Joy Pape’s New Book: Living with Diabetes Day-to-Day

Long before Joy Pape, RN, BSN, CDE, WOCN, CFCN, served a stint as the clinical editor and contributing columnist for Diabetes Health Professional, she was a seasoned diabetes expert who knew her way around almost every aspect of the disease.

Joy comes from a strong family history of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. She has polycystic ovarian syndrome PCOS, which caused her to have blood glucose issues and put her at increased risk for type 2 diabetes. Pape plunged early in life into the study of diabetes. She became a nationally recognized certified diabetes educator and nurse with a specialty in diabetic foot care. Her rounds as a nurse/educator took her everywhere, from patients’ homes and doctors’ offices to hospital intensive care units and research labs.

Along that busy path, she had to contend with the constant physical and psychic demands that diabetes and erratic blood glucose levels places on the people who have it. How to keep an even keel while having a disease that epitomizes being knocked off balance?

What she learned in response to those questions, she didn’t forget. And educator that she is, she decided to write down the insights she gained from her sometimes very harsh experiences. 

You can read about what she found along the way in The Real-Life Guide to Diabetes: Practical Answers to Your Diabetes Problems, a book she has co-written with Hope Warshaw, MMSc, RD, CDE, BC-ADM, a nationally recognized dietitian and certified diabetes educator.

The book addresses the hard-to-maintain balance that people with diabetes face in their daily lives. They want to take proper care of themselves, but it’s often impossible to do all the “shoulds” that are attached to proper self-care. “It is a day-to-day balancing act between making the behavior changes necessary to stay healthy and accomplishing the long to-do lists of daily life,” write Pape and Warshaw. “There will be days when managing diabetes will be more center stage, and days when your other commitments will not allow you to be as on-track with your self-care plan.”  

But it is possible, they say, to live better with diabetes by setting realistic and practical self-care goals while managing the other aspects of your life-work, family, time constraints, financial concerns, other medical conditions, and more.  

The Real-Life Guide to Diabetes does not offer the one-size-fits-all rules that you often find in other diabetes books. For one thing, Pape and Warshaw know that no matter how fine-tuned your self-care plan is, life doesn’t always proceed as planned. So they’ve dedicated an entire section of the book to addressing what to do when life gets off schedule, helping readers to prepare for such issues as:

  • How to manage food, physical activity, and medication while on vacation 
  • Ways to recognize and treat the symptoms of high and low blood glucose levels before they interfere with everyday activities 
  • How to improve quality of sleep to improve blood glucose, blood pressure, and more 
  • How to identify aspects of a management plan that may be affecting one’s sex life, as well as various treatment options for diabetes-related sexual problems
  • How to enjoy alcohol safely and healthfully, and the possible benefits of moderate alcohol consumption 
  • How to find the best health coverage if uninsured or underinsured, as well as tips on how to find deals on diabetes supplies.

Extensively Illustrated

Filled with four-color illustrations, charts, drawings, and photographs, each chapter of The Real-Life Guide to Diabetes covers both general background information about diabetes and basic self-care. It also includes an informative set of sidebars, such as:


  • Myths and Facts, which dispel common misconceptions about diabetes. For example, “What really causes diabetes complications: insulin or chronic high blood glucose?”
  • Tips and Tactics, which offer practical pointers to make diabetes self-care doable, such as ways to make checking blood glucose less painful.
  • Psst!, which shares the inside scoop to make self-care easier, such as how to lose weight and keep pounds off for good.
  • Red Flag, which outlines warning signs for dangerous lifestyle behaviors and symptoms; for instance, why controlling blood pressure is so important for preventing diabetes complications.
  • By the Numbers, which gives statistics to put content into perspective; for example, a breakdown of the ADA-recommended ranges of blood glucose levels before and after meals.
  • Checklists, which simplify tracking the regular tests and exams necessary for preventing and detecting diabetes complications. 

Chapters also include key resources that allow readers to find more information on related health issues and to connect with others who have diabetes. With updates on the latest research, answers to frequently asked questions, and definitions of diabetes-related terms, The Real-Life Guide to Diabetes will help readers discover how to fit managing diabetes into their lives. 

The Real-Life Guide to Diabetes is available at, at bookstores nationwide, or by calling 1-800-ADA-6733 (1-800-232-6733).

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