Interview with Cherie Burbach, author of 21 Simple Things You Can Do to Help Someone with Diabetes

Cherie BurbachIf you know someone with diabetes, you’ll love Cherie Burbach’s latest book, 21 Simple Things You Can Do to Help Someone with Diabetes.  This book will tell you what you can do to help someone afflicted with the incurable disease, diabetes – things like what you should (and shouldn’t) say, what you should learn to truly be supportive, and even how you can help in the fight for a cure.

Cherie Burbach is an author, blogger, poet, crocheter, and geek. She loves football and is obsessed with anything having to do with the Green Bay Packers or Tudor history.

Not only has she written 21 Simple Things You Can Do to Help Someone with Diabetes, Cherie used her experience with meeting her husband online to pen At the Coffee Shop, a humorous look at the world of Internet dating. Cherie went on over 60 coffee dates in just six months. She met lots of great people and one of those turned out to be the guy she would marry just one year later. Cherie’s new dating book, Internet Dating is Not Like Ordering a Pizza is available now.

She is the author of three poetry books, including A New Dish and The Difference Now. Her latest, Father’s Eyes, has received the 2008 Editor’s Choice Award by Allbooks Review.

Readers have resonated with Cherie’s honest and inspirational ”This I Believe” essay, which is the second-most popular out of over 40,000 entries on the NPR website.

We interviewed Cherie to find out more about her wonderful new book. If you’d like to find out more about how you can help someone with diabetes, you can follow her online during her virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book.  Starting off with a wonderful interview at Blogcritics and continuing all month long with a last stop with a review at Pump Up Your Book.

21 Simple ThingsThank you for this interview, Cherie.  Can we start off by having you tell us your experience with diabetes and why you felt you needed to write this book?

Cherie:  I’ve been a Type 1 diabetic for about 20 years now.  In that time, I’ve had some wonderfully supportive people in my life, and also those that just didn’t seem to understand anything about my disease.  I know the people in my life were not trying to be hurtful or uncaring, but some of the things they did or said certainly came across that way.  That’s why I wanted to write a short, simple guide to help inform anyone about what they should do to support their diabetic friends and loved ones.  So far the response has been great, and I’m happy to say that many diabetics have told me they really appreciated the book.

Do you have diabetic friends and how have you helped them?

Cherie:  I have a couple diabetic friends, and I always try and be encouraging without judging.  I ask them how they are feeling, I ask them about their blood sugar numbers, and in general just try to be supportive.

In your book, you say diabetes isn’t just about “not eating sugar.”  What other factors come into play?

Cherie:  Diet and exercise are both very important with diabetes, but it isn’t just about avoiding sugar.  Any carbohydrates raise blood sugar, as does stress and illness.  A diabetic who is getting sick will likely have higher blood sugar readings.  A good plan is to eat a healthy diet with reasonable portions.  Treats can be consumed occassionally if they are worked into the rest of the eating plan.  That’s a big misconception when someone has diabetes, that they are just munching on sugary snacks all day.  It’s one perception I hope to get rid of with this book.  There is so much more to it.

Your book can be labeled a starting guide to diabetic etiquette.  What should we say and not say to our diabetic friends?

Cherie:  Friends and relatives should definitely retire from the “diabetic food police.”  What I mean is, people that gawk at a diabetic’s plate and then critize what they have on it.  There are several reasons why this doesn’t work.  First, it is incredibly rude.  Second, the person probably doesn’t know what the diabetic’s A1c or other medical readings are.  They probably don’t know what their blood sugar is right now at the moment they are eating.  They don’t know how the diabetic’s readings have been running, if the diabetic is getting sick, or any other host of factors that come into play when it comes to good blood sugar control.

Instead, friends and relatives should try and learn about the disease…. really, really understand it.  I’ve heard a lot of misconceptions about what the disease really is and what diabetics can eat.  So the people in a diabetic’s life should get some current information, and also be supportive.  Offer to go on walks, raise money, go to support groups, or whatever will make the diabetic feel as if they have someone in their corner.

How can we help in the fight for a cure?

Cherie:  Donate money – anything is helpful.  Learn about the disease.  Sign up to be an advocate.  Pray for a cure.

Thank you so much for this interview, Cherie, and we wish you good luck in your fight against diabetes!  For more information, please visit Cherie’s website,, her personal blogs, or follow her on Twitter:

You can purchase 21 Simple Things You Can Do to Help Someone With Diabetes online at Amazon by clicking here.

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