A Book You Should Read: Islands and Insulin.
The day before I headed out on flight to Nashville, TN, I received a package in the mail.
"Mommy, that has sunshine all OVER it," my daughter exclaimed happily, running her hands over the bright yellow paper that covered the package.
"I know, right? Let's see what's inside," and we tore open the box to find, among other beach-esque trinkets, a book written by Erin Spineto, titled Islands and Insulin: A Diabetic Sailor's Memoir. A note from Erin, author and fellow PWD, encouraged me to take some time away from my schedule. Part of her note read: "You deserve a break. So sit back, feel the sand beneath your feet and listen to the ocean for a moment. Grab a cool drink and enjoy a good beach read while you bask in the sun. Islands and Insulin is the story of a girl given a boat, one hundred miles of ocean, and way too much caffeine to reflect on how an incorrigible disease has altered her voyage into adulthood ... all wrapped up inside a diabetes survival manual."
You know what? Yeah. I want to sit back, relax, and do something on this flight other than slog through emails. So I tossed her book into my bag with intention of spinning through it while I traveled.
What I didn't expect to do what read the entire thing.
Erin's book is about her diabetes experience - her diagnosis, her disclosures, her journey as an athlete and adventurer - but it speaks to the collective experiences we all share. How diabetes challenges us, but can also serve as a catalyst to inspire us. When I read about Erin grappling with motherhood and its influence on her diabetes control, I almost cried with relief that someone else has been there, too, and climbed out just fine. Her experiences as a sailor managing diabetes, alone on the ocean, inspired me. I've wondered how to make this monster bend to me, instead of the other way around, and I love reading about people who understand that completely.
I asked Erin why she thought it was important for people with diabetes to share their experiences, and why she wanted to share hers. She told me, "I was at an Insulindependence party and a guy I just met shared with me [the story of] the time he had a seizure from a low. He had never told anyone before. Not even his girlfriend. And this sense of relief spread across his face. I realized then that sharing our stories helps heal us ... and also that not everyone has Insulindependence parties. A book could reach those who don't have that interaction."
I read this entire book in one sitting, laughing at some parts, nodding my head in recognition at others, and just marveling at how much of the diabetes experience was captured in 263 pages. Erin Spineto should be proud as hell for being it, living it, and writing it.