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A Book You Should Read: Islands and Insulin.

Islands and Insulin.  This is the first book I've read, in full, in a long time. I need to read more. 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.

You can order your copy of Islands and Insulin on Amazon, and you can follow Erin's adventures on Twitter at @erinspineto.


Wasn't her packaging so awesome! Like a beach vacation in a box! :-)

I too enjoyed the book, and I too read it in a single sitting.

It was a great mix of love, adventure, and diabetes.

Kerri - would you consider the book fairly child friendly? I would love to read it before ordering for my 12 yo daughter, but I'm pretty sure our library doesn't have a copy (though if it's good I'll request it).

If it seems like a relatively safe read, I'll be ordering it for her ASAP. I type this with trepidation after a "censoring books for your children" thread on a board I frequent. :)

Thank you for the recommendation. I've added it to my Amazon Wish List. You're right, it does give us relief to know that we're not alone. Thank you both, for sharing.

Hey! Welcome to Nashville! :)
I'm from the Boston area, but am living here while I'm in nursing school. You definitely won't be dealing with any NEMO/blizzardness here lol!
Hope you enjoy your trip!!

There are a few curse words. I think I used "S#)t" a time or two, hell once or twice. No sex. Good morals. I am going to let my daughter read it when she is around 12 or so. No violence or situationally difficult things, besides the general diabetes is hard theme. Hope this helps.
Erin Spineto

Just ordered it on Amazon. Should arrive by Friday and will probably be read by Saturday night. Looking forward to it. =)

Thank you, Erin. It does help, very much. I am going to order and look forward to reading it. I'm sure my daughter will love reading about your experiences. Thanks!

Sound fantastic - totally going over to order it now!!

I wish I'd had my copy during my holidays - it arrived while I was away for 3 weeks. It is awesome - and like Kerri says - her words hit many of us who have diabetes. I like the way she writes about old timers like myself - that only based our control on peeing on a stick & using needles that req'd sharpening (that's me - old fart D). Luckily, I have yet to become the statistic that she mentions from those years - still meowing away - and not allowing diabetes to tell me what to do - it's the other way around for many of us - who take the bull by the horn - and live our lives to the fullest!!!! I can't wait to go sailing with her - if only I still had my Catalina 25 - tho' don't think she'll frown about the 30 I now sail :)

Anna from Montreal, Canada

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