This past week I handed in my IPP or my Independent Professional Project. This is a huge accomplishment as I have been working on my IPP for a year and a half. My IPP is a book called Diabetes Unscripted, The Caregiver Diaries.
Diabetes Unscripted is about real life caregivers who share their stories about being a caregiver for someone living with diabetes. I became interested in pursuing the idea of researching and sharing caregiver stories because my own family has been impacted by type II diabetes. My mom is the primary caregiver for my dad and has looked after him for many years. I was inspired by my mother’s compassion and ability to care for my dad but it hasn’t always been easy.
My parents’ situation provided me with the foundation to understand what it is like for someone caring for someone living with the disease. As a caregiver, you are giving to someone on a daily basis. I kept on thinking to myself, who cares for the caregiver though? I wanted to create a caregivers’ companion if you will, a book for the caregivers to turn to when they need support. I wanted to provide them with the opportunity to relate to people in their situation where they can receive a source of inspiration, motivation and or comfort from sharing similar stories without having to leave the comfort of their own home. Caregivers can see themselves in this book and know they are not alone.
When I started to recruit caregivers for the project, My goal was to gather caregivers who were very different from each other so I could represent as many different situations as possible. In total, I was able to recruit nine caregivers who were willing to share their stories with me. Seven of them are diabetes related stories while two are not. These two caregiving stories however, are just as powerful and relevant.
I asked participants to journal their emotions for a three month period and to be as open and honest about their feelings as possible. I wanted them to treat their journal entries as their actual diary. That is why the title is also called The Caregiver Diaries. For those caregivers that were unable to journal, I interviewed them and compiled their information together. During the editing process, I worked very hard at not losing the authentic voice of the caregivers and kept their tones and words as authentic as possible.
Due to the sensitive and personal nature of the subject, some participants asked to remain anonymous. In this situation, alias names were used while others were open to sharing this story and even provided their photographs. At the start of each chapter, a visual aid is used that the subject provided to represent them. As well, a piece of music reflecting the theme of each situation is inserted underneath the photograph.
I would like to take this opportunity to say a special thank you to Lori Berard, Head Nurse Manager at the Diabetes Research Group in Winnipeg located at the Health Science Centre. She is also Chair-Elect for the Canadian Diabetes Association. I cold called Lori back in October, 2011 and told her about my plans for Diabetes Unscripted. She felt the project was very important. I asked her to write the foreword in the book and she agreed. Thanks to Lori, I was also able to receive funding for printing costs that is much appreciated.
I will be holding a book launch for Diabetes Unscripted, The Caregiver Diaries on March 8, 2012 at 7:30pm at McNally Robinson in Grant Park Shopping Centre. I am thrilled with the feedback I have been receiving about this project and I am hopeful that Diabetes Unscripted, The Caregiver Diaries will help many people.