I have to provide a brief disclosure before writing this book review: I am a huge fan of Gary Scheiner, especially after he managed to help me keep an A1c of 7.0% throughout my junior and senior years of college.
Yep, that’s right. Gary Scheiner was my CDE for several years in college, and he’s still a trusted adviser in all things D. Gary is also a prolific writer, having published two books on diabetes and dozens of articles on diabetes management. His seminal book Think Like a Pancreas has joined the ranks of must-reads for any newly diagnosed PWD. But with an ever-changing disease such as ours, there comes a time when every guidebook needs a little refresher. So last month, a “completely revised and updated” version of Think Like a Pancreas was released.
If you’re wondering what makes Gary so special compared with other CDEs, well, he’s also one of us. Yes, Gary has had type 1 diabetes for 26 years (ironically, he was diagnosed while living in Sugarland, TX!), and has worn every insulin pump and used nearly every available drug on the market. Gary’s professional practice, Integrated Diabetes Services, is located in the Philadelphia area. But don’t think that just because you live in another state, it would be impossible to work with Gary as your CDE: never fear! Gary runs a remote consulting program and works with patients all over the world. Gary is also the Dean of his very own Type 1 University, an online diabetes education webinar program that we reviewed here.
Think Like a Pancreas covers essentially anything and everything you’d need to know about living with diabetes — if you use insulin. So unlike other books, that are geared towards being a type 1 or type 2 PWD, this book is for you as long as you are taking insulin.
With Gary’s easy-to-read conversational tone, the book covers the essentials on understanding why blood sugar fluctuates, and then moves right into the foundation of any good insulin program: setting your basal rate and your bolus ratio.
Gary includes a solid chapter on how everyone can figure out what their bolus ratio and correction factor should be, and gives some great tips for fine-tuning the numbers for you personally. If you’re confused about what’s behind the science of why or how something happens, chances are Gary can explain it. Of course, like any general guide for a wide audience, some experimentation by you, the patient, will be required, but this can definitely set you off in the right direction.
In a chapter aptly titled “Welcome to the Real World,” Gary covers all the variables that make blood sugar management tricky, frustrating and sometimes darn-near impossible — including stress, exercise, menstruation, and even caffeine. At the end of the book is a list of diabetes resources (including blogs!), logsheets, and even a glycemic index (GI) list for popular foods. This book is thorough!
If you already own the first edition of Think Like a Pancreas, much of the book may feel repetitive. But the last book came out in 2004, so things have certainly changed a bit in the last eight years; look for the addition of information on new diabetes drugs (like Victoza) and updated information on continuous glucose monitors, which make this updated version an excellent refresher indeed.
Over the weekend, we met up with Gary at the JDRF Research Summit in Bethesda, MD. Were able to corner him to find out more about his tips for thinking like a pancreas, what’s really new in the new book, and how he deals with his own diabetes.
The new version of Think Like a Pancreas is available on Amazon for $11.44.
The DMBooks Giveaway
Once again we’re giving you the chance to win a free copy of our latest book reviewed. If you’d like to win an autographed copy of the updated guide Think Like a Pancreas, check out the instructions below!
Entering for your chance to win is as easy as leaving a comment.
Here’s what to do:
1. Post your comment below and include the codeword “DMBooks” somewhere in the comment (beginning, end, in parenthesis, in bold, whatever). That will let us know that you would like to be entered in the giveaway. You can still leave a comment without entering, but if you want to be considered to win the book, please remember to include “DMBooks.”
2. This week, you have until Friday, Feb. 24, at 5pm PST to enter. A valid email address is required to win.
3. The winner will be chosen using Random.org.
The contest is open to anyone, anywhere. Best of luck, Fellow Insulin Users!