ST. FRANCIS, Wis. — It wasn’t the birthday wish Alex Salisott expected when turning three years old. That’s when she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
“I have had diabetes my entire life,” said Salisott. “Pretty much as long as I could remember.”
It was when she was in first grade that she said she realized she was different from her peers.
“Oh, not everyone’s mom is coming to test their blood sugar and no one else has to do shots,” said Salisott.
Over the past three decades, she’s learned to manage even when she was pregnant.
“I’m pretty well controlled,” said Salisott. “It took years of diligence to get there.”
Living with Type 1 diabetes is all Salisott knows. She said she wants to bring awareness to those who are unsure what it means to live with this autoimmune disease.
“My body attacking the part of my pancreas that produces insulin and how my body reacts to it,” said Salisott. “So, I have to inject insulin.”
Type 1 is different from Type 2, which can stem from lifestyle or family history. The American Diabetes Association reports more than 500,000 Wisconsinites have been diagnosed with diabetes.
“The hardest part is every single decision, there’s an underlying diabetes component to it,” said Salisott.
Not to mention, living with the disease isn’t cheap.
“Test strips are expensive,” said Salisott. “The continuous glucose monitors are expensive. Everything has a price. Insulin is no exception. Without insurance, it’s very expensive.”
Multiple factors play into dealing with Type 1. That’s why she created her business Pokey Pokey Peer Support to help families who have children with diabetes.
“I help bridge the gap to what your doctor is saying and how you can apply that to real life,” said Salisott.
Salisott’s business includes everything from helping with carb counts to drafting up plans for school.
“A lot of parents get told from their closest people it could be worse,” said Salisott. “You can figure it out. That’s not want you want to hear when your kiddo has this disease that will never go away.”
Salisott said one day, there might be a cure, but in the meantime she’ll continue offering her support to those who are living with the disease she’s had since she was a young girl.