When Amy Stockwell Mercer was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1985 at the age of 14, there were no online forums to turn to. No support blogs, chat rooms, or WebMD. There weren’t even any books on the topic at her school library. Mercer was overwhelmed by her new illness and underwhelmed by the amount of information available on it, and it was then that she decided to one day write a book on diabetes.
Twenty-six years later, Mercer, a City Paper contributor, has made her adolescent dream a reality with the publication of The Smart Woman’s Guide to Diabetes, released by Demos Health earlier this month. Mercer interviewed more than 100 people for the book, which includes personal anecdotes, stories from other diabetic women, and advice from health professionals on living with the chronic disease, which occurs when the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin to control blood sugar levels. Chapters deal with pregnancy, fertility issues, and the dangers of birth defects; the challenges of traveling, including working around time zones and air travel; and managing aging and adolescence.