The DX will regularly feature The DX Diabetes Dish, a profile about life and life with diabetes. This month, we present The Smart Woman’s Guide to Diabetes author Amy Stockwell Mercer, who was diagnosed with T1 at age 14. Among other insights, Amy dishes about being led astray by good intentions, her philosophy on blood sugar, and her need for kale and peanut butter (but thankfully not together).
What three words would you use to describe who you are?
Writer, mother, runner.
How does diabetes change–or not change–who you are?
I sometimes wonder what I’d be like if I didn’t have diabetes. I am not a planner by nature and like to let each day unfold organically. This, of course, is not the best way to live as a woman with diabetes. Maybe I wouldn’t be a runner, maybe I wouldn’t eat as healthfully as I do, but maybe I would be more spontaneous, too. I don’t think diabetes has changed who I am, but it has definitely changed my behavior and the scheduled way I live my life.
If you could take away one aspect of diabetes, what would it be?
This is a tough question! I think I would have to say I would take away wearing a medical device. I would love to have my body free from equipment. I would love to run my hands up and down my arms and not touch this piece of plastic. I would love to be free!
What inspires you to do what you do?
The community of women I’ve met inspires me to write about life with diabetes. I interviewed close to a hundred women for my book, The Smart Woman’s Guide to Diabetes, and was completely surprised by my emotional reaction to the process. Sharing stories and listening to women speak honestly and bravely about the challenges of life with diabetes was transformative. For the first time in my life, I realized that I was not alone, and that changed my life. Instead of feeling isolated about life with diabetes, I felt supported, and that helped me shift from resentment to healing. That’s why I continue to write about inspiring women with diabetes, so other women can feel less alone in their journey.
What do you appreciate most in your friends?
When I was writing my book, I always told the women I interviewed to answer the questions as if we were in a coffee shop chatting about diabetes, which is something I do every Friday morning with my friends. After a long week as a working mom, I leave coffee hour every Friday, feeling heard, supported, and energized. I walk out thinking I can do this for another week! I wanted my book to have the qualities that I appreciate most in my friends – they are inspiring, supportive, and good listeners.
What would you pack for your favorite vacation?
What’s in your refrigerator right now?
How much time do you have? Our fridge is always stocked. I get anxious if we are low on food, but here are a few staples: kale (my latest obsession), eggs, milk (with 3 growing boys, we can’t get enough!), red wine, dark chocolate, broccoli, cheese, bread, hummus, deli meat, Gatorade (again, the boys) and yogurt… yum!
What is your favorite way to relieve stress?
Running! I would be a very grouchy person if I couldn’t run.
What is your idea of happiness?
A day without stress. Enough money to pay the bills. Everyone healthy. Time to myself (a must!). A morning run and a good book to read. Simple.
What do you dislike most?
Loud people. I am a big introvert.
What words do you try to live by?
Do what you love, and good things will follow.
What is your greatest fear?
Something happening to my children. Can’t even write another word about that.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Books, of course!
On what occasion do you lie?
Hmmm… I make plans with people with good intentions, but inside, I know I won’t follow through, so I guess that’s a lie. It’s a people-pleasing problem I have.
If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?
My husband and I often say that everything in our lives is great, except for our finances. If I could wave a magic wand and change/improve our finances (see medical expenses), that is what I would do!
Who are your heroes in real life?
My mom, she is pretty unbelievable. My second biggest fear is losing my mom. I’m getting teary right now writing those words. No one can ever love me like my mom does. I know that because I am a mom and mine happens to be really amazing.
What is your state of mind today?
I’m in a great place because it’s Friday and I’ve turned in almost all of my assignments for the week and my toddler is home with the babysitter. It’s warm and sunny out (warmth and sun are very important for my happiness!) and I’m sitting on the deck of my favorite coffee shop (after coffee hour with the girls), and I’m writing. Bliss!
What would you choose for your last meal?
Well, since it’s my last meal, that means I don’t have to worry about calories OR carbs so… I’d go for my grandmother’s garlic mashed potatoes, my mom’s chocolate and raspberry cake, a piece of filet mignon, and my own roasted Brussels sprouts… yum!
All opinions contained in this article reflect those of the interviewee and not of Sanofi US, its employees, agencies or affiliates.
© 2012 The DX: The Diabetes Experience