Missed opportunities in movies and books for raising awareness for diabetes really annoy me. The only thing worse in my opinion is perpetuating a diabetes misconception which happens to be the case in The New York Times bestselling author Mary Kay Andrew’s novel, ‘Spring Fever’.
The author describes the book as “… delicious new escapist novel about small towns, old flames, and deep secrets” on her website.
Sadly, I feel she drops the ball on educating people about diabetes in ‘Spring Fever’ like she did previously in her novel, ‘The Weekenders’.
Although diabetes doesn’t play a prominent role in ‘Spring Fever’, she still manages to play down the significance of diabetes. The line in question: “… And I lose my health care, Annajane. I have sugar diabetes….” Really? ‘Sugar Diabetes’!!!! It’s 2017 not 1957. Okay, some people may still use phrases like ‘a touch of sugar’ to describe diabetes but is it really necessary to use these types of references in books and fan the flames of ignorance? I don’t think so. After twelve years of working as a diabetes advocate I have come to realize that one of the biggest mistakes someone with diabetes and their loved ones can make is to think that this disease is not serious.
I know personally that diabetes really can destroy your life, wreck havoc on your relationships and steal your dignity. I experienced it first hand when my former boss, Luther Vandross suffered a stroke related to type 2 diabetes in 2003. At the time I had no idea that diabetes could be so devestating. The fact that Luther could not perform some of the most basic life functions after his stroke without assistance was heartbreaking. The fact that diabetes silenced his voice is unforgettable. But the fact that a growing number of Luther fans are experiencing diabetes health-related complications such as stroke, amputation, blindness and kidney failure is unforgivable.
Diabetes is a serious matter. When a Best-Selling Author with more than eleven New York Times, USA Today and Publisher’s Weekly bestsellers published in German, Italian, Polish, Slovenian, Hungarian, Dutch, Czech and Japanese chooses to perpetuate ignorance about diabetes and diabetes self-care in her books I get upset. It seems to me that she managed to do enough medical research during the writing process to learn that certain medications can affect the effectiveness of birth control, didn’t she? So why can’t she do the same for diabetes?
On the flip side I appreciate how “Spring Fever’ helps readers gain a deeper understanding one of the ‘taboo’ topics related to health. Specifically, erectile dysfunction and the toll it can take on your relationship(s).
It’s interesting to note that researchers analyzed 6.2 million health insurance claims for men who received an ED diagnosis, and discovered that only 25 percent filled a prescription for treatment during the 12-month study period. Whatever the reason for avoiding treatment, the consequence is undisputed: “Sexual health is an important aspect of the quality of a man’s life—and men live longer when they are sexually active,” says Dr. McVary. “This is a medical disease that warrants treatment.”
On July’s Diabetes Late Nite podcast I discussed this topic with Janis Rozsler MSFT, RD, LD/N, CDE, FAND who is a Marriage and Family Therapist as well as a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Janis Rozler is also the author of two wonderful books, ’Sex And Diabetes’ (ADA, 2007), and ‘The Secrets and Loving with Diabetes’ (Surrey Books, 2004). You can hear my interview by clicking on THE LINK.
I would gladly welcome the author, Mary Kay Andrews as a guest on an upcoming Diabetes Late Nite podcast to explain why she chooses to misinform her readers about diabetes. (Divabetic.org)