Alexis Pollak: Diabetes Evangelist

Alexis Pollak: Diabetes Evangelist: Pollak lives with Type 1 diabetes. She was diagnosed when she was 10. She has embraced the fact that she must test daily, count carbs, regulate insulin and try to fit life in there somewhere.

Perhaps it’s fortunate that Alexis has a natural gift for public speaking because she has been busy promoting Tour de Cure. This event specifically benefits the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and government programs designed to help find a cure for diabetes.

Her blog IrunOnInsulin is filled with her missives on life with diabetes. Consider some of these thoughts…

“Weight and diabetes – they go together like pumps and infusion sets. In fact, whenever you see a story in the news about diabetes, it’s almost a guarantee that weight will be mentioned too. Part of that rests on the fact that the vast majority of people with diabetes have Type 2, which is closely correlated with being overweight. To put it in perspective, about 24 million people have diabetes in the United States, and about 21 million of those are Type 2 cases. Since our country has a weight problem, it makes perfect sense that Type 2 diabetes has followed suit. One well-known endocrinologist even coined the term “diabesity” to describe this troubling trend.”

“Though people with Type 1 diabetes are often underweight at diagnosis because their bodies cannot process their food, as many as 60% of Type 1s end up overweight as they manage their disease. Taking artificial insulin, chasing low blood sugars with excess calories, and the fact that Type 1s are also missing the hormone amylin (which sends satiety signals to the brain) are all reasons that many Type 1 diabetics struggle with their weight.”

“It’s so funny with diabetes. As soon as you have a connection to it, its like you discover this whole world of people whose lives have been affected by diabetes somehow. You know, the fact that you are aware that it runs in your family is a huge step towards prevention. In fact, just knowing that gives you more information than most people who are at risk!”

“Having a chronic disease that demands 24/7 attention also demands having its own language, and many people with diabetes start to forget what “diabetes words” mean in their “real life” context – I’ll never forget the time my friend Christina said she was going home to cook a big pasta meal for her husband and mentioned she didn’t think she had enough basil – which I took to mean that she didn’t have enough basal insulin and I sat there wondering how the heck she was able to eat pasta on basal insulin alone – don’t most ‘betics have to bolus for that? I realized after a few minutes that she was referring to the ingredient, but can you blame a girl for thinking with her diabetes brain?”

While Alexis Pollak works to promote a diabetes event in San Diego she inspires others to live life better as a Type 1 or Type 2 diabetic or figure out how they can become involved in finding a cure for the disease.

It’s refreshing to read some stories from one who has chosen to embrace her chronic disease and bring hope to others in the process.

I’ll conclude with something Alexis said in one of her blog entries, “I find diabetes connections every day that I never suspected I would have. The fact is, this disease is so pervasive these days, it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t have a diabetes story to share.” So she spends her days listening and sharing in hopes that some of her attention to the disease might either bring a cure – or understanding.