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The Diabetes Book: What Everyone Should Know [Paperback]

Chet Galaska
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

22 Mar 2014
The Diabetes Book was previously published as "Living on a Tightrope: Coping with Diabetes" ******************************************************************************************************************* Hall of Famer Ron Santo was a diabetic who starred for the Chicago Cubs in the 1960’s. These were the dark ages of diabetes care, and Santo struggled with his disease in secret. His amazing story illustrates the unique problems of living with diabetes and helps show the incredible progress that’s been made in treating it since then. One thing hasn’t changed: old wives tales and incorrect common “knowledge” are so rampant that millions of people believe things that simply aren’t true. This includes many diabetics and it’s even worse among the general public. This can result in genuine fear, a naïve disregard for its seriousness, or anything in between. The Diabetes Book is easily readable and uses compelling real-life stories to explain practical realities to diabetics, those who love them, and those who worry about it. It inspires everyone – diabetic or not – to pursue strong, healthy lives.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Triad Press; 1 edition (22 Mar 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0981676758
  • ISBN-13: 978-0981676753
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14 x 0.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,121,370 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Chet was diagnosed with diabetes in 1981 and has successfully lived with it ever since. Many things impact the blood sugar level that are out of your doctor's control, and diabetics must compensate for them on their own. This requires knowledge, effort and constant awareness. Chet shares practical information he has learned through his own experience, other diabetics and medical professionals. He clearly presents the facts for both non-diabetics and those who have the disease so we can understand it and each other better. Meaningful encouragement always helps, and this is one place to find it. The Diabetes Book shares the inspirational stories of people who have weathered diabetes and lived long, successful lives. It also discusses the world of possibilities for diabetics that was the stuff of dreams not long ago. More information can be found at

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential guide for understanding diabetes... 4 April 2014
By John P. Jones III TOP 500 REVIEWER
Fortunately I do not have diabetes, nor does anyone in my family or my close friends have the disease. Nonetheless, the disease does seem to be approaching epidemic proportions in the United States, and I felt I should know more about it. Recently I read Andrea Caesar's (A Twist of Lyme: Battling a Disease that "doesn't exist.") I gained some valuable understanding of another disease I am most fortunate not to have: Lyme Disease. Caesar is not a medical professional, but was able to provide both the personal medical and social perspective of someone who had had the disease for a long period, approximately 30 years. It turns out that Chet Galaska has been a diabetic for roughly the same period of time - 30 years - and so, likewise, he also has obtained the experience to write an "authoritative" book on the disease.

Before reading Galaska's book, I generally understood that diabetes was a disease involving the body's inability to properly regulate the sugar levels in the blood; that an individual with the disease had to monitor those sugar levels and had to inject insulin if they were outside normal ranges. I also knew of cases in which a person did not properly manage their diabetes, resulting in the necessity to amputate feet and /or legs. All that is true, but now Galaska has greatly broadened my knowledge of the particulars. There are actually two types of diabetes, labeled prosaically, one and two. Type one is the result of the pancreas not manufacturing insulin. Type two is an auto-immune disorder that stops the cells from absorbing the insulin that the pancreas manufacturers. 90-95% of diabetics are type two. The initials "BGL", for blood glucose level, more properly define the concept of "sugar levels.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A BOOK THAT WE SHOULD ALL READ 3 April 2014
[This book was previously entitled Living on a Tightrope: Coping With Diabetes and reviewed under that title].

It would probably be a good idea if everyone had at least a basic understanding of diabetes. Obviously, those who live with the condition depend for their very lives on understanding the symptoms and knowing how to act on them. Anyone in close contact with a diabetic also ought, as a plain human duty, to be able to recognise the major signs and have a reliable idea of how he or she can provide assistance. As for the rest of us – well, we could find ourselves in the second category at any time, and if we ever suspect we may be in danger of coming into the first bracket we should not waste time but act swiftly on some good practical advice.

