“Actually, I Can” Book Review


Morgan Panzirer is an impressive young woman.

Not just because she managed to write an engaging and enlightened book about what it is like to live with type 1 diabetes—but because she managed to win me over with the title alone.

Actually, I Can.: Growing Up with Type 1 Diabetes, A Story of Unexpected Empowerment” is the name of Morgan’s new autobiography, which immediately places us, the readers, firmly on her side. Especially if, like me, you also live with type 1 diabetes (T1D) and know just how many times we utter that exact phrase in a week. “Actually, I can!” Whether it be convincing others of the fact that we can eat carbs if we take the appropriate amount of insulin, that we can be active and play sports as long as we manage our blood sugars or that we can go after each and every one of our goals—Morgan hits the nail on the head, and successfully debunks many common misconceptions about T1D.

It is quite the accomplishment to be able to reach both people who have type 1 diabetes, and those who simply want to be more educated about T1D.

On the one hand, as a person living with T1D, Morgan made me feel as if I was hanging out and chatting with one of my “diabesties.” She touches on experiences, wins, frustrations and pet peeves that someone with T1D can easily relate to.

On the other hand, Morgan is full of simple, easy-to-grasp information for folks that might just be learning about type 1 diabetes or for the newly diagnosed. She even throws in some clever (and witty) tips for non-T1Ds, such as: “If you see people walking around on the street with what looks like spy gear attached to them, please don’t stare.”

Morgan very bravely dives deep into the intricacies of her daily T1D management without hesitation. She certainly does not sugarcoat what it’s like to have type 1 diabetes—but somehow manages to maintain a sunny and uplifting tone. She outlines some important landmark experiences that many young people diagnosed with T1D may one day experience as well, such as participating in charity walks, heading off to camp and participating in JDRF’s Children’s Congress.

While the book does primarily focus on Morgan’s life, she also takes care to acknowledge the experiences and hardships of others throughout her diagnosis and beyond—such as her supportive family, including her sister Caroline, who was also diagnosed with T1D.

Although Morgan’s story is highly relatable, she also includes some outrageously cool, unique opportunities throughout her life with T1D, such as meeting the likes of Joe Biden, Katie Couric, Martha Stewart and Pope Francis!

Along with being a member of the Villanova University Equestrian Team, Morgan’s inspiring resume includes being a current biology major who plans to attend medical school for pediatric endocrinology.

Actually, I Can” was a delight to read, and the book has a universal appeal in the world of type 1 diabetes. We can all find a little bit of ourselves through Morgan’s words.

Through this author’s voice—we can feel heard.

This content was created in partnership with JDRF through the JDRF – Beyond Type 1 Alliance

WRITTEN BY Alexi Melvin, POSTED 06/23/20, UPDATED 11/23/22

Alexi Melvin serves as chair of the Leadership Council’s Content Committee. She is a journalist who has written for The San Francisco Chronicle, Beyond Type 1 and other digital publications. Alexi is also a voiceover actor and reiki master. In addition to her dedication to being a voice for people living with type 1 diabetes (T1D) everywhere, she has always been passionate about meditation and energy healing. Before getting her Bachelor of Arts degree at The New School University, she studied acting at the Lee Strasberg Institute. She hopes to continue her healing work, and to connect with other T1Ds through her travels and writing opportunities.