

I talk a good bit about Joy, but I’m actually a rather cynical person. What, you noticed? Anyway, I don’t exactly believe in the mood cure” either, so when writer and advocate Riva Greenberg sent me her sweet little new book with bunnies on the cover, I was… well, skeptical.

The book is called “The ABCs of Loving Yourself with Diabetes,”Abcs_diabetes_book and it features A-Z alphabet illustrations with grinning bunnies, cherubs, mermaids and mice, each accompanied by a short inspirational essay on the right-hand page. Honestly, it looked like something I’d read my kids at bedtime. This is supposed to be a diabetes book for adults? Huh?

But what the heck? We were in the middle of one of our most violent Pacific storms this year and my hubby had the fireplace roaring to the melodies of Bach. So I curled up on the couch and began to read.

The words kind of seemed to float on the melodies. After just a few pages, I knew I would read this book cover to cover and cherish it for many evenings to come. What a wonderful little ode to self-acceptance and motivation. Like a skilled quilter, Riva has somehow managed to patch together poetry, self-help, and diabetes advice into an irresistible pattern. Some may find it sappy and old-fashioned, but isn’t that exactly the charm of a well-made quilt?

I’d like to share a few excerpts worthy of repeating. Admittedly, they may sound flat taken out of context here on the Web, without the crackling fireplace or classical chords in the background. Just try to picture all that as you read:

Peace and Tranquility Await You

Some Days are harder than others when you live with diabetes. You may already be living with some complications, and then there are so many things you need to do. It’s like there’s a ticker-tape in your head constantly calculating meal times, pill times, up times and down times. There’s the 100th diet you’ve tried and fallen off of — again. Sometimes diabetes is just a pain to live with, not unlike a houseguest who never leaves.

At these times, you need a place to retreat to where you can take a “time out.” There is such a place; a kind of paradise where peace and tranquility await you. You won’t have to pack a bag or rush to the airport because this peaceful place exists within you.

***** *****

Laugh Loudly, Fully and Often

Joy, happiness and laughter are not something you find in life, but something you bring to life. So stop to see the magic of a snowflake, and laugh ’til the tears run down your cheeks.

A big belly laugh, researchers say, releases a hormone that keeps your immune system healthy. So stack up some funny movies for tonight, because, amazing as it sounds, just anticipating a good laugh has significant neuroendocrine effects.

***** *****

There’s New Research Every Day

Fortunately and unfortunately, the increase of diabetes around the world has led to a wealth of new medicines, devices, approaches and research that offer greater health. There is also greater focus on helping people manage the emotions that may arise having diabetes.

If you feel sad or overwhelmed at times having diabetes, acknowledge your feelings. Then remember that today you can live a full, rich and long life with diabetes. For that, you can thank your lucky stars!

***** *****

Make All Your Actions Count

Your actions, attitude, determination and willingness to do your best create your health each and every day. No matter how many times you’ve failed, it does not mean you will fail again. Develop an unshakeable desire to succeed and chances are you will.

When you make your actions count, you open your arms to your best health — today, tomorrow, and for all the years to come.

***** *****

What Do You Love?

Diabetes is handled best when you make it a part of your life, not the whole of it. You are so much more than your diabetes. Think about what makes your life joyful and meaningful, and find ways to continue doing those things. Life can be as exciting, rich, fun and filled with possibilities as it was before you got diabetes.

What do you love? Are you doing it? Regularly? If not, why not? Doing what you love makes life fulfilling. What you put your attention on tends to grow. Put your attention on being sad, frustrated or angry, and life will become a series of unhappy events. But put your attention on what you love, and happiness will come flying back riding full-speed atop the wind’s tail.

My recommendation? Take a little quiet time, on an off-day. Curl up on your couch, with some of your favorite soothing music, and read this book from A to Z. It won’t take you much more than an hour, and if you’re not 100% the cynic, you’ll find yourself (not cured by any means, but) refreshed and smiling.

{Self-published, starting at $14 on Amazon.}


7 Responses

  1. CALpumper
    CALpumper January 29, 2008 at 7:40 am | | Reply

    “Fluffy” reminders are good, no matter the age, when you live with a chronic illness. Heck, any reminder to help you relax is always good. We struggle everyday, we fight everyday, we work everyday, everyday…..nice to know a writer And advocate is willing to help us with that! I say thanks to Riva for understanding and knowing just what we need to read!

  2. Greg
    Greg January 29, 2008 at 10:00 am | | Reply

    The excerpts are truly understood by each person who deal with Diabetes on a day to day basis. It’s like the voice in our heads that is always on about controlling this diease has become more friendly

  3. riva
    riva January 29, 2008 at 10:24 am | | Reply

    Thanks Amy for the plug. Does diabetes stink? Sure. But there’s a whole flip side depending on your attitude. You can actually be grateful it’s not something worse; it can give you reason to get fitter and healthier overall; you can find a whole new place of inner strength if you look for it; and you can be proud of all that you manage, largely when other people don’t even have a clue.

    Important note – as the author I want to let people know that the book retails for $19.95 on Amazon. Reason is a large part of the sale proceeds is being donated to diabetes research. The 2 books advertised for $14 are for a book I wrote 14 years ago which has nothing to do with diabetes.

  4. Cindy
    Cindy January 29, 2008 at 2:09 pm | | Reply

    Like a favorite comfy blanket, I like to take out the sections as I need them and wrap myself in each one, depending on my mood and how I feel about diabetes, life, myself, and others!
    Thanks, Riva, for putting to words what I need to hear!

  5. Ann
    Ann February 1, 2008 at 7:41 am | | Reply

    Often times those of us with diabetes follow the rules of good diabetes care all the while gritting our teeth. We often put managing the disease before “loving” ourselves and become angry, stressed, and a real pain to others and to ourselves. Riva’s book reminds us that we came first and that managing this disease should not crowd out the joy of living. Her warm and inviting illustrations bring a smile to the face and joy to the heart. Thank you, Riva

  6. Michael Myers
    Michael Myers February 9, 2008 at 10:46 am | | Reply

    Your headline mentions “straight talk”, but you use confusing terminology, just like doctors do, that leave us not knowing what you are talking about.

    For instance, I just read your article on DiabetesAlliance.com, and you kept using “BG”, but never told us what it stands for. What we need to know is how foods affect our blood sugar readings.

  7. AmyT
    AmyT February 9, 2008 at 1:14 pm | | Reply

    Hi Michael,

    BG stands for blood glucose — the first reference must have been edited out by accident.

    Thanks for your note.
    - AT

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