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!

My RxSugar Review: All About the Allulose

Disclaimer: This post IS NOT sponsored by Stacey Simms or RxSugar. I am merely spreading the word about new products that I got to try because I won an Instagram giveaway. The following represents my honest review about the RxSugar products that I received ONLY and I am not being compensated in any way to write this blog post. Now that I have that off my chest, read on for my review!

Who doesn’t love free stuff???

Whether it’s SWAG (Stuff We All Get) or prizes in a raffle drawing, I’m a fan of free things. I’m the type of person who will enter contests once in awhile just to see if I’m lucky enough to win, and more often than not, I don’t win anything. (Insert sad emoji here.)

So imagine my surprise when I entered an Instagram giveaway and was actually announced as one of the winners!!! (Insert shocked emoji here!)

This particular giveaway was held in honor of one million downloads of Stacey Simms’ podcast, Diabetes Connections. She partnered with a handful of diabetes companies that graciously donated prizes as part of the giveaway. I had no idea which diabetes company’s products I’d receive, but I was just stoked to have won anything!

A few weeks after my winner announcement, I received a box in the mail from a company called RxSugar. I hadn’t heard of them before, so I did a quick search online. Turns out their shtick is production of “The World’s best tasting, healthiest plant-based sugar and syrups”, which boast zero calories, net carbs, and glycemic. Intrigued? So was I.

The secret ingredient to this sugar that makes it much more diabetes-friendly compared to the regular kind is that it’s made with allulose. In short, allulose is a natural, plant-based alternative to sugar with a chemical structure similar to fructose, the type of sugar that is found in fruit. If you’re curious to learn more about allulose, this article does a good job of explaining it and its benefits.

My little puppy Violet approves of RxSugar, too.

I digress – I bet you’re wanting to know what I actually got from RxSugar! They sent me their organic liquid sugar, pancake syrup, sample stick sugar packets (kind of like Splenda packets), and a canister of sugar that I could use for baking. I was really excited to try everything because 1) I have a wicked sweet tooth and 2) I love baking in my spare time.

In the last few weeks, I’ve tried everything except the canister of sugar (but it’s the same as what’s in the packets, I just haven’t baked anything with it). Here are my thoughts on the RxSugar products:

  • The syrup: HOLY WOW this stuff is incredible. This was by far my favorite thing that I received from RxSugar. My entire life, I’ve used low calorie or sugar-free syrup when enjoying waffles or pancakes. I know that a lot of people turn their noses up at sugar-free syrup and claim that it tastes like syrup-flavored water, but I never had a problem with it…’til I tried RxSugar’s syrup. It’s SWEET and tastes so much like maple that it’s hard to believe it’s not real maple syrup. I’ve had it on top of Kodiak cinnamon oat waffles and oooooooh, it was so good. I’m going to make this bottle last as long as possible, that’s how much I loved it.
  • The liquid sugar: I wasn’t sure how I was going to use the liquid sugar. I drink my coffee black and don’t really add anything to sweeten up my food. But then it hit me: I could add it to plain Greek yogurt, which is sometimes a little too tart for my liking (yet I still eat it because of the high protein content). I tried that first and liked it, though I may have a preference for adding honey to my Greek yogurt because it imparts an additional flavor, not just sweetness. I also added the liquid sugar to a smoothie I made containing Greek yougurt, frozen fruit, and almond milk, and it really did amp up the sweetness in just the right way.
  • The sample stick sugar packets: So I’ve tried these in a few different beverages and truthfully, I can’t really taste the sweetness. At all. I made my version of lemonade using one of these sugar packets and the lemon was for sure the dominating flavor. Maybe I should try adding two or three packets next time? Or maybe I can try adding it to coffee for old times’ sake (I used to take coffee with 2 creamers and 3 Splenda packets, yuck) for a hint of sweetness without the extra calories. I bet it’d taste good in flavored coffee. That’s an experiment for a day in the near future…*Update*: I received some clarification from the RxSugar team regarding the sample sticks! They are not-for-resale sample sticks that are only intended to be used as a quick tasting sample. In other words, they’re not an accurate serving size when used in beverages and the like. So that totally explains why I couldn’t taste the sweetness using a single stick!

