Chicago, Illinois - Brandy Barnes, founder and CEO of DiabetesSisters, and Natalie Strand, Medical Director at Freedom Pain Hospital and winner of CBS’s The Amazing Race, have come together with the American Diabetes Association to create A Woman's Guide to Diabetes: A Path to Wellness, the first book in many years to cover the unique issues and questions that women with all types of diabetes face. 

After years of living with diabetes, Brandy and Nat bring a frank, practical, and personal perspective to a number of challenging issues, including mental and physical wellness, the role of hormones at different stages and events in a woman's life, sexuality, relationships, exercise and athleticism, travel, and careers. The authors, who were both diagnosed with diabetes during their teenage years, explore these topics through their own personal journeys and experiences, empower readers with their uplifting stories and remind other women with diabetes that they are not alone. 

The book also emphasizes that not all diabetes-related issues are strictly medical. In her chapter on creating better relationships, Brandy highlights the importance of open and honest communication in all relationships. She stresses the importance of working together with loved ones to navigate challenging times and difficult discussions to come out stronger than ever before. Her list of tips for friends and family members is an essential roadmap to understanding and supporting a loved one with diabetes.

Nat’s chapter on traveling with diabetes is packed with tips she’s learned along the way. Before she embarked on her 32,000-mile journey to win The Amazing Race, Nat’s diabetes educatora health care professional who teaches people who have diabetes how to manage their diabetes. Some diabetes educators are certified diabetes educators (CDEs). Diabetes educators are found in hospitals, physician offices, managed care organizations, home health care and other settings.X suggested she type up a letter of medical necessity in every language she could think of to explain why she was carrying syringes and vials. Her experience proves that speed bumps are inevitable, but good preparation means nothing is impossible.

Throughout the book the authors emphasize OWNing your diabetes. O = Open Up: Women who are living happy lives with diabetes talk openly and proudly about their diabetes. W = Win: Women who OWN their diabetes find a way to create a positive expectation or result in everyday life situations, especially those challenging situations related to their diabetes. N = Never a Victim (Always a Victor): She takes control of situations and refuses to allow herself to be hurt by others.

Several unique journaling sections are included to help the reader turn inward and reflect on her journey with diabetes:

  • Notes on My Journey—Allows the reader to record new, valuable information that she uncovers in the chapter that relates specifically to her journey.
  • Soul Searching—Encourages the reader to examine and reflect on what she's learned through questions, activities, worksheets, and other methods. She’ll be prompted to reflect more deeply on feelings and struggles related to each topic.
  • Life Application—Helps the reader put what she has learned from each chapter into action. What steps will she take to address her personal health and well-being?
  • My Diabetes Journal—Encourages active journal keeping, giving the reader valuable insight into her behavior and emotions and the opportunity to see herself as she really is.

For Brandy and Nat, staying well—physically, mentally, and emotionally—is the key to a happy and healthy journey. “The most important message we can give you is that YOU are the person responsible for taking care of YOU. It is not your husband’s, your child’s, or your mother’s responsibility. If you do not take care of you, who will?”