People to Know 2015: Lisa Schrenk
As a distance cyclist with a seven-year history of type 2 diabetes, I am accustomed to managing my glucose levels in remote places for up to 14 hours, though I’ve never faced the challenge of preparing for several months of travel away from the comfort and convenience of home. But Lisa Schrenk has.
This year, to celebrate living with latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA, a form of adult-onset diabetes that resembles type 1) for 10 years, Lisa set off on a trip around the world. An associate professor of architectural history at the University of Arizona, she joined over 600 students and 40 other academic instructors as a teacher with Semester at Sea’s spring voyage. It was a dream job for someone who loves travel as much as she does. She’s visited nearly every region of the world, so when the ship set sail, she was already accustomed to the challenges that come with managing diabetes while away from home.
That doesn’t mean it was always smooth sailing: One unforeseen issue she faced was finding the right foods to eat while aboard the ship. It wasn’t always easy to calculate carb content during meals, and she was not able to exercise as often as she preferred.
The journey, which Lisa completed in late spring, consisted of 112 days, 15 port cities, 12 countries, and 26,000 miles of travel. It’s an adventure she’d take again—without hesitation.
Lisa is an encouragement to everyone affected by diabetes. She embraced her decade with diabetes and integrated the condition into her daily life: She is a premier-level competitor and instructor for Scottish Highland dance, does Irish step dancing, and finds time to Rollerblade and ride a stationary bike as well. Most of all, she doesn’t use diabetes as an excuse—unless it’s an excuse to celebrate with a semester at sea.
Wil Gibson was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2008. He’s now a member of Team Novo Nordisk’s Type 2 Team. Wil is also a cardiovascular sonographer and an adjunct clinical instructor of sonography at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center’s College of Allied Health. Wil Gibson photo courtesy of Team Novo Nordisk.