Meet A Hero (Heroine?) of Mine

Riva GreenbergThis is Riva Greenberg.  I’m a big fan of her, and feel lucky that I can also say she is a friend.  I can’t remember exactly how I first found Riva and her blog (Diabetes Stories), but once I started reading I really connected with the wisdom that she so openly shares.

Riva was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1972.  Like so many of you (us?) diagnosed so long ago, she has seen a lot in her life with diabetes.  She has seen a lot of things change for the better, and has watched just as many things that need change, not evolve at all.

I have met a lot of people who have had diabetes for a long time.  They are all wise in their ways (as are most of us living with diabetes).  But Riva has something special about her, and it has taken me a long time to figure out what it is.  Riva is a learner.  Even with all she DOES know, she knows there is so much she DOESN’T know.  Because of that, she wants to hear about everyone and their experiences. But to take it a step farther, she has a gift for pulling all of these stories together, and giving it back to everybody with a layer of empowerment wrapped around it.

Another reason I identify with Riva so much is that she is really tuned in to the mental aspects of living with diabetes.  That is a very important part of living long with diabetes.  What good is it to dodge all the knives diabetes throws at us if we are complete insane because of it?  It takes a LOT of work, and Riva knows that, and her mission is to help as many people as she can to grow and be strong.

Riva has recently also started blogging at The Huffington Post, which is a very exciting deal for all of us.  Through Riva, we have another voice presenting accurate and realistic information about living with diabetes to large numbers of readers.  When it comes to accurate and realistic, I’m all for more readers.  You can click on the link above to see all of Riva’s articles there and subscribe to the RSS feed if interested.

Riva has also authored a couple of fun books on living with diabetes.

The ABC's of Loving Yourself With DiabetesHer first book, “The ABC’s Of Loving Yourself With Diabetes” is a fun and quick little read.  For each letter of the alphabet there is a little phrase, then a few paragraphs expanding on the idea.  For example, “K is for Knowing You Are Capable of Change“.

It’s maybe not something you sit down and read all the way through.  But instead, something you flip open when you need a little “pick me up”.  I love my copy, and pick it up often.

50 Diabetes MythsHer second book, “50 Diabetes Myths That Can Ruin Your Life: And the 50 Diabetes Truths That Can Save It“, is many things.  On one hand I wish I could whip it out, flip it to the myth (and the truth), and shove it the face of someone perpetuating some diabetes related untruth (a.k.a. myth).  On the other hand, there is SO MUCH great stuff in here for all of us living with diabetes!  This is a book that you can read right through, or pick at it myth by myth.

With each book, you get a great dose of Riva’s wisdom, which she presents in such a gracious and humble way.

The last thing I want to share with you about Riva is another story that demonstrates her character and passion for helping as many as she can reach.  In October 2009, Riva attended the 2009 International Diabetes Conference in Montreal.  She actually GAVE AWAY 1000 copies of each of her books…  and they were gone before lunch on the second day.  Guys and gals, digest this for a minute.  Riva is not some rich and famous author who has thousands and thousands of her books laying around.  She’s more like you and me.  Just an average Jane.  But instead of trying to sell her books there, she decided to give them away.  In fact, she said she wished she would have brought another 2,000 books to give away!

Riva – thank you for all that you do.  You are a gem!

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Scott K. Johnson

Patient voice, speaker, writer, advocate, and Senior Community Manager at Blue Circle Health. Living life with diabetes and telling my story. All opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent my employer’s position. Read more…

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