Today I’m stepping out of the world of fiction in order to introduce author Dr Val Wilson, who has just released a self-help book for diabetes sufferers. I’ve known Val for a while now in cyber-space and I really admire her hard work and determination and her constant good humour. She always puts a smile on my face!
Thanks for dropping in today, Val. Good to have you here!
How I came to write this book
Hi! I’m Val Wilson. I’ve found myself writing more and more about diabetes over the years until, in 2012, I decided to write full-time. Very briefly, diabetes is a long-term condition where the body can’t use glucose (sugar) or starch (potatoes, pasta, bread) for energy because the hormone, insulin, is either not being made by the body, or it doesn’t work properly. This is the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. With Type 1 (the form I have), the body no longer makes insulin, so it has to be injected multiple times a day in order for the person to stay alive. With Type 2 diabetes, usually because the person is overweight and does little or no exercise, insulin can’t work properly because of the excess of body fat. With elderly people, it’s a case of less insulin being made. People with Type 2 can manage the condition with diet and exercise to reduce their blood sugar levels, or by taking glucose-lowering tablets.
Diabetes carries with it a multitude of other health complications if blood sugar levels are not kept within normal limits with medication, lifestyle change and good self-management of the condition. Because blood goes everywhere in the body, if it has a high sugar content this can lead to blindness, stroke, heart disease, kidney failure, nerve damage and even damage to automatic functions such as breathing and heartbeat. This damage can take many years to develop. Sometimes Type 2 diabetes isn’t diagnosed for up to 12 years as the symptoms (feeling thirsty and needing the loo more often) are not picked up. During this time when high sugar levels aren’t treated, heart disease develops. As you can see, it’s absolutely vital that diabetes is managed well when someone has this condition so that these problems can be avoided or minimised. I’m passionate about stopping the development of complications with good diabetes control! This is because I’ve had Type 1 diabetes for 40 years and mine is particularly difficult to manage.
Although I’ve spent the last eighteen years of my life doing everything I can to spread the word about diabetes (offering my free time to a diabetes voluntary organisation; writing journal and magazine articles; and writing three other books on the subject), it never occurred to me to write a diabetes self-help book! It all began when submitted a fiction novel to a well-known publisher (who I won’t name) in August 2015 and they eventually replied to say they liked the way I write. As you can imagine, I did the happy dance, imagining that my fiction would finally be published. I then received an e-mail from the Editor stating that, as I have many years’ experience of self-managing diabetes and a couple of qualifications in this area, they wanted me to write a diabetes self-help book instead.
My heart plummeted – I had made the decision in 2015 to only write fiction after writing about diabetes for so long. I really DIDN’T want to write this book and basically had to force myself – I was halfway through writing my third murder mystery novel at the time. I initially made myself get something down on the computer screen and eventually became determined to get it done. I realised, with thanks to the publisher who suggested it, that such a book was necessary as a self-help diabetes book written by someone who actually has the condition didn’t exist (available books being by GPs). It took me six months of drive and tenacity to complete the first draft and, delighted, I emailed a chapter to the Editor who had commissioned the book. After three months of waiting patiently (and editing furiously), the Editor finally replied. They wanted the book but they were so busy, it wouldn’t be published until late 2018: he suggested I email him again in March 2017 to see how they were fixed. And so I made the decision to self-publish with Amazon CreateSpace as I wanted to inform, advise and support other people with the diabetes AS SOON AS POSSIBLE! I’m delighted with my decision and the final result.
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About Dr Val Wilson
I have been a published author for 16 years, writing full-time for four. My PhD in Diabetes Health Education and MSc in Diabetes Health Education and Health Promotion required me to publish articles in this area in health and nursing journals. I found I enjoyed writing them and I’m now widely published with 35 articles to my name. In 2013, my first book, Diabetes: From the Ebers Papyrus to Stem Cell Technology, was published by Teneo Press. This was followed by Insulin: Uses and Abuses in 2014 and my third book with Teneo Press, Diabetes: The Psychology of Control, is currently in press. I have been part of a several Department of Health committees and working parties regarding effective diabetes self-management and I’m also a reviewer for the BMJ; Health Education Journal; Diabetes Nursing; Diabetes and Primary Care, Nursing Standard, Quality in Primary Care, and the journal of Patient Education and Counselling.
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Thanks so much, Val, for telling us how your book came about. I’m sure there will be many people with diabetes – and many families – who will be so grateful that you stuck to your guns and published it. Congratulations on release!
If you’ve been struck by Val’s post, or have any questions or comments at all, please let us know, and Val will be here to answer them.