Laughter therapy research has been ongoing since the late 70s, with researchers studying an effective therapy to use during treatments of various illnesses. But what they didn’t know until relatively recently was precisely how this worked. Now, they understand how it could impact things like your heart rate and blood flow and that it may have health benefits for diabetics.

Researchers have found that patients who laugh often respond better to their treatments and have fewer side effects. Laughter can reduce cortisol levels, increase endorphins, and help lower postprandial glucose levels. I can remember, as a teen T1D, I’d come back from having a fabulous and laughing time at a friend’s birthday party, eating cake, having fun. My urine sugars would run low for hours.

So, laughter could be an excellent addition to your diabetes management plan. It functions similarly to exercise, improving the overall performance of your heart’s muscular function, helping to prevent heart disease, and lowering blood sugar levels. Laughter also stimulates positive emotions, which are known factors that decrease glucose levels.

It May Help You Live Longer!  The link between laughter and disease reduction means you have a better chance of leading a healthier, happier, and longer life. So don’t forget to get a good laugh in to help this along!  Read more: Why Laughter is the Best Medicine

Haidee Soule Merritt! 


Haidee was diagnosed at the age of 3 in 1974. “I’m rapidly approaching my 50th anniversary with diabetes.

“I was misdiagnosed with all sorts of things including epilepsy: the grand mal seizures I had were actually a result of extreme low blood sugars. The doctors were throwing spaghetti against the wall (I love a good carb reference) because Type 1 was nowhere near as widespread as it has become.

For novelists the catchphrase is to write what you know. That’s the easiest and most accurate way to describe why the diabetes theme started. It’s something I feel so confident in knowing—well, experiencing—that I’m bold and even a little fearless. I’m free, also an appropriate word, to express myself in a way I can’t on almost any other subject.”

Haidee started creating diabetes cartoons after the eye surgeries she endured in her 20s. Black and white was something I could see easier than color—black ink and white paper was perfect.

For years, I’ve loved Haidee’s cartoons, depicting the trials and tribulations of living with T1D, with their “edge” and cutting humor, speaking to all we have to deal with, daily.  Depending on my mood, some cartoons shout out to me.  But they all are just so real and accurate.  It’s almost like she’s rattled around in my head and listened to my feelings and experiences, after living with T1D for 59 years (as of today, as I’m writing this).

  • With Kerri Sparling (“diabetes doesn’t define me, but it helps explain me” –, “What I love most about your work is the mix of levity and dark humor. Your cartoons make me chuckle because they tap into the gallows humor part of my brain, and being able to laugh at the things that scare me helps me work through the fear.”
  • As Deborah Krueger, blogger with says: “Haidee calls them cartoons and I call them art but whatever you call them please laugh, cry, empathize and most of all, enjoy these often very prophetic snippets of Haidee’s lifelong dance with diabetes.” 
  • Blogger/advocate Riva Greenberg wrote, in the Huffington Post (8/23/2011) a marvelous post:  “A Cartoonist Laughs at Diabetes, and Her Book Will Make You Laugh Too.”

When Riva asks: “You say the cartoons in your book are the expression of personal struggles and experiences, and that drawing them helps you confront and accept things. Tell me more about that.”

Haidee answers: “It’s about expressing and owning my diabetic voice. I want people who are reading about the book not to assume this author/illustrator simply pities her life and wants to spread gloom and doom. Admittedly, there’s bitterness below the surface — and okay, above the surface ever-so-slightly — but that’s fair.

It’s important to own the experiences we each have — calling those experiences horrific, depressing, tragic, beautiful, gratifying, or redeeming. It isn’t healthy in my opinion to minimize trauma or personal emotions. What each of us is going through is our own reality. It’s empowering to embrace the crap flicked your way. It makes you stronger to claim it [and] conquer it.”

    • Here’s a great podcast, by Christopher on, 4/15/2025, in which Haidee discusses the creative process behind her cartoons, lessons learned from her first book, and how one can manage a love of pen and paper in an increasingly digital age.    Just Talking Podcast with Haidee Soule Merritt

Haidee’s Artistry

Haidee’s works have appeared throughout diabetes blogs, for sale on Etsy as Birdwing Press, and her books are available on Amazon,  her website, and her Instagram.  PLUS she also sells her cartoons as 11”x17” prints for (as she says, and I agree) the ridiculously low prices ($5.95-$16.95)!

Her cartoons have even appeared in The Lancet, which since its first issue in 1823, has strived to make science widely available so that medicine can serve and transform society, and positively impact the lives of people. Its core belief is that medicine must serve society, that knowledge must transform society, and that the best science must lead to better lives.  How wonderful that they published a post in 2016 by Miriam E. Tucker: “A life lived with type 1 diabetes and a cast of talking lancets”

In 2011, Haidee shared her favorite cartoons…


“Simple Pleasures” is my favorite. The expression on the guy’s face makes me smile. I feel as though I successfully captured the feeling with that one.”

Her second favorite cartoon? “Whoopie Pies” is a favorite because it’s clean in message and ink. I think it’s effective in how it’s happy and fun — the very name of the thing, the very shape of it — while at the same time, we’re denied the happiness and fun.

And NOW, she says, “The Pancreas Crane is just about my favorite of all time (I think)!”  

I have too many favorites!  Please share one of your favorite Haidee cartoons and receive a free Insulin Surplus Ezine, (until supplies last). Details below!

Let’s talk about Haidee’s books!  She has published 3 compelling volumes of cartoons … I have all three and keep them nearby to make me laugh, cheer me up on diabetes challenge days, and just because I love them!  I also have her latest: Insulin Surplus Zine: A tiny little black and white booklet that gives creative uses for insulin, if ever a cure was found. The title:  Possible Uses For The Insulin Surplus (IF there’s ever a cure for diabetes)!  I love this little powerful booklet!!!  More on this a bit later.

Volume 1:  One Lump or Two? – Things that suck about being diabetic.  This was my first Haidee purchase … and I was instantly hooked.  Published in 2009, it is now in its 5th printing!

Volume 2:  FingerPricks – small, quick and only slightly painful, published in 2016.

Volume 3: The Sweet Taste of Misery – Illustrations for the Discerning Diabetic, published in 2023.

And finally, the Insulin Surplus Zine: Possible Uses For The Insulin Surplus (IF there’s ever a cure for diabetes), also published in 2023.  Has this question ever occurred to you?  Well, Haidee shares her ideas about what to do with a surplus of insulin! 


Now for the BIG NEWS!!!  I have 20 (yup, TWENTY) copies ($8.50 value, postage included), free for the asking, until I run out of ezines.  What’s the catch?  Please tell me why you’d would love a copy … or one of your favorite cartoons you’ve seen and why.  I’ll share your comments and choices with Haidee … and I will mail a booklet to you, with postage paid, as long as supplies last! Please comment below or to me at

Let’s keep inspiring her to bring us raw truth, humor and real feelings in her next works!

  No kids and divorced. How’s that for a conversation-ender? And precious Larkin!

Pix:  Haidee (top row), Larkin (row 2), Studio on Button Factory Studios, My Magical Studio, and (row 3) current artwork including on the left, Voodoo Fiesta with Golden Eggs, part of Haidee’s Voodoo Fiesta series.






















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