Morgan J. Panzirer is 19 years old and is a student at Villanova University, majoring in biology and minoring in Spanish. She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age six and is now working towards her goals of attending medical school and becoming a pediatric endocrinologist.
She recently published a book called “Actually, I Can.: Growing Up with Type 1 Diabetes, A Story of Unexpected Empowerment”. As with all our book reviews, I received a copy of the text at no charge, and I did not receive any additional compensation for my review.
There are many short chapters, as the author walks us through her life with diabetes, highlighting the highs and the lows of her experience in relatable and vivid ways. She shares her positive revelations, as well as frustrations. I think this text is a good read for young people with type 1 diabetes, and especially those who are newly diagnosed. Morgan’s story is really a wonderful example of making lemonade out of lemons, and will sure be inspirational to many.
The title of the book, “Actually, I can” refers to the common assumption that people with diabetes cannot eat sugar. The author explains,
“I can eat anything I want and it doesn’t have to be sugar-free as long as I give myself the proper amount of insulin. There is no special diet I have to follow. I can eat literally anything I want to. Sorry, that sounds super aggressive but I can’t tell you how many times people assume everything I eat has to be sugar-free. It is incredibly frustrating.”
Morgan writes with great candor and a sense of humor, and I can’t imagine her stories wouldn’t be relatable to almost any young person with type 1 diabetes. The author’s upbeat attitude about living with the chronic and challenging health condition comes across throughout the entirety of the text. While she is very honest about the gravity of the disease and the difficulties of living with something so relentless day in and day out, she is also incredibly optimistic.
“The, “Oh my life sucks because I have this disease” attitude is not the one to live by. It is so much more empowering to think about it this way: “Yes this disease sucks, it is such a pain in the ass, and has had such an impact on my everyday life, but look at the kind of person it’s made me.” Make it into a positive. Not everything in your life has to be negative all of the time. This was something I had to learn because I was, like most, only seeing the negative. Just remember: there’s always a positive. No matter how deep it’s buried, I promise you it’s there. There is a reason that you’re in the situation you are right now. Whether it’s to better yourself or educate others, there is reasoning behind it. You may not understand why your life is hell now, but you will later. You have to trust me on that.”
In short, Panzirer’s book is honest and relatable about growing up with type 1 diabetes. It strikes the right balance of acknowledging the gravity and hardships of the condition with a great optimism and empowerment.
What has been your experience with type 1 diabetes? Please share your thoughts below, we love hearing from our readers.