Too Sweet—The Not So Serious Side to Diabetes, by Laura Kronen ‘92, does what few other books about this life-altering and chronic disease even think of: It deals with the emotions that sufferers feel, and it does so with humor.
Kronen, who lives with her husband and children just outside Atlanta, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes 22 years ago. Finding out that she was “pancreatically challenged,” as she likes to say, was not welcome news to someone “born with a love of sweets and fear of needles.” Some 172,000 injections and finger pricks later, she has authored a chatty, buoyant, and eminently practical guide that ought to be on every endocrinologist’s patient reading list. It’s full of day-to-day tips—power foods, what you can’t leave home without—and jokes that remind readers they’re not alone, like the section on “You know you’re a diabetic when…”
(Spoiler: You know you’re a diabetic when people tell you they totally understand what you go through, because they have a diabetic cat.)
Elected this year to the board of directors of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Kronen self-published the book, which is available on amazon.com. This excerpt comes from the introduction:
Why am I wide awake? I pick up my iPhone, which also conveniently acts as my nightlight, and check the time—3:12 a.m. I’m feeling very warm, although I know I have the air turned down to the perfect sleeping temperature of sixty-nine degrees. This can only mean one thing. I check my blood. Coincidentally, it reads 312, the same as the time. Although my blood sugar is crazy high, the irony amuses me ever so slightly. Then my symptoms come alive. As I blink, my eyelids make a clicking noise, my heart is racing, and my brain is in a fog. My fingers feel stiff, which in my head I have associated with the high levels of sugar in my blood crystallizing together.
Diabetes isn’t funny. Certainly a lot of seriousness goes along with having it. A plethora of somber diabetes-related information is available out there, but you need to balance out all the doom and gloom. Research shows the health advantages of laughter, and a humor filter can protect the mind, promote learning, reduce stress, and allow for a processing of emotions in a healthy way. Insulin keeps us alive and kicking, but humor and a positive attitude can be the best medicine.
Either you or someone you know is stuck with this disease, so we might as well make the best of it. •