From time to time, life throws a new challenge your way. I remember the day that our son was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. A whole new road had to be maneuvered, new vocabulary learned, and meal planning became filled with extra importance. I wish back then that we had the book:
If I Kiss You, Will I get Diabetes?
A First-hand account of negotiating life with a chronic illness
By Quinn Nystrom
Q Speak Books
In this first-person account, Quinn Nystrom tells of the shock of receiving her diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes. Her younger brother had previously been diagnosed at age five but she didn’t think it could happen to her. But, at age thirteen, she learned she also would have to deal with diabetes. She describes it perfectly:
“There is no easing into diabetes. It’s like an unwelcome, demanding visitor barges into the house and refuses to leave. In fact, it makes it clear that it will be here every hour and every day for the rest of your life. No wonder they call the disease die-abetes. That’s exactly what it feels like.”
Written with honesty and humor, Quinn shares how she maneuvered through school and friendships where ignorant comments were made. One boy wanted to change seats because he thought diabetes was contagious and a girl refused to sleep next to her at a slumber party because she was afraid Quinn would die in the night.
Quinn courageously faced diabetes head on with the desire to educate people, dispel myths, and promote research into a cure. She was chosen as the national youth advocate for the American Diabetes Association. She traveled and spoke to many people, including President Bush at the White House.
Quinn talks about the importance of summer camps for kids with diabetes. She was resistant at first but discovered it was a freeing experience to be other kids who understood what she was dealing with. As the youth advocate she visited many camps and shared her experiences with campers all over the country. She also shares her high school and college experiences in a way that will help teens know that having diabetes will not prevent them from living a full life.
I recommend this book to children and their families who are learning to live with diabetes as well as teachers and friends who want to know how to support them. The author offers encouragement and insight that only a person with diabetes really understands. The author has gone on to advocate, consult, and raise funds for a cure for diabetes. You can learn more on her blog: QuinnNystrom.com
By the way, my son is doing great! Here is a picture of him a few years ago at Bearskin Meadows Camp in the Sequoia National Forest where he worked in the kitchen: