Book Review: “Still the World’s Worst Diabetes Mom” by Stacey Simms

Three years ago, I had the pleasure of reading Stacey Simms’ first book, “The World’s Worst Diabetes Mom”. You can read my review of it here, and read on for my thoughts on her second book, entitled “Still the World’s Worst Diabetes Mom”.

Comfort comes in many forms. Sometimes it means curling up with a blanket, hot beverage, and a good book. That’s just what I did when I read Stacey Simms’ newest book, “Still the World’s Worst Diabetes Mom”. And in reading it, I discovered another form of comfort through her words and experiences as a mom of a person living with type 1 diabetes.

Obviously, I’m not the mother of a child with diabetes, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t find plenty of common ground with Stacey as she shared nuggets of wisdom learned over the years of raising a son with T1D. As she shares strategies and lessons learned in her writing, Stacey’s book feels like the reassuring hand of a friend placed comfortingly – not condescendingly – on your shoulder. She talks to readers, not at them, about everything from diabetes organizational tips to the nuances of raising a teenager learning how to drive with diabetes. In doing so, Stacey gives us honest examples of things that have gone right as well as wrong in her family’s journey with diabetes.

As I read the book, I couldn’t help but appreciate just how many similarities as there were differences in how Stacey and her son, Benny, manage and talk about diabetes. Benny’s about a decade younger than me, so naturally, growing up with diabetes looked a lot different for him than it did for me (talk about technology advances). But even so, Benny and I both started using Dexcom right around the same time – back in 2014 – and Stacey’s anecdotes about pain points of the old G4 system were very familiar to me.

Stacey’s new book, “Still the World’s Worst Diabetes Mom”, is filled with stories that highlight her diabetes philosophy: “not perfect, but safe and happy”.

Another perspective that I know all too well and share with Benny? The fact that I, too, have a sibling who is 3 years older than me (a brother, whereas Benny has a sister) and who does not have diabetes. The chapter of the book that talked about this dynamic resonated particularly strongly with me as Stacey shared a conversation that she had with her daughter Lea about what it was like to grow up with a T1D sibling. Lea shared some insights about how it could be difficult, at times, to be the big sibling who had a little sibling that required extra care and attention from her parents. This section of the book made me wonder how much my older brother might be able to identify with what Lea said about being aware and understanding of Benny’s needs, but also a touch resentful from time to time. It’s a talk that I’d like to have with him one day so I can better understand his experience, and I credit Stacey and Lea for being brave enough to share their discussion so candidly and inspiring me to think about what growing up with diabetes was like for my own sibling.

Equally powerful for me was the chapter on sharing photos of diabetes on social media. This section of the book encouraged people to think twice before posting a photo of a child with diabetes in distress or in the hospital. Stacey was able to navigate the tricky topic in a non-judgmental, though-provoking way that I think will help people be a little more careful and deliberate about what they choose to post about diabetes online.

And my two cents on the matter? I’m about to sound like a dinosaur here, but I’m a child of the 90s, meaning that social media wasn’t a thing – so my parents were definitely not posting about me, much less my diabetes, on the Internet. In fact, whenever I browse through their photo albums (they have a solid dozen plus documenting me and my brother’s youths), I’m hard-pressed to find a single image that indicates that I even have diabetes. There’s one that comes to mind where my blood sugar meter is in the foreground, but the focus was always on me and my experiences as a little kid, period, and not as a little kid with diabetes. And I love that, because for me, it helps me remember a childhood that was very much so not tainted in any way, shape, or form by my diabetes diagnosis – let alone a traumatic, diabetes-related incident that I would’ve preferred my parents kept private rather than posting about it online. After all, my diabetes story is mine to tell, and clearly I’m comfortable doing so now as an adult!

Overall, this book is authentic, empowering, and inspiring – a worthwhile read for people living with diabetes and their caregivers. It’s a reminder that support from loved ones is key in helping people with diabetes learn how to fly, making it that much more special when it’s time to watch them soar – like Benny.

You can pre-order the book here, or purchase it here beginning November 1st. And be sure to check out Stacey’s podcast “Diabetes Connections”, which is available on the Apple, Spotify, and anywhere else you listen to your podcasts.

Disclosure: Stacey personally invited me to review her book. She’s one of the many terrific people I’ve met through my own personal diabetes connections (pun intended). I was not financially compensated to provide this review. It is an unbiased and honest review of a wonderful book written by a wonderful person and I’m happy to help spread the word about its upcoming release!

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