Overall, I’m really glad I got the chance to try a variety of products from this company (that syrupppppp). Thanks for sending me everything, RxSugar, and shout-out to Stacey Simms for hosting the giveaway AND for a million podcast downloads!

Favorite Things Friday: “The World’s Worst Diabetes Mom” by Stacey Simms

In this edition of Favorite Things Friday, I share a great new book that I just read: The World’s Worst Diabetes Mom by Stacey Simms!

Disclosure: I bought this book on my own and this review is unpaid. I am writing this to share an excellent book that was written by someone I consider a personal friend and wonderful diabetes advocate. This is my honest review of the book.

Hey, Cactus friends! Welcome to another Favorite Things Friday post. I’m really happy to write this one up, for a few reasons: 1) Stacey Simms is a terrific human being and I’m glad we met IRL for the first time a few years ago, 2) I enjoyed reading her personal experience with diabetes, and 3) I think this book is pretty important and I’d like to share the reasons why with you all.

Oh, and it’s also got an awesomely intriguing title that will definitely make you want to know why Stacey is publicly declaring that she’s the world’s worst diabetes mom…a bold statement, indeed!

Me and my new book!

So I don’t know about you, but I had no idea until a few years ago that there are actually a LOT of diabetes books out there. Some are memoirs, others are guides. And there’s even some that address specialty subjects, like pregnancy and diabetes.

Stacey’s book is a fusion of a memoir and a guide. It’s all about her son Benny’s diabetes diagnosis and the lessons that she and her family have learned over the years. Each chapter focuses on a different topic – examples include going to diabetes camp, playing sports with diabetes, and vacationing with diabetes – and ends with a list of questions that readers can ask themselves to help them navigate these specific scenarios.

What I liked so much about this book is that I learned a lot from it: It’s not just for those who are new to diabetes. (I’ve had diabetes for more than 20 years and I am constantly learning new things!) My eyes were really opened to the perspective of a parent whose child was just diagnosed with diabetes. Not only did it help me understand the emotions my parents were probably experiencing throughout my childhood, but it also proved to me that loved ones who don’t even have diabetes go through a lot, too. They might not have to physically endure the pokes and prods or deal with the exact same feelings that those of us with T1D do, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t feel immense guilt or worry for us because they just want to do everything in their power to help ensure that we live normal, fulfilled lives. That’s an awful lot of pressure to put on oneself.

Stacey’s honesty and transparency with her family’s diabetes experience gave the book a powerful emotional punch. She owns up to all the times that diabetes has made her cry tears of sadness or yell from frustration. And refreshingly, she doesn’t shy away from sharing the past mistakes and less-than-ideal scenarios that her, Benny, and her family had to work through. I was appreciative of that because, like Stacey, I feel that there is too much of a focus on “perfectionism” when it comes to diabetes, especially these days. It’s an impossible standard that many of us set for ourselves when we should put more attention on the little victories we achieve along the way on our individual diabetes journeys.

In the final chapter of the book, Stacey shares more of her thoughts on the pressure to be perfect. The following is my favorite passage from the book:

After reading this book, you know I don’t believe in the pursuit of diabetes perfection. Even so, I’m still surprised at how many people expect it, who strive for it and feel guilt or shame because they feel they don’t measure up. We were lucky our endo told us right away that T1D management is just as much art as science. Over the years, I’ve come up with my own philosophy about Benny’s diabetes care: Don’t worry about perfect; go for safe and happy. Do I love my child? Am I doing my best? Is he happy? Is our endo happy? Yes. Then let’s keep working in that right direction.

I’ve shared that thought with parents who’ve then burst into tears. That’s not a joke. The realization that a happy, healthy child is enough can be a revelation.

By now, I’m sure you’re ready to pick up a copy of the book and find out from Stacey herself why she gave herself the “worst diabetes mom” moniker (because yes, I deliberately did NOT explain it in this post because I think it’s best explained by the author). You can pre-order a copy of the book here, and to hear more from Stacey, be sure to check out and subscribe to her podcast “Diabetes Connections”, available on the Apple podcast app, Android, and any other podcast app of your choice.