You will find that kind of advice set out clearly in this short (<100 pages) book. Chet Galaska has lived with Type-1 diabetes for 30 years and he knows what he is talking about. He is not a doctor, but he is quite right in thinking that a certain theoretical grasp of how diabetes affects the human body is essential, much as it is essential to have at least some understanding of the way our car works in case we have to take appropriate action. It is fascinating in its own way. Chet Galaska likens the way that the liver and pancreas counterbalance each other to walking on a tightrope: for most of us there is a gyroscope on the tightrope so that we always stay upright; but for the diabetic the process needs micro-managing every day of life, else we are liable to fall off.

Some of the text is motivational, and I was deeply impressed by the willpower and even downright heroism that many diabetics show in dealing with their condition. Very sensibly, some common myths are mentioned and scotched.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  31 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Diabetes Book 31 Mar 2014
By Connie Noyes - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Having lived with a diabetic for over 27 years, I thought I was quite well informed on this subject. Even so, Chet Galaska's book has helped me to better understand the daily challenges faced by a diabetic - like balancing food intake, exercise, non-routine activity, misconceptions, and dangerous blood sugar levels. Trust me, life can get pretty crazy when these things get out of whack. Chet's book was easy to read, even when breaking down complex technical terms. I especially liked the chapter addressing family and friends of diabetics, who often don't know what they are dealing with or how to react in an emergency. Finally a book that examines this subject with both clarity and compassion.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars quick, informative read 2 April 2014
By Sneaky Burrito - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
I grew up with a diabetic grandfather. He was always heavy, exercised little, and sneaked snacks like ice cream when he thought my grandmother wasn't looking. And he didn't manage his condition well, at all. I can remember three separate car accidents caused by his blackouts. For the longest time, this was my picture of a diabetic. However, recently, my aunt was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Here was a woman who had ostensibly done everything "right" -- stayed slender, ate right, stayed active. At any rate, the point of this personal story has been to explain that I had a lot of confusion about diabetes -- who got it, how to control it, and so forth. I wanted to know more because now I know this condition runs on both sides of my family.

This book provided just the right level of information for me. Since I'm not a diabetic, I didn't need a 1000-page manual about controlling diabetes. However, if you have been diagnosed with diabetes and want a little more information (what do all those blood tests mean? what's the difference between type 1 and type 2? what are the options for treatment? what can/should diabetics eat? what is the life expectancy of a diabetic individual? what can one person do to affect his or her outcomes after diagnosis?), this book is a great starting point. The book is short and easy to read and provides a mixture of scientific information and personal stories/anecdotes.

One thing I appreciate is that the author has consulted with medical professionals as he wrote this book, and that he urges a dialogue with one's doctor. This is not a manual advising someone to go it alone! I thought the historical information regarding early treatments, the isolation of insulin, blood sugar testing, and even syringe sterilization and sharpening was interesting, as well. We've certainly come a long way.

Another thing I thought was excellent was the discussion (throughout the book) of various symptoms associated with both high and low blood glucose levels. These can vary from person to person, of course. But by reading this book and seeing what others experience, if you are a diabetic, you might begin to notice signs in your own body of blood sugar dips and spikes. Early recognition of the signs of a problem can and will lead to action such as taking insulin or consuming sugar, as appropriate. This will minimize the disruptions to your daily life caused by your condition. Although modern medicine has greatly improved blood sugar control, knowing your body and its responses will ultimately lead to fewer slip-ups.

At times, the language in this book was a little informal (for example, analogies like "throw a monkey wrench" into something pop up now and again). However, in a way, that added to the readability of the book. You sort of feel like you're just having a conversation with a regular guy. For some people, that is going to make this book a lot more approachable than a technical treatise would. (I also wish the editors had inserted a few more commas for clarity, although I never had trouble understanding the author's intent.)

In the end, there are a lot of things a diabetic person has to consider in order to manage his or her condition. This book answered many of my questions and I am now much better equipped to understand what my recently-diagnosed aunt is going through.

