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Diabetic & Me

Dan Thrailkill

Dan Thrailkill

Hello! Who are you? And tell us a little bit more about your diabetes.

Hey everyone! My name is Dan Thrailkill. I’m 38 years old and currently living in United States. I have type 1 diabetes for a total of 32 years.

I was born and raised in South Carolina. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on January 13th 1988, attended college in North Carolina, was a golf professional for 10 years, got married to my now husband in July 2013 and I am in the process of adopting 2 kids through our local County Agency. We live on just over 4 acres in Woodstock, Georgia, participate in our local community in several ways and attend church at Ebenezer UMC.

I was taught at an early age to NOT hide my diabetes thanks to my parents, my teachers, and all of the friends I met at an early age at Camp Adam Fisher (South Carolina).

Back in the day, we were fortunate to have a good health insurance; therefore, most of our hardships were emotional. Due to exponential increases in the cost of health insurance and healthcare in general, I would say financial strain is harder now which causes emotional stress.

Dan Thrailkill

Dan with his husband, Joe.

“Back in the day, we were fortunate to have a good health insurance.”

Your treatment

How do you treat your diabetes, did a lot change over the past years and are you able to manage it well?

I manage 99.9% of my treatment and take advice from lots of diabetic type 1 (T1) friends, my medical team, and have lots of support from my spouse.

I started pump therapy in 1994 and was a 100% pumper until around 2014. I now treat my T1 with mostly multiple daily injections (MDI), but also go on and off of my Omnipod pump as needed. I have used and currently have a Dexcom G6 and an Eversense. I am currently only wearing the Eversense. I use Tresiba, Novolog/Humalog, and occasionally Levemir insulin to help with slow absorbing carbs. Before I used and NPH until 1994 (MDI), Humalog & Novolog (pump), and now Tresiba and mostly Novolog, but I also occasionally use Humalog. I have also tried Lantus, Levemir, Apidara, Toujeo, and Fiasp.

I quit smoking in 2005 and dedicated myself to learn more about diet and exercise. Other than taking insulin, learning how to cook, study nutrition, and exercising 5 to 7 days per week has had the greatest positive affect on my diabetes other than taking insulin. When we welcomed 2 foster kids into our home last year, the stress of parenting 2 traumatized kids has added additional stress on my diabetes. But I am learning to adjust my lifestyle to not lose my good control and still have the kids as a top priority.

I know that I am in the top tier of diabetic care for my age and length of time with diabetes, but always know that I can do more and/or there may be other (possibly) newer things to trial and error.

Dan Thrailkill

Dan with 2 other male counselors after the color run at Camp Adam Fisher.

Can you recognize the symptoms of a low/high blood sugar? Do you test often and can you tell a bit more about your experiences with low blood sugar?

Yes, I can recognize them. Shakiness, sweating, rapid heart rate, and occasionally confusion.

When I am not on my Eversense, I test myself 10+ times per day. When I am on my Eversense, around 3 to 4 times per day.

I treat my low blood sugars with a snack, normally a Glu gel or similar, raisins, or gummies.

I have previously fainted due to low blood sugar, but not since College (1999-2003).

Food and diet

How does your diabetes affect your eating and do you find being on a diet restrictive?

Breakfast – Oatmeal with fixings around 6:15am; Lunch is normally leftovers, a sandwich, or other healthy creation. Around Noon; I cook dinner every night and we normally eat around 5:30pm – I have lots of things that I like to cook but it normally includes lots of veggies, rice and quinoa. I have also been a vegan for around 2 years. As a snack I love Peanut Butter, so anything with that but also eat a lot of Larabars, Complete Cookies, apples, bananas and other fruit and veggies. There’s also a lot of good vegan snack options.

I try to stick to my scheduled, but I do eat things just like any other normal T1D and bolus accordingly.

I drink a lot of water. I stopped counting a while back but I know I get enough.

I don’t find being on a diet restrictive because I cook for myself and do not restrict anything that I know is healthy for my body.

I don’t get annoyed by people asking about my diet. I see this as an opportunity to educate someone that does not know what the hell they are talking about!

Do you believe that a plant based diet can improve diabetes? Did you ever experiment with this?

YES. I am currently plant based and have seen good results.

Do you have a hard time eating out in a restaurant? And what are you thoughts on making this easier?

Sometimes, but not because of my diabetes. Mostly because many restaurants do not have Vegan friendly options.

“I cook for myself and do not restrict anything that I know is healthy for my body.”

Dan Thrailkill

Dan at the Pitons.

Exercise and work

Does your diabetes restrict you from exercise or your daily job?

Yes, I workout in the gym 4 to 6 days per week and occasionally run 5 or 10 kilometers. I also run and play outside with my boys several days per week.

I am a consultant and adviser. We own our own business. Providing our own health insurance and dealing with the high cost of healthcare is encouraging me to go back to work for a larger company that can provide better benefits that we can obtain.

Dan Thrailkill

Dan after completing the Peachtree Road Race.

Final

Do you have any positive or negative effects because of your diabetes?

I attend camps for kids with diabetes as often as possible, it’s good for the diabetic soul and I can still learn more.

The best part is having a better understanding of your body. The good and the bad. Also, many of my closest and best friends are diabetic. The hardest part is the financial burden.

What is the best advice that you can give to non-diabetics, new diagnosed diabetics and diabetics?

Do not be afraid to ask if you do not know, every diabetic should be willing to share more to better inform the undereducated and/or ill informed population.

There are no shortcuts. Give yourself time to absorb everything and then get around as many other diabetics as you can and as often as you can, learn from them.

#1: You are responsible for your disease and your top priority must always be your health. #2: Everything is normal with diabetes and trial and error is the only way to learn what works for you.

What would you ask the other diabetics?

At what age did you learn to be personally responsible for your diabetes?

Feel free to answer in the comments below.

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Hey! I'm Ely Fornoville, the founder of Diabetic & Me.

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