In A Future With Hope, Carl S. Armato shares what he has learned over the past 50 years of living with and managing type 1 diabetes.
(Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Novant Health. Additionally, Novant Health provided me with a copy of the book A Future With Hope for review consideration. Please read my disclosure statement. All opinions are my own.)
Live the life you love. Don’t let diabetes impact your life to the extent that you’re coming from fear and can’t have a good life. – p. 103
When I wrote my book Kids First, Diabetes Second my motivation was to share our family’s story of type 1 diabetes as a source of support for other families dealing with the same medical diagnosis. It is empowering to read someone’s story and think “me, too.” It’s terrific when you find someone who truly “gets it.” That’s why I enjoy reading books written by parents of and people with type 1 diabetes.
In honor of National Diabetes Awareness Month (every November) and World Diabetes Day (on November 14th annually), I would like to share a book I recently read written by Carl S. Armato.
Carl is not only the CEO of Novant Health, but he is also a person with diabetes (PWD). He was diagnosed at the age of two and has been living with type 1 diabetes for over 50 years!
Of course, diabetes management has drastically changed and improved in the five decades since his diagnosis and the way we manage our children’s diabetes today is much different than how he and his family chose to manage his then. But he shares how his family decided to take his diabetes head on by learning as much as they could, finding ways to keep his blood sugar in check (he often used exercise to help manage his blood sugar), and not letting diabetes stand in his way of being a kid and achieving his goals.
In A Future With Hope Carl shares his thoughts that: (from the book)
- Diabetes does not mean different;
- The first step toward a future of hope is to accept the diagnosis, ignoring it spells disaster;
- Support is crucial; no one should walk this path alone;
- People with diabetes have heard plenty about danger; they need to hear of success and possibility.
One of the main takeaways I had from the book is that finding support and creating routines are what help Carl successfully manage his diabetes.
Mom and Dad set the stage early for me. When I was young, their emphasis was on two simple things: making sure I understood what my sugar baseline was and how it was reacting to my exercise, and knowing what to do when I had highs and lows while exercising. As simple as that sounds, it’s not easy. The challenge for people with diabetes is learning to make tweaks along the way as they gain experience with managing the disease. – p. 71
As I have heard from other PWD, Carl thinks of diabetes as a sort of gift that gave him determination, drive, and a problem-solving mentality. Diabetes made him want to prove himself by being a top student and athlete and by becoming a CPA and rising to the top of a healthcare organization.
Dad had the wisdom to always point out why I was special — why the disease made me special and what it was going to help me do in life. He reminded me that having diabetes helped me understand how others with illnesses really felt and that I could use this to help others. He turned diabetes into a real positive for me. He laid the groundwork by letting me know he would be with me and together we would not let diabetes get in my way. – pp. 42-3
Carl talks about people in our lives from relatives to medical professionals that just don’t get it right. Whether it’s asking “Can you eat that?” or giving you suggestions on how they think, because everyone knows everything about everything, you should manage your own diabetes. People with diabetes are hard enough on themselves without feeling criticism from others.
It’s difficult for people with diabetes to talk about blood sugar levels with anyone but our doctors, or maybe our spouses, because it exposes how imperfect we are. No diabetic always does everything right, and we will have high or low blood sugar readings periodically even if we take all the right steps. – p.91
It’s true! We can’t possibly be expected to do the intricate work of an organ and get it right all of the time!
While Carl has been very successful in his diabetes management and in his career, he doesn’t paint a picture that it’s all sunshine and roses.
Sometimes parents or others who provide support may believe that the life of a person with type 1 diabetes will someday go back to normal, but it will not. Without the proper help and management of the disease, all of the bad things people have ever read about the disease or thought would happen to a diabetic will become true. This is a tough message, but it’s true. – p. 94
One criticism that some readers may have is his choice of language, which he explains in the book. He doesn’t choose to use the lengthier “person with diabetes” moniker but prefers to call himself “a diabetic” or “diabetic.”
Personally, though, I think it’s just easier to say I am a diabetic. I wear many labels proudly: husband, father, son, friend, leader, sports fan. Diabetic is just one more. To me, the word carries no stigma — it’s part of my “normal,” so I’ll continue to use it. Even so, each of us is entitled to a personal opinion, so if you or your loved one prefers not to use the term diabetic but instead opts to use the description “a person with diabetes,” that should be honored in your personal interactions. – p. 85
I tend to use “person with diabetes” or the abbreviation PWD while writing but may use the adjective “diabetic” while speaking because it more succinctly describes my child’s medical condition. I feel that saying I have a “diabetic child” in no way defines her, but rather describes that one aspect of her.
While this is not a book filled with medical advice, it is the story of one person living with diabetes who has chosen to take it head on and thrive. The demands of diabetes management are also the skills that helped him get ahead in life during school, sports, and his career.
Purchase A Future With Hope written by Carl S. Armato from Amazon. If you read and enjoy the book, please consider writing a review!
More posts about Diabetes Awareness Month
More book reviews