Review copy provided by the author.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Doctor Approves! 30 April 2014
By Drew Jusko - Published on
As an ophthalmologist who treats thousands of people with diabetes, I am impressed with how powerful this book can be. I frequently recommend my patients read Chet's excellent account of what you really need to know when you are living with diabetes. There are some people who are instantly interested in the topic, motivated to learn; those readers will consume "Tightrope" voraciously and happily give their copy to a friend. Even more important are those who don't quite understand their disease. A few minutes in the chair with their physicians are not enough; Chet does a beautiful job of simplifying the complex, and helping readers/family take control of their disease, thereby improving the chances of longer, healthier lives. Well done!!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening, enjoyable, and easy to read 4 April 2014
By B. Case - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
“The Diabetes Book: What Everyone Should Know,” by Chet Galaska, is a brief, useful, informative, and easy-to-understand overview of diabetes. The book covers both type-1 and type-2 diabetes. It does not pretend to be comprehensive; however, it adequately covers the topic for those that have the disease, their loved ones, caretakers, and those in the general public who want to know more about this devastating disease. The author is not a medical professional; however, he’s someone who has researched the topic thoroughly, can write clearly, and has the intimate knowledge that comes from living with type-1 diabetes for more than 30 years.

In addition to general information, the book contains many fascinating stories about real-life diabetics who have lived interesting and notable lives. Some you will know because they are famous and in the public eye. It is interesting and illuminating to learn how these people have managed to cope with their disease.

Early in the book, the author makes the point that “diabetes is a serious, life-threatening disease that’s reached epidemic proportions and the chances are everyone either has it or knows someone who does. Given its prevalence, everyone should have a basic knowledge of it.” I agree.

I am the wife of a man who was diagnosed with type-1 diabetes forty years ago. Living with diabetes is not only difficult for the one who has the disease, it is also difficult for the wife, husband, mother, father, or child of a diabetic. All are affected and all need to understand the disease…how to walk the tightrope together with their loved ones.

The author’s chapter on “Type-1 Kids” had a profound emotional impact on me. Parts brought tears to my eyes. I couldn’t agree more when the author ended the chapter with this statement: “There’s got to be a special place in heaven for responsible parents and caregivers of diabetic children.”

The author also brought tears to my eyes when he wrote a full chapter on “Unsung Heroes.” That chapter was dedicated to praising the loved ones who live intimately with diabetics and end up constantly balancing on that tightrope along with their spouses, children, family members, or lovers. I saw myself in almost every example in that chapter. It felt wonderful to be validated…to know that others walk the same tightrope daily. I agree: we are unsung heroes. But naturally, we do it out of deep love and commitment. It is something that ends up strengthening our love and turning it into one that is unusually deep-rooted and enduring.

This is the book I wish I’d been able to read forty years ago when my husband was first diagnosed. It would have been enormously helpful at that time in my life. This is the type of book that doctors should recommend to patients and their families soon after a diagnosis has been made.

The book is a quick and easy to read. I completed it in less than two hours. Taken as a whole, I found it enlightening and enjoyable.

I recommend it highly.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Why is she eating sugar? She shouldn't, she's DIABETIC' 12 April 2014
By Shannon Lastowski - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Amazingly, there are STILL people who believe diabetics can not have sugar or bread, or look in disdain as a diabetic frantically eats. People judge them. I did. Now I know better. I wish I had known better long ago. My mother developed type 2 diabetes at a time when managing this high maintenance disease was crude and, I will even go so far as to say, barbaric.

I received a copy of Mr. Galaska's first version of this book to review. Although my mother is no longer with us, with a family history, I am at risk for developing it, and I have friends that have both type 1 and 2. I read it thinking I'd understand diabetes a bit more...I did not expect it to be so touching, so profound.
It impressed me so much that I bought another, now here I am again. I purchased the paperback, as well a Kindle version that I had sent to a friend via email(I didn't know you could do that, so easy!).

Thank God for this book, and I do not say that lightly. As is said, with diabetes being so prevalent, you know a diabetic, or are one. Please consider this book. It covers the physical and emotional aspects of the disease. It doesn't sugar coat (pun intended!), it is filled with useful information. You might think you know all about diabetes, you might be newly diagnosed and scared out of your mind. The author explains in everyday language what is going on, not only with the disease, but the PERSON.

Thank you, Mr. Galaska, for taking on this cause and writing a much needed book that can be so helpful to so many